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My Secret Obsession

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I have never been one of those girls that gets obsessed with superstars.

While my friends were drooling over the posters of Christian Slater, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Val Kilmer in their lockers, I was rolling my eyes and saying "Whatever!" under my breath, while I slammed my own locker door on my own hand-drawn poster of a character from a book I had read.

However, I have been known to get obsessed with stories. Frequently.

I love reading, and always have. I also love watching movies, because for the last few years, I have found the leisure time I used to spend reading increasingly diminished by my other responsibilities and hobbies, but still felt the need to consume stories. This year has seen me picking up books again more, and it's a pleasure I had forgotten how much I loved.

The first story I became obsessed with was Black Beauty, which I received for my ninth birthday, I think it was. Over the next few years, I read the paperback so many times that pages were broken away from the binding and sitting loosely in the book. I actually re-purchased the book as an adult so my library of children's books would still contain it.

Then, at twelve, it was Walt Disney's The Little Mermaid. I watched it every day for at least six months, sometimes more than once in a twenty-four hour span. My parents tolerated this fairly well, but I think I understand my father's subsequent aversion to all things animated. Especially since, as an adult, I am fairly amazed by the shallowness of every main character in the story.

Other stories followed, with differing degrees of obsession, but here are the ones that grabbed hold of me the most: the off-Broadway Canadian tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera in 1992; The Princess Bride in both book and movie form; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Braveheart and Gladiator in movie form (although the book for Braveheart is excellent--I highly recommend it); Moulin Rouge; and more than it would be polite to continue listing. Hmm, do we notice any commonalities here? *ticks each off on fingers* Love story, love story, love story, and, uh...yep, all love stories. I'm such a girl.

This week has been marked by a new obsession: Pride and Prejudice.

I had read the novel when I was nursing Jude, using it to keep me awake while I was up with him at night so I didn't just fall asleep in my chair with him on the breast and wake up two hours later with him ready to feed again. (You moms who are nursing or have nursed a baby know what I'm talking about.) I loved the book then, and had long desired to re-read it, but there were just too many other books on my "to read" list to justify reading something I had previously enjoyed.

I loved the book so much that I was hesitant to watch the movie. Does this happen to anyone else? I was nervous that the movie would not do the book justice, and thereby ruin both for me. I even rented the Colin Firth version once, but "ran out of time" to watch it before it needed to be returned. Ahem.

Well, last Sunday night I watched the 2005 version starring Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen. And fell in love.

I immediately began to re-read the book, and watched the movie a second time on Thursday before it was due back at the video store. (I seldom watch a movie twice in the same week, so that must tell you something of how much I enjoyed it.)

I just find it amazing that in a world where every interaction seems so steeped in protocol and etiquette, and barely a private thought is expressed publicly, that two such people as Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam (!) Darcy could fall in love. Also, in spite of the fact that the Bennets are considered a bit "low" because of a poor yearly income, among other things, it still seems a bit like reading a fairy tale without the crowns and tiaras since the main characters are obviously upper-class enough to not spend their days cleaning and cooking. Instead, their time is chiefly spent in walking to the village, gossiping, reading, doing needlework, and visiting with friends and family.

I wish my life were more like a Jane Austen novel sometimes. Then I could use words like "amiable" in everyday conversation. However, since it is not, I must content myself with using them in my blog posts. Since I intend to read several other Austen novels in succession after finishing P&P, expect the language of my blog to be influenced for a few more weeks to come.

Oh. And even though I may not get obsessed with superstars, that still did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying the Josh Groban concert I attended in Edmonton on Tuesday, or appreciating that he has rather fine features when he walked within two feet of me on his "I'm here so you can love me" walk through the crowd. (I'm sure he would have asked me up on stage to sing with him, if he'd only seen me standing there. Hee!)

How was your week, friends?

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  1. How dare you prefer the Keira version to the Colin Firth version?! About 10 years after hearing a friend rave about the A&E P&P, I watched it - and loved it, and finally read the book (which does give some good insight into a few details that were missed in the movies). But the movie...sigh! I love the dialogue - I aspire to be that honest and direct without being rude - something our language seems to lack these days.

    As for falling in love with books - I have done that too, though recently I have had to really limit my reading as I find I am took easily influenced by humanistic ideas. My teenage obsession was with the book "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton. Read it dozens of times, and lines from the book still run through my head from time to time. I still read it every few years.


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