Monthly Archives: April 2013

Fast-paced action and terror

out of range    I do not enjoy action movies with the special effects and cars crashes and gunfire blasting in my ears.  I do not enjoy watching stuntmen jump off of buildings and land perfectly unharmed on concrete while holding a weapon of some sort….to me all this is loud and frankly, obnoxious for me to watch.  I have no patience for it.  Now with this said, I had no trouble reading about all these things happening, in fact, I rather enjoyed reading Out of Range  by Hank Steinberg.  I know that millions of people love action movies and love special effects. So my intent is not to insult anyone who loves an action flick.  I appreciate the skill and talent it takes to create special effects, but I prefer quiet over noise.  It is that simple.  Which is why I enjoyed reading this action-filled story of Charlie and Julie Davis.  I did not need a bottle of Advil afterwards.

Six years ago, Charlie was working as a journalist in Uzbekistan with his pregnant wife Julie.  A terrorist attack left Charlie wounded and Julie delivering a baby in the midst of it all.  The couple returns to the states to lead a “normal” life in suburbia.  However, Julie is drawn to go back….back to Uzbekistan and back to the life that she felt made a difference.  She lies to Charlie and makes a secret trip over….this trip begins the events that spiral into a whirlwind adventure of kidnap, murder, danger, terrorism, love, and hate.  Yes, there are gun fights, torture, car crashes, bombs exploding and many more “loud” scenes….luckily I did not have to actually “hear” them, so there was no ringing in my ears or a headache when I put the book down.  I read it quickly because the book was written in a quick flowing sequence of events….it was easy to read and read….there was no added fat to skim over….it is all meat.  (that is a weird analogy, but I’ll go with it).  I liked the ending…it left no questions.

The author is the creator of the TV series Without a Trace,  and he is working on a screenplay for this book.  So it may just become a movie, and I could see how that could be accomplished quite successfully….I just won’t see it.  I prefer the written word.  I guess I am truly OLD school.

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orphan  This is a book that I flew through in a day….Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.   I have always been drawn to stories about orphans…every since I could read.  Do we even use that word anymore to describe a child who has lost their parents?  Or has it become a bad word?  I am not 100% certain.  I do know that my paternal grandmother was an orphan, and unfortunately, she has passed away.  I wish I would have had the foresight to sit down and talk to her about her childhood….what is was like growing up in a orphanage.  How it shaped her and so many more questions that continue to pop into mind.  Sadly, I do not have that opportunity, so maybe I am drawn to the stories of orphans….both fiction and nonfiction in hopes of finding some connection or some understanding that could bring me closer to her.  What I do know is that at  the age of 12, her aunt found her in the orphanage and came and brought her home to live.  I know little of her life during those 12 years, and I am hungry for information about them.      She died with a clear mind, a strong spirit and a grand sense of humor.  I was lucky to be one of the last people who kissed her and held her hand before she passed on….I just wish I would have had more time.

So my ramblings, brings me to the book Orphan Train.  I thought orphan trains were common knowledge, but I was wrong.  My own husband had no clue what they were until this weekend.  There were trains in the 1850-1930s that scooped up orphans in New York and other places in the East.  The cleaned them up, provided them with chaperones and sent them out west.   Flyers were sent out to western cities advertising orphans for free to a good home.  The orphans would line up and hopefully be selected to a good home.  However, that was not always the case….older boys were taken for labor on farms…not as sons and young girls were to do cooking, cleaning, sewing and babysitting for big families.  Babies were the ones with the most chance.  Many of these children were abused, neglected and ran away….never having a connection to a real family.

This books bounces between 1929-30 and 2011.  It follows an orphaned girl aboard the train to the present with 16-year-old Molly who is a modern-day orphan.  Both are trying to find their way.

A great….sad….yet hopeful book.

 

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