Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Slow Motion by Dani Shapiro, The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and One Hundred Strokes of the Brush Before Bed by Melissa P.

I have been reading up a storm since I have no TV. Most of it has been non-fiction.

Originally I was looking for one of Ms. Shapiro's novels but grabbed this instead. I have heard good things about the book and her writing. She's a beautiful writer. This is the story of how her parent's horrific car accident made her change her life. Before the accident she had dropped out of Sarah Lawrence to pursue acting. She was having an affair with a classmate's powerful step-dad who was around the same age as her father. How she went from growing up in a upper middle class Orthodox home to flying around the world with this man is quiet a story. After the accident she had to come home and take care of her parents when she could barely take care of herself. It's what saved her life. She was a heavy drinker and her "career" was going nowhere. The one thing I didn't get was why her parent didn't say anything regarding her affair and dropping out of school. It's a question Shapiro asks in the book.

I read my brother's copy of this book a while ago. It was interesting to reread it now. There's still controversy over who really killed Malcolm. So many biographies are dry, this book is not. We see Malcolm change from a hustler, to a follower of Nation of Islam, to his trip to Mecca. Post Mecca he started to question his views on NOI. I wonder what Malcolm would think about America today if he were still alive. Would he be thrilled and surprised about the changes since the 60s or would he be angry about the growing underclass and other social ills. Malcolm was complicated and he was flawed but he was a man of his times. Reading this book made me think about what my parents, especially my dad, had to deal with when they moved to America. He was a grown up when he came here that's why his spirit was never broken. He knew who he was and didn't let anyone else define him. Some might say but all this was a "long" time ago. I think there is a connection between the sins of the past and social issues we see now.

This book was translated into over thirty languages. However, it didn't do that well in the States. I guess people were not interested in reading about a 15 year old having gang-bangs. At first I thought is this even real? But she does write like a very smart, over dramatic teen. This autobiographical novel is about a young from Sicily and her erotic adventures. I don't think the book is very erotic though. I'm not a prude but most 30/40 something women would have found it hard to navigate some of the situations Melissa P found herself in. At 15/16? I wonder what kind of relationships she will have in the future. I didn't believe the ending for a minute. She is working on her second novel. The film adaptation did very well here. I don't think it was released in the States.


joanne at frutto della passione said...

Oddly enough I was never drawn to Melissa P. I remember when it was published and all the interviews she gave. At the time several journalists were convinced that she didn't really write the book herself. I never understood if she was a very mature, empowered young girl, or a child desperate for attention.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Slow Motion sounds fascinating and I already had rereading The Autobiography of Malcolm X on my summer reading list after a post, by... Los Angelista, maybe?

I'm reading really light stuff right now, so it's good to remember there's deeper stuff out there. ;-)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

joanne - exactly. Maybe she had a ghost writer or embellished some of the stories.

jen - I saw that post by Los Angelista. Let me know what you think of Slow Motion.

Anonymous said...

tracey k/ohio: ahh, lucky you - no TV & just pure, luxurious reading! They sound interesting - i'll have to check out "slow motion' and Malcolm, but not sure about the 15 year old story. i just finished "Sundays at Tiffany's" by James Patterson (whom I love). Most folks didn't care for it cause it wasn't the usual "Patterson" writing, but I thought it was worth the read.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Tracey - Next time I am in the states I plan to pick up a Patterson book. I have seen movies adapted from his work but have never read him.