Coming off the heels of 1 Henry VI, the next play, 2 Henry VI, struck me as wonderfully written. I hadn’t found much to stand out in 1 Henry VI. But from the beginning, the analogies, the rhythm of the poetry, and the play on words impressed me in the second play. As the action progressed, I could picture the actors and their reactions. I really enjoyed 2 Henry VI, and in fact I read it twice this month just so I’d feel I understood it fully.
1 Henry VI provided the backdrop for the War of the Roses, capturing the 20 years or so after Henry V’s death and the establishment of the Duke of Gloucester (Lord Humphrey) as the Lord Protector of England, since Henry VI was only an infant at his father’s death. At the end of the play, Lord Suffolk in France has arranged for Margaret of Anjou to marry the now-grown King Henry VI.
Then, 2 Henry VI begins right where the first play left off, with Suffolk arriving in England to deliver Princess Margaret to the King. From the first scene, there is tension as the Lord Protector reads the treaty arrangement that gives Margaret (who is French) to England: two of the recently conquered territories in France have been returned to French rule as a result of the marriage arrangements.
2 Henry VI is about conflicting interests, about secrets among leaders, and especially about what it means to be a leader as chaos begins to erupt around King Henry’s throne. It’s obvious that King Henry VI depends on his Lord Protector (who is his uncle) and others to guide him as king. Although he is technically of age, he is a weak and inefficient leader, although he trusts all his close counselors. This blind trust leads to the beginning of his downfall as friends are executed and his supposed friends instigate uprisings against him. I have not yet read 3 Henry VI, but I can see where it will go. (more…)
As I mentioned when I reread The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson last year, I grew up with fond memories of the plot, characters, setting, and the entire premise of the story. My older brother and I would imagine ourselves conquering the world, pouring over maps and phone books to determine where we’d settle our city and get survival supplies in a world suddenly left without anyone over the age of 12.
When I saw on Netgalley that a graphic novel has been written, to be published in early April 2012 (by Lerner Publishing Group/Graphic Universe), I was more than a little excited. In fact, when I was approved to view the book, I read it immediately, finishing within a few hours of being approved. I’m that kind of a geek when it comes to this book.
Again, because I have fond memories of The Girl Who Owned a City, keep in mind that I cannot approach it, or the graphic novel (by Dan Jolley and illustrated by Joelle Jones and Jenn Manley Lee), with an objective eye. Reading a graphic novel of this favorite kids book was wonderfully fun, the pictures were sufficient for the story, and the story itself was, like the original, a fun ride along with some pretty self-sufficient kids who save the day. (Read my 2010 review of the original for more information about the novel’s plot.)
Suffice it to say that the graphic novel takes away a lot of the awkward gaps that the poorly written original suffered from. There is slight reference to the missing dead bodies of all the adults (they simply turn to dust, which is good, because any illustration of dead bodies would not have been a pretty sight to see portrayed in graphic novel form). There is also less awkward exposition about what people are doing because, let’s face it, in a graphic novel, you literally show those kinds of things. And the story moves quickly, focusing on the action and the agony Lisa, as leader, goes through, without focusing on unimportant explanations. (more…)
In The Girl Who Owned a City (first published 1975, reissued 1995), O.T. Nelson creates an entirely unbelievable post-apocalyptic scenario for middle-grade readers. In the past month, the world population of adults has died of a rapidly spreading plague. All that remains in ten-year-old Lisa’s immediate world are other children, all under the age of twelve. Lisa is now responsible for her younger brother’s food and safety. Using her intelligence and her problem-solving abilities, Lisa discovers previously untouched sources of food, gathers her street into a commune, and moves them all into the local high school, of which Lisa is made supreme ruler.
Such a (ridiculous) story may have worked fantastically, but O.T. Nelson’s prose is painful, the characters one-dimensional and selfish, and the ordinary things about the story are entirely unbelievable.
I love it.
I have never watched a “train-wreck” reality show. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever watched a reality show, unless you count the cooking shows like Iron Chef America. I have no desire to watch reality shows (beyond learning to cook, that is), and I don’t understand the appeal.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, depicts how in the futuristic world of Panem, which emerged from the ashes of a war-torn North America, the government produces a televised reality show in which 24 teenagers kill each other. The purpose of the Hunger Games is to illustrate how the government provides everything for the populace and that without the government’s wise support, anarchy and personal battle will reign over the land. People in the far-off districts depend on the Capitol for support. The Hunger Games illustrate what would happen if people rebelled against authority: chaos and murder.
Yet, The Hunger Games is not about savagery or murder. It is about defiance. Katniss volunteers herself, eager to save the life of her twelve-year-old sister Prim, whose name has been selected from the lottery. And from the beginning of the games until the end, Katniss hates the games, hates the Capitol’s philosophies, and hates the forced murdering game she is a part of. In that sense, she is a hero. (more…)