27 February 2015

The Book of Mormon

On January 28th, I went to see the Book of Mormon at the Straz Center in Tampa. I went on the recommendation of a friend who saw the show on Broadway in New York last spring. I did not know much about it except that it was written by the guys that created South Park (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) and that it has won many awards.

Every time I hear a doorbell, I start to sing the song "Hello." I was hooked on the show from the opening song. The show is very informative and clever and raunchy and hilarious. The songs are catchy, and a month later I still find myself humming them. It is obvious that the writers respect the Mormon faith even as they satirize it.

The show is about two young men, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, missionaries of the Church of Latter Day Saints, that are on their first mission. They get sent, not to Orlando as Elder Price hopes, but to a village in Uganda. Converting the villagers is not as easy task, and the missionaries that arrived before these two Elders have all but given up. The show does allude to some very serious issues, such as AIDS and female genital mutilation, but is never serious about the issues.

I enjoyed Elder Cunningham's "stories" told to the villagers. I laughed so hard at all of the nuanced jokes and references. The show really deserves the acclaim because it is smartly written and the songs are integral to furthering the story. I think the soundtrack will become a part of my rotation, which is a very high honor as I am somewhat of a music snob.

If I have the opportunity to see the show again, I will. Like many shows, I am sure I will only appreciate it more (and understand more of the jokes) with repeated viewings.

10 February 2015

Book Review: Landline

Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Fiction/Literature
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I need to confess that I have a hardcore crush on Rainbow Rowell. I do not know what it is about her writing, but I love it. I have thought about writing letters to her about how much I love her writing. But then I remember I am too old to be that much of a fangirl.

This is Rowell's first "adult" book.

It has taken me almost three weeks to write this review because, although I knew I liked it after I finished, it was one of those books that I needed to let settle; to linger. I originally rated it four stars, but after letting it soak into my brain, I think it deserves another half of a star. Maybe in another week or two I will think it is a five-star book. Because I am still thinking about it.

Landline is the story of Georgie and a magic "time-traveling" phone. It sounds silly, but it is not, I promise. Georgie lives in Los Angeles and is a comedy writer for a successful sitcom, but what she really wants to do is to write with her best friend, Seth, on a show they created together in college. She has an opportunity to fulfill her dream if she can send a pilot and four episode scripts to an interested producer in a very short time frame ... during Christmas. Georgie has plans to visit her mother-in-law in Nebraska with her husband Neal and their two children, Alice and Noomi. Georgie decides to follow her dream and lets her family go to Nebraska without her. This puts a strain on her marriage, and the book revolves around her reflecting on her marriage and her life. The magic phone is an old yellow phone she finds in her childhood bedroom closet. She needs it because she cannot remember to charge her iPhone and needs to talk to her husband Neal ... who is actually Neal from the past, from before they were married, from before he even proposed to her.

I enjoyed reading Georgie's story. As someone who lives inside her head far too often, I could definitely relate to her internal dialogue. I was surprised by the ending, which is a good thing. I thought about choices I have made in my own life, my own 12-year marriage. The book just gave me a lot to think about.

I appreciated the "time travel" aspect of the story. It was not your typical time travel story, which made it refreshing. Imagine if we all had a magic telephone that could call a specific point in our personal history. Would you make the call that could potentially change your life? Like I said, lots to think about.

I cannot wait to read more from Rainbow Rowell.