Saturday, August 16, 2014


Divergent (2014) Poster

I was not impressed by the trailer and plot description of Divergent.  It just seemed like more Hollywood cookie cutter stuff.  My wife was interested and I was willing to watch it to spend time with her.

The movie was very slow to start out and somewhat confusing.  Throughout the movie the the plot was slipping into not making sense or connecting.

I was expecting to see the different factions doing their jobs, but for the most part the protectors just trained and walked around town like a band of thugs.

For all of its problems I did end up enjoying Divergent.  With all of it holes, it kept me hanging with it and left me with a feeling of enjoyment at the end of it.

It was over two hours long, which I very much like putting the time into telling a story.

Many of the themes dealt with fear, so there were suspenseful things.  There was also a lot of fighting.  The extent of the sex was a little kissing and someone being a jerk saying "take it off" as a girl took off her coat.

Just to give perspective, there was far less foul language than in Back to the Future, which many consider a good family film.  The language in Back to the Future often takes me out of the movie when watching with my kids.  If you are comfortable with the language in Back to the Future, you will be comfortable in this movie.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dog Breath Book Review

In January I received an email from Jolene Fine asking if I would review her book, Dog Breath, on my blog.  She sent me an electronic copy of the book.  I was very excited that she had found my blogs and was asking for my opinion.

I do not consider myself a skilled writer or literary expert, but I am happy to review this book from the perspective of a reader and I very much appreciated receiving the book whether my thoughts end up being favorable or not.

I found myself trying harder to keep an open mind about the book, since the author contacted me herself personally.  I could empathize with her publishing a part of herself and hoping other people will enjoy it, even though she did not express these things to me.  I hope that any negative or positive opinions I express are useful to her in developing future stories.

Super Sniffer
It was an interesting and at times funny concept that the main character had a talented sense of smell and internally created nick names for everyone he came in contact with based on how they smelled.

Latter-day Saints
The main character was a recently converted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The author used over used LDS cliches.  Not only are the cliches tired, but many people outside the Church won't understand them. This limits the audience of the book.  Including aspects of LDS life in stories I like, but there are many who might otherwise be drawn to this book, who just won't get the jokes.

Often TV shows and movies show Catholic or other religious characters and I think it is often very good.  I would like to see more of this with Latter-day Saint characters as a way to give a glimpse into LDS life and culture.  In many ways the author did some good things with this.

Some of the church stuff was interesting and humorous.  The dilemma of being in a complicated relationship with a girl not of his faith and pushing her away only to have her bump into the missionaries and show up at church was interesting.

I found the book humorous at times, the main character's quick wit to cover up embarrassing situations was enjoyable.

The humor often tried to dance the edge of and dip its toe into vulgarity without leaping all the way into it.

There are several pages dedicated to flatulence and that theme recurs in several places in the book.  It was excessive.

The author overused of the word for a female dog.  It was always used properly, but sometimes used properly and then hinted at meaning the profane.

At times the language and innuendo was crude.  For example, toward the end of the book was a line, “Smells like a Hollywood hooker after taking her sixth ride in a limo.”

I think there were supposed to be pieces of romance with the main character, but just when I would envision him to be attractive to a female character some aspect of him would be described that would make him revolting.  It just felt like the idea that he had let himself go and was not attractive made the situations where women would find themselves drawn to him a little unbelievable and kind of pulled me out of the story.

The story line of fantasizing about his friend's girlfriend and the two of them flirting is a story line I have felt uncomfortable about in other books and movies.  Yes the friend and girlfriend are not married but she is still being untrue to her boyfriend and he to his friend.  It was handled a little differently and was more enjoyable in this book, but still not a concept that I am comfortable with.

If your boyfriend is not the one then break it off, but if you are trying to make it work then don't let your eyes wonder.

Be a true friend and don't dwell on romantic thoughts about his girlfriend.

Overall the book was ok.  There were enjoyable parts and the story idea has potential.  I will be looking for other books by this author in the future to see how her writing style progresses and what other ideas she has.