Mimi Manderly rec'd this book to me, and I've got to thank her -- what a fabulous start to 2011.
A turbulent love story, a tale of the reality of living under the big top, a fascinating cast of characters who leap off the page, and the most wonderful, enormous heroine ever to come marching along. I was pulled along along to the end -- and what an ending, both in twists and surprises and what may be the beginning to another story altogether. Be warned: you'll probably need a tissue at times, especially in the final third.
If I have any reservations about this book, it's only at the very start. It seemed as if the author just needed an excuse to get our narrator on that Benzini circus train. But aside from that really minor niggle, the entire ride was charming, thrilling, well-paced and tightly written. I don't think any of the characters, particularly the divine Rosie, will ever leave me.
Over at the Vintage Photographs community on LJ, this post arrived just as I was finishing the book. Incredible coincidence.
We saw True Grit last night. Helluva start to our movie-watching for 2011. Last year, my favorite movie was How To Train Your Dragon; I think True Grit will be hard to beat this year. Stellar casting, and it does seem as if the Coen brothers can do no wrong. They surely know how to make a movie. When the credits began to roll, we said we'd see it again right then. It was that good. Right now, B is watching the original, which I have seen approximately one million times.
My grandfather is a great lover of westerns. I watched a lot of them on t.v. with him when I was growing up, and some of the first novels I read were his battered copies of Louis L'amour westerns. The first movie I went to see was Star Wars with my parents and then Clash of the Titans, both times in the back of an old station wagon at the drive-in, with a huge paper grocery bag of popcorn made at home. The first movie I saw at a theater was Pale Rider with my grandpa, and he bought me a bucket of popcorn for myself. For many, Clint Eastwood is a bad ass cop; for me, he is always a bad ass cowboy.
A thousand westerns are playing in my head at this moment; I'm overcome with nostalgia. I wish I was at home, so I could take my grandpa to see True Grit. I'm sure he'd love it.
I realize I haven't been around a lot--I've been working on this novel, which I alternately love and hate. I realized I'd made a big mistake after 10,000 words, and I'm in the process of editing it. It's nearly done, and then I can move on to the parts I really want to write. I will offer this advice to anyone else writing a novel: if you start writing something, realize quickly (in the first two thousand words!) that you've made a mistake, stop. In this case, I knew suddenly that I was writing a cliche storyline of the genre. Instead of chucking it, I stubbornly stuck to it until I had 10,000 words. Then I knew, after a sleepless night, that I had to fix it. New novel, same narrator, different events. I feel a lot better now, even though I also think my stubborness cost me a few weeks. Well, what can you do?
The research for it has been surprisingly fun. At the end of this, I may be able to speak confidently on a specific era in American history. That would be a first for me, LOL. I hate research.
Enough babbling for me. Back to a time when men wore bowler hats and coats with velvet collars, and a trolley car was an amazing sight. How to fit in a cowboy, though...