Austenland

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At first, I couldn’t get into Austenland. Jane was too obsessed with Mr. Darcy which was a harsh reminder of my “enduring love” of Mr. Rochester. I, however, would never attend dating service at Bronteland.

Anyway.

I’m glad I stuck with it.  The story ended up being pretty engaging and the characters were real and funny. It was an interesting mix of Austen staples and modernity. If you ever wondered what it would be like to time travel back to Pemberley, I recommend this book.

I also watched the movie and enjoyed it more than the book… mostly because of JJ Feild, Bret McKenzie, and the ridiculously hilarious Jennifer Coolidge.

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“Neverland”

If you haven’t discovered “Endeavour” (check your PBS station; season 1 is on Netflix), please do so. The episodes are excellent and very well written; I usually watch them multiple times.

Tonight’s episode was heart-wrenching. With a title like “Neverland” I should’ve known that it would be about orphans, child-abuse, and the far-reaching consequences of corruption and deviance.  Once it became clear what was happening and who was at fault, I felt so sad and so furious.

Yes, I know it’s fiction. Yes, you should know that it’s also a reality for 40 million children each year. How dare we allow this tragedy to continue–it is absolutely unforgivable.

The Ghost and the Darkness

“The Ghost and the Darkness” is a 1996 movie loosely based on the two man-eating lions that repeatedly attacked and killed railway workers in Tsavo, Kenya in 1898.  It is an interesting period piece starring Val Kilmer, whose character is based on the military engineer, J. H. Patterson.  It also stars Michael Douglas, whose character is a famous big game hunter, though not based on an historical figure.

This is an interesting movie to show or recommend to high school students, as it deals with generalizations of both the time period and today concerning Africa, British imperialism, race relations within and outside of Africa, how humans and animals interact and coexist (or don’t, as the case may be), and a little bit about how Americans are viewed out of their natural habitat.

A  viewer can thoroughly enjoy is at as an adventure story, a thriller, and even a romance.  But a viewer can also see this movie as a commentary on the harsh realities of life.  I have not read J. H. Patterson’s book The Man-Eaters of Tsavo, but I have read Jim Corbett’s Man-Eaters of Kumaon and highly recommend it in conjunction with this movie.