Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Sweet By and By

I'll give you some advance warning: Neither of these recommendations are particularly uplifting, nor cheerful.  They are, however, both meaningful, poignant stories that truly touched me.  And I came across both purely by accident - or luck.

When I was at the beach with my family, I was browsing through the Quarter Moon Bookstore in Topsail, NC (adorable if you ever get the chance to visit!) and came across The Sweet By and By by Todd Johnson.  I clearly didn't read the back as well as I should have - I read something about five friends and set in NC and was sold.  If I had bothered to read the entire synopsis on the back cover, I would have realized that these friends were not your average chick lit subjects since the story took place in a Nursing Home in NC. 

The characters are witty, funny, and real.  It is not a typical book I would read but I ended up loving it.  One of the best things I took from the book was something one of the characters talked about: One of the worst things to think about/talk about is aging and death yet it is something we all go through.  For all those NC girls, it is also a fun read to hear about parts of our State! 

And, as if old people in a nursing home wasn't cheery enough, I got The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on Netflix last night.  It was one of those that Netflix more or less "picked" for me based on my ratings of similar genres.  I usually prefer reading about WWII as opposed to films because somehow it is almost too gruesome to watch but this movie was fascinating.  (And I found out when researching for this post that it was based on a book so I can only imagine that is a great read!) 

It was set in Germany during the Holocaust but told the story from the perspective of the son of a Nazi Officer.  Bruno is 8 years old and his father moves his family out to the country so that he can oversee a gruesome concentration camp.  Bruno is torn from his friends and the life that he knew but has a great imagination and makes the best of things by exploring all around the countryside.  He eventually finds his way to the concentration camp and sees a little boy in "striped pajamas" on the inside of the fence that he befriends.  I can't give too much more info but let me assure you this is a powerful, wonderful movie!

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