Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Meryl Streep Movie Club, Mia March (2012)

Film: not a movie, but it discusses Meryl Streep movies (obviously) 

The Meryl Streep Movie Club tells the story of three estranged women-two sisters and a cousin-who must reunite at the family inn on the coast of Maine when they learn that their family matriarch (Lolly) has cancer. Interwoven within their stories is Meryl Streep Movie Night and its effect on each of the characters' transformations.

Eh. I wasn't crazy about this book. Of course, I bought it and read it because it's Meryl Streep related, but I didn't like it that much. Firstly, this novel describes three women (Kat, Isabel, June) and the novel alternates between each of their stories. Usually I am fine with reading a novel that has three different characters with separate stories (i.e. The Hours), but often times in this novel, it felt like the author was getting ahead of herself, which made reading confusing.

Also, I felt like this novel didn't do Meryl Streep and her body of work much justice. March selected 10 movies for the characters to view, which was fine. (Although I would have used a few different movies). But when the characters watched and discussed the movies, their discussions often felt simplistic, strange or juvenile. It also just felt awkward when all the characters would sit down and attempt to have deep conversations about the movies. It felt as if March was trying way too hard to make her characters sound profound. I understand that Meryl Streep movies are amazing and they really are. I love Meryl Streep and her movies (who doesn't?). But I didn't enjoy what March did with her characters and their dialogues about the movies, because their discussions didn't seem thorough enough to impact any of the characters' growth.

During their discussions, the characters primarily referred to the characters in the movie by "Meryl" and the other actors' names. (i.e. "But Meryl does...Because she knows Dustin Hoffman, knows her son") In my opinion, this was quite strange because it would be more natural to refer to the characters in the movies by the names of the characters, rather than the names of the actors portraying the characters.

There were also some plot issues. For example, the novel spans more than a month. It starts at the beginning of summer and it ends in September. But at the family inn, it's Meryl Streep Movie month. They usually watch a movie every Friday night. The author does note that they randomly watch movies whenever they feel like it, which is fine. But I think it would have been nice to add a piece about how amazing the movies were, which is why they just kept watching the films way past Meryl Streep Movie month. Of course, you can watch Meryl Streep movies all year round, but I was confused by the timing of the movies.

Anyway, I digress. I wasn't overly impressed with this book, but I suppose it is a nice fluffy beach read or something of the like. And the novel definetly had its strengths. I liked that the novel was based around Meryl Streep movies, because they are really amazing. And I liked that the novel illustrated the general power of art. In this case, it was the power of Meryl Streep's art, but overall this novel spoke to why we-people, anyone, continue to create art in all mediums. People in this world create art for various reasons, of course, but art is still alive today because of its profound effect on people of all kinds.

*I felt like I was really harsh towards this novel. I'm sorry.

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