(A note: Since I felt like I wasn’t truly living up to my claim that I am a TV and book blogger by only writing about books during these monthly wrap-ups, I’ve decided to incorporate the different television that I’ve been watching during the month. This will, of course, become more difficult during the regular Fall season but we’ll see how it goes!)
I am disappointed in myself. I am disappointed that I wasted so much time making fun of ABC Family shows based on their commercials when I could have spent that time actually watching ABC Family shows. This month, I began, and subsequently caught up with, both ‘The Fosters’ and ‘Chasing Life’. I am absolutely and completely blown away with how much I love both of these television shows. I am (hopefully) going to be writing a more in depth review of both of these shows in the near future but I’ve been so impressed that I want to gush about them now.
First, ‘The Fosters’. This show has tackled so many controversial topics in its short run. It jumps bravely into subjects and never feels as though the drama has been forced or shoe-horned in for drama’s sake. In the course of 28 episodes, they have tackled everything from cultural identity struggles to alcoholism to corrective therapy to statutory rape. These story lines develop organically and are handled with incredible grace, all the while creating amazingly lovable, endearing, complex characters.
As for ‘Chasing Life’, I fell in love with Italia Ricci’s character, April Carver, within the first five minutes of the pilot and I can already tell that she is a character that is going to stick with me for a long, long time. The only issue I have with the show so far is the secret, illegitimate daughter plot line – it has been done many times before that it feels a little tired, but I am more than willing to watch along and see how it develops. The charm and earnestness sucked me in and the incredible amount of heart that this show has is what solidified my love for it. On a slightly more superficial level, ‘Chasing Life’ has amazingly created the first male love interest that I’ve been truly excited about in a long time – Leo. He comes with the caveat of a death sentence, as is the nature of a story about cancer, but he is incredibly charismatic and the chemistry between Leo and April is so much more palpable than between her and Dominic. In honour of how hard I fell for Leo, and my newfound love for Scott Michael Foster, I decided to begin ‘Greek’. I’ve only watched seven episodes so far, but it reminds me so strongly of the dramas that I watched when I was in my teens (in a GOOD way).
This month, I have finally finished ‘Parks and Recreation’, which was an absolute delight. I have a feeling it plays better on binge watch than individual viewing per week, but I am looking forward to following the final season. Also, mostly because the Big Brother 16 cast is so dull, I have been, slowly, re-watching the most entertaining seasons. So far, I’ve made my way through BB12 (The Brigade), BB7 (Dr. Will, anyone?) and am currently on BB8, because Evel Dick was horrible but made really good TV.
The new MTV show, ‘Finding Carter’ premiered this month and I am not completely sold on it yet. I have watched four episodes and while I love individual characters (Max, Grant, Taylor, Carter), I cannot bring myself to care about the plot lines involving Carter’s parents, any of her friends, or Lori. I’m not sure how those things can reconcile or if they ever will, but I’m along for the ride for now!
How To Talk To A Widower by Jonathan Tropper (4/5): This was yet another Jonathan Tropper book that I really, really enjoyed. Tropper has a knack of creating real and relatable characters. Russ was amazing, Claire was another strong, awesome, badass female character (who reminded me a lot of Wendy from This Is Where I Leave You). Also, much like Tropper’s previous books, the family dynamics were dysfunctional and beautiful and the humour was dry, sarcastic and biting. All good things.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer: To me, this novel felt more like two books rather than one cohesive story – which ultimately led to my feeling to conflicted to give it a rating. I was absolutely in love with any part of the novel that came from Oskar’s POV. He is a charming, sweet, intelligent, loveable character with such astonishingly profound observations about the world around him. It was an extremely refreshing lens to view a story through. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I disliked every other section of the novel. While I appreciate the creative choices and the different narrative style and the fact that the author leaves a lot up to the reader to decipher, I personally did not enjoy it. Despite that, Oskar is a character who will stick with me for a very, very long time.
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (4/5): I found this novel interesting. While Perrotta’s narrative style doesn’t necessarily have much flair or much originality, it is very clear. The characters were all compelling and complex and all of the plotlines were interesting in one way or another. Although it continued to nag me throughout reading the novel, I was ultimately glad that they chose not to explain the disappearances and that the novel focused more on those who were left behind rather than on the mystery of the “Rapture”. All in all, a decent read.
Everything Changes by Jonathan Tropper (3/5): This was not one of my favourite books by Tropper but I did enjoy it all the same. All of Tropper’s male protagonists have many of the same qualities, and they all end up getting the girl in the end – so in that sense, they are rather formulaic. However, I loved every single scene between Zack and his family, and his relationship with both Sophie and Henry made my heart melt.
I may not have gotten as much reading done this July as I would have liked, but I immensely enjoyed all of the television I watched, so all in all it was a good month.
As always, happy reading/viewing!