MR: Dear Eleanor

Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie’s mother as she prepares for a speech to introduce Eleanor Roosevelt to a room of 200 people. Heartbroken and reeling, she retreats further into herself and feels resentful. Her best friend Max (Max the Wax) writes to Mrs. Roosevelt and shares Ellie’s story. From there, a road trip happens and the two are off to see the former first lady. Hilarity and sweetness ensue.
Characters Delight

I have to say that this movie was absolutely delightful. The scenery was great: almost dream-like.  The characters vivid and animated, particularly Max. I adored Max’s innocence, her childlike wonder, her love for films, her willingness to dream and let others follow their dreams (in fact, she helps Ellie, Frank, and Aunt Daisy achieve their goals, no matter how far-fetched they were). I felt too close to Ellie. She was a bit dark and tortured, which is understandable. I could relate to her loss, and I think that her character was honest and real. I think as someone with mental illness, I kind of try to be more of a Max–happy, energetic, chatty, friendly. She is everything I cannot manage to do without exhaustion and, to be truthful, Max never gets tired of being this way, it’s inspiring and heartbreaking to know that I would never manage to pull it off. So, I am left admiring her, really.

Aunt Daisy was a dream. We didn’t get to see much of her, but the few moments with her are beautiful. I love that she wasn’t perfect. She was scared and different. I like the contrast between her and the other dancers: there she was, dressed in pink tutu and bodice. Meanwhile, the other dancers were in street clothes, black and white mostly. She stood out in the most endearing way ever.

Relationships and Friendships

The relationship between Ellie and Max is beautiful. One pushes the other to grow up (emotionally, sexually, in terms of identity and attitudes towards life) while the younger girl teachers her to maintain a positive view of the world and its inhabitants, to believe the best of people, to forever accept others as they are. It’s great that these two girls never feel jealous of each other. It is a story where women help each other out, support each other, love one another, and that makes it absolutely divine to see. I am happy that I have this little film. I hope you check it out, and feel inspired, too.

Today, a box of books appeared on our front step, which is probably the most
I was upset when I received my copy of this book, because I got it
A Birder's Guide to Everything is a small movie with many credits to its accomplishments

To Book Characters: Haven’t Met You Yet

Today, a box of books appeared on ohaventmetuyet1ur front step, which is probably the most exciting thing to happen to me (yet, anyway). I love reading because I get to meet different people and worlds, wrapped in beautiful words like truffles melting on my tongue. Never does it get old and I am happy because I get this opportunity to be introduced and make this life long acquaintance (which later on grows into a friendship/relationship) with lots of awesome people.

So, I decided to list characters I am excited to meet in books on my shelves:
1. The Darkling (The Grisha trilogy).
I love a good villain, especially when they are interested in the main character romantically. Most times, I end up shipping them together. I am just saying this in advance, because I can see myself loving this character so much. I blame Sam from Thoughts on Tomes for making me love this trilogy and world. It is an overwhelming love, I admit, because I don’t know what to expect really. I just hope the Darkling has a big role in the series, because of reasons. Also: Tumblr, where you at? You better step up your game and have mood boards and character castings.
2. Blue Sargent and Richard Gansey III (The Raven Cycle)
I have read two fairy books by Maggie S. They were amazing. I hate to sound like Knives Chau from Scott Pilgrim, but, damn, that woman can write. Beautifully and hauntingly. I just feel incredibly in awe of her talents and her personality. She just has a captivating presence and spirit. It is so cool. Thanks, Tumblr. I already have headcanons and theories about the series (rhyming poet in the house!). Seriously, though, I am ecstatic to have this quartet.
3. Aristotle and Dante (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe). 
 
For someone who grew up slashing everyone (because LGBTQ+ was virtually taboo and unheard of in my world), I don’t have enough characters in my world who are not straight. Much to my dismay. I heard amazing things about this book. I don’t like that there’s a second one coming (I know, I am in the minority here. I may be an extinct species at this point). I just like finality in one-shot stories. I don’t like it when authors revisit a world in a series of stand-alone pieces. Like, let it go (Elsa style). Anyway, I already feel attached to these two dude bros. I know I will be utterly in love with their stories.
4. Kesteral (The Winners trilogy)
Did I get her name right? I am not sure. I just love me a character who is not, not a fighter, because, listen, listen, listen, observe: strength isn’t always physical. In fact, sometimes, being clever and emotionally strong can outweigh muscle. And, that’s all I am going to say. Actually: hold that thought, because I want to complain about the new covers that I ended up getting (price is a thing). Why is she brandishing a knife/sword thing? I thought she didn’t fight! That’s the appeal for me, anyway.
5. Main character from The Girl of Fire and Thorns 
Because of medications and recovery from ED’s, I have gained a significant amount of weight over the years of my journey with mental illnesses. It is a source of much shaming and embarrassment. I heard that the character in these books is a bigger girl, and that makes me so keen to hopefully have a fictional soul sister who inspires me to be strong and unabashed by my appearance.
6. The Dragon (Uprooted) 
Way back when I was in my more hippie times, I used to really focus on mythology. One of my favorites was the Persephone and Hades storyline. Anyway, I feel like this story (along with Star Touched Queen) will satisfy this missing part of my life without me having to read the same boring stories and interpretations.
7. Karou (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) 
This is kind of a cheat, but I have read a bit of the first book in this series, and I adore Karou. She’s an artist and her power is just mind blowing. I love the world she lives in, so I can’t wait to delve in and see what will happen. Not too crazy about fallen angels; this should be interesting. Laini Taylor is a crafter of beautiful phrasings and characters. I know that much to be true.
8. Nora and Kettle (Nora and Kettle). 
I don’t know if I have mentioned this on the blog before, but I have specialized in young adult literature and children’s literature while working on my master’s degree in literature. I wrote my graduate thesis/dissertation on Harry Potter. So: naturally, I analytically read Peter Pan. When I heard of this retelling, however, I felt a strong pull toward it. I am not sure why. But, I learned to follow my gut when it comes to books.
9. Morpheus (Splintered trilogy)
Again, I felt like Alice in Wonderland was interesting especially when viewed from a lens that identifies/acknowledges mental illnesses. This retelling sounds like it would have a lot of history and depth. Very exciting.
10. Eon(a) (Eon/Eona) 
I think gender is one of those things that were unbreakable growing up. Ironically, I broke it all the time. I spent years dressing up and referring to myself as a boy in response to trauma. I am looking forward to seeing a girl kick butt in a man’s world. Also: the cultural aspects of this novel are compelling as well.
Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares
I was upset when I received my copy of this book, because I got it
A Birder's Guide to Everything is a small movie with many credits to its accomplishments

BR: The Difference Between You and Me

I was upset when I received my copy of this book, because I got it with no cover, but that’s superficial. So, I carried on with my excitement to read all about Jesse and her adventures. Oh, my heart is so full right now. Currently, I am feeling an overwhelming amount of love towards Esther, Wyatt, and Jesse.
Forced Stereotypes


My reaction is that they are almost too stereotypical. Wyatt likes fashion and he’s gay. He has a fling with the school bully. My word for it was “forced.” But, I have accepted the characters as they are, after much consideration, because stereotypes are also fine. It’s okay to fit into the stereotype. This is the case, but, we shouldn’t assume that this is what everyone needs to adhere to. Jesse cuts her hair short, wears weird boots, and has no fashion sense. Raised by two left wingers, she’s a lesbian who doesn’t have qualms with her sexuality. It is so lovely to read such a character. I adore her so much because she’s a breath of fresh air. She’s passionate, interesting, smart, but is also understandably in love with a girl who will never love her back.

Real Connections

I’ve met someone like Emily. Despite it being difficult, I understand where Emily is coming from, I suppose. However, I just relate to Jesse too much; I am invested because I have felt the same way. So far, I haven’t found a narrative to connect with over the gross feeling of being used. I don’t know if Emily’s homophobic. It doesn’t seem like it. It’s more like she doesn’t want to admit that she’s passive about her life. She goes down the road she’s told to go on and she doesn’t question it much. She’s unsure of where she stands in terms of sexuality, and I think it’s somewhat of a commentary on how popular culture and common societal rules dictate and limit girls’ sexualities. It’s clipped and tamed, subdued and unexpressed.

Real Talk About Relationships

 

Ultimately, this is what the novel says about relationships. They can be physical and woefully unsatisfying because there is no emotional connection. What Jesse shares with Esther is a series of moments where they bond as people, in platonic way first. I personally think it was somewhat overkill to have Esther’s mom have cancer, too. Still, I adore Esther. She’s a good fit for Jesse in the way she pushes her to be a better person, to think critically and go against the grain like she is inclined to, anyway. I think this is the novel’s essential argument: relationships have less to do with how you idolize someone, and more with how someone actually presents themselves.

Critique of a Generation


The whole Wal-Mart thinly veiled critique was interesting for the novel. It reminded me of slacktivism and how this is a generation unable to make change happen because we’re too self-aware and self-conscious, too afraid to actually take a stand on things. Or, we take it too far and alienate everyone in the process. It is a fascinating dynamic between Emily and Esther in the student counsel because they represent two completely different ways of living. While I strongly lean towards the way Jesse and Esther live, I feel like it’s not fair to vilify Emily and what she represents, either.

Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares
Today, a box of books appeared on our front step, which is probably the most
A Birder's Guide to Everything is a small movie with many credits to its accomplishments

Anl.: A Birder’s Guide to Everything

A Birder’s Guide to Everything is a small movie with many credits to its accomplishments of brilliance. Well acted, beautifully shot, and wondrously written, the film spans over 86 minutes full of awesomeness. I thoroughly enjoyed it, to put it bluntly, because I felt that the film was executed well, but also because it has universal themes transcending age, race, and gender.

 

Nature and Its Beauty
David is a nerd. There is no denying this fact. His friends are in a birder club, where they talk about nothing but birds. Tim tells a disgruntled member of the club, “This is not a dating service” insinuating the seriousness of the club’s tone. Losing said part of the group, the trio are stuck with Ellen as they try to photograph an extinct duck. 
Obviously, nature plays a huge role in the film. The friends can be seen identifying birds by their physical features or their sounds. And while there is plenty of beautiful scenery in the film, there is also an understanding of nature’s cruelty presented. As a vegan, I interpret the death of the duck as a symbol of humanity’s ignorance and disrespect to all beings, really. 
 
In a way, though, this demise leads David to understand that his quest is not realistic. You can’t live a life watching birds without dealing with humans and all their baggage. We see this through his grief of his mother’s death, his father’s marriage, and the death of the duck. 
Adulthood and Maturity 
 
He also has to deal with the growing changes he and his friends face: adulthood and maturity. Throughout the film, Tim mocks Peter for not being brave enough. Tim was super interesting to me, because he reminded me of myself a bit…okay, a lot. The foul mouthed, show off, who is lying about his awesomeness resonates with me. Ellen is a challenger to his beliefs and attitudes as a young man trying to find his place in school’s society and in the grander scheme of things. He gives her grief throughout the story until the annoying birders attack her which is when he defends her, “Her name is Ellen.” The tension between them could be because he sees her as a sexually mature person, and it makes him uncomfortable. In addition, he does sense that she is interested in his best friend (David) and that is unnerving. 
 
Aside from all of this, it is a funny, poignant movie. It has beautiful relationships and endearing characters. Definitely one of my new favorites, for sure. 
 
 
 
Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares
Today, a box of books appeared on our front step, which is probably the most
I was upset when I received my copy of this book, because I got it