Book Review: How To Hang A Witch (Adriana Mather)

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I’m not sure how exactly Zoe manages to find these interesting and obscure reads, but sooner rather than later I saw symptoms of what would invariably lead to a book hangover for her. I was intrigued enough to be interested, and following her recommendation (we only refer books we know the other will like), and getting a hard copy (quite hard to do, I assure you, I was looked at as if I was perhaps a witch myself after inquiring this interesting title at the local book store), I started reading. It was delicious, not knowing one thing about the book, and the originality and suspense of the novel kept me engrossed and finished it within three days. Reading a new book is risky – so much time spent on something that might not work out! – But I was well rewarded. I won’t say too much about the story – but it is YA with some interesting twists, and the high school setting and typical teenage bitchiness is perfectly mixed with the spookiness of Salem and its tainted history. I’ve always found the Witch Trials really interesting, and they are well explored in this book.

How To Hang A Witch reads really easily and fluently, and the book does not drag or have events that shouldn’t have been included. The characters are likable – especially Sam, who really suffers from the children in her school, unknown forces and how to deal with her father’s illness, but she’s luckily never marketed as self-pitying or a wimp.

I started getting suspicions on who the main villain was when I reached about 75% completeness of the book, and was proven correct. It’s a great turn of events and suitably nasty, and those last few pages were intense and anxiously read.

I am just a bit sulky about how it ended – but since I saw that there is another book out, I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Although pretty sure I can’t actually like you if you don’t like this book, I would recommend it to people who generally enjoy YA. It’s not a genre for everyone, but I do hope that those who pick it up really enjoy themselves!

Rating: 8.5/10

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Blindspot 2018: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

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Plot: A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building, but her past threatens to get in the way.

There can’t be more to say about this film than what has already been said, and only my lack of seeing it would prompt me to even post about it  – a film 57 years old has had many reviews, certainly more loquacious than the one I’m about to wring out. However, I found the motivation to watch another Blindspot film, and this was readily available.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is my very first Audrey Hepburn movie, a woman as well remembered for her humanitarian work for UNICEF and her iconic status as one of the greatest actresses to ever grace our screen. Personally I like the UNICEF remembrance more, as it shows that she used her great fame for a cause and was really a lot more than just a pretty face (and what a pretty face it was!) Marilyn Monroe and Shirley McLain were both also considered for this role, and although Truman Capote felt her woefully miscast, Audrey Hepburn managed to make the role her own and to turn it into a defining moment in her career. She is delightful as Holly Golightly, as a (correct me if I’m wrong), high scale call girl. The film plays this out very carefully, I would assume due the time of release, and there is more focus on Paul Varjak’s nefarious activities than on Holly’s. She’s fascinated by Paul when he moves into her building, and it turns out he is similarly employed and wants to be a writer. He’s as charming as she, and through ups and downs Holly discovers what it means to be herself and to be in-love. Holly has a lot of plans and very few of them are wise, and a few things are revealed during the film – Holly’s previous marriage, her ability to jump between rich men and her inability to give a cat a name. The film could have been choppy, and I thought it could have had a stronger story, but between Peppard and Hepburn they manage to keep it together through charm and banter.

Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of the Japanese character Mr. Yunioshi’s is the only thing that I can’t admire. The character is portrayed as nothing short of retarded, and I can’t think such a portrayal could have been appreciated during that time any more than it would have been today. It seems highly insulting that the only other race in the film was portrayed in such a fashion.

The film is really stylish, has gorgeous costumes and its theme song is truly beautiful and no doubt as iconic in its own right as the film itself. I absolutely love Audrey Hepburn’s hairstyle, though few women could pull it off, and her dress, which inspired the Little Black Dress (although these days the cloth is significantly less), is classy and she looks wonderful in it.

I had a good time with this film, and at the end of the day that is what it is about, but I won’t be rushing to repeat this classic anytime soon.

Rating: 7.5/10