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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Thursday, August 8

Precious & The Way Way Back

Thanks to Netflix, we finally got to see Precious, and although we both admired the acting of Gabourey Sidibe as Claireece Precious Jones and Mo’Nique as her mother, the story itself was so awful neither of us could sleep well thinking about the probable reality of 1987 Harlem—the abuse and rape of Precious by her father, the allowance of such abuse by her mother, the lack of education al values in a school where the 16-year-old Precious could be passed along without being able to read, the welfare fraud depicted by Precious’s mother, the physical and verbal abuse by her classmates as well as by her mother. If that was even close to the reality of Harlem three decades ago, we should all be ashamed for having allowed it to happen. If anything like it is still happening anywhere in this country, we should all be forced to sit in a darkened theatre and watch this film over and over and over again . . . forever.

On a lighter note (but only slightly) we saw The Way Way Back with Steve Carell playing a most unfunny, relatively nasty character. We’ve grown so accustomed to the funny Steve Carell that it was disquieting to see him otherwise. In fact, nearly all the adults in this film are unfunny and relatively nasty—Trent (Carell), recently divorced and now dating Duncan’s mother Pam (Toni Collette); Betty (Allison Janney), divorced and living with her daughter next to Trent’s beach home and who drinks like the proverbial fish; Kip (Rob Corddry) and his wife Joan (Amanda Peet), two minor characters in this nasty group who also live near Trent’s beach house. The only funny and not nasty adult (who just barely qualifies as an adult) is Owen (Sam Rockwell), the manager of a nearby water park called Water Wizz (a name which forces us to consider how often young customers really do wizz in the water at Water Wizz). Owen befriends the unhappy 14-year-old Duncan, played admirably by Liam James, and gives him a job at the water park, where, along with Owen’s help, the boy becomes a man. Well, let’s just say, a more mature young man than when he first arrived at the beach with his mother and her overbearing boyfriend Trent and his semi-nasty daughter Steph (Zoe Levin). The only friend Duncan has, other than his coworkers at the water park, is Betty’s daughter Susanna (AnnaSophia Robb), who shares his discontent with the nasty adults. Although too much of the film was unpleasantly unfunny, the humor in the scenes at Water Wizz and the joy in watching Duncan’s growth made the movie worth seeing. But I’d much rather see Steve Carell take on a straight dramatic role than have him do this unfunny role in a film billed as a comedy.
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