Sunshine and Suicide

Sunshine and Suicide is a tentative title for a book I have recently completed. I remember reading The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger in High School. Although, the book is a classic I wondered why it was controversial. A rich kid is kicked out of prep school and goes to New York City where he encounters alcohol and Jazz.

The Catcher in the Rye  does have underlying as well as more overt references to sexuality. There are also some perhaps more controversial hints at homosexuality. I have little doubt these concepts and ideas were disturbing in 1951.

Yet, given the world we live in today The Catcher in the Rye is hardly radical. Holden Caulfield would be looked at as a goody-two-shoes compared to what teens are like today. Highballs have been replaced by drugs. Sex and sexual activities have become more common, obvious and overt. A punch to the nose has been replaced by a bullet to the head.

Sunshine and Suicide is about a young man living an ideal middle class life. In an instant that life falls apart. He soon falls into a world of sex, drugs and gun violence.

The Catcher in the Rye is a tale of a teen slowly loosing his innocence. Holden seems fascinated with children while fighting against the loss of his youth and innocence. In Sunshine and Suicide the loss of innocence is as slow as a run away train.

I’m not so arrogant as to compare Sunshine and Suicide to a classic like The Catcher in the Rye. I just want to point out that Sunshine and Suicide is also a coming of age tale. Yet, the main character is coming of age in a world of sex, drugs and violence.

Sunshine and Suicide is dark but at the same time it is not overly depressing. The book does contain humor and satire. I will leave it to readers to determine if there is a moral to be taken from it’s pages.

Writing a book about adolescence does bring back uncomfortable memories of my own childhood. Looking back and trying to remember a time when life had exaggerated importance is uncomfortable. Yet, at the same time seeing adolescence through the microscope of experience can be freeing as well. If only our children thought enough about our experiences to learn from them.

Given that I have just finished the first draft who knows when or if Sunshine and Suicide  will be published. Yet, I wanted to write something about it before I forgot what I was feeling at the time. Writing as well as reading can be trans-formative and writing this book certainly had an impact on the author.


Lincoln and Django Unchained

I saw the movie Lincoln. I liked the movie because it talked about the wheeling and dealing surrounding the 13th Amendment. A subject that I was not very familiar with. I also saw the movie Django Unchained another movie about slavery. I liked both movies and wish them both luck at the Oscars.

Like books movies impact their audience not just based on their quality and content but by what the audience brings with them. This is not just their personal preferences but their mood at any given moment. My assessment of both these movies was certainly impacted by my mood at the time I watched them.

The theme of both these movies is the same, essentially that slavery is bad. Although, certainly Lincoln is a more serious film than Django Unchained in some ways it is less personal. Django shows the violence associated with slavery. The cuts made by the whips, making people fight to the death, the idea of breaking families apart. Lincoln, in large, part concerns a bunch of rich white law makers fighting over abstract beliefs concerning slavery. Although, the personal moments in Lincoln were very powerful.

I have been struggling with the idea of what is appropriate when it comes to comedy and satire in the context of horror and inhumanity. Tarantino also directed Inglorious Bastards that takes place in Nazi Germany. I think there is a place for humor and satire amidst horror. In some ways I believe it makes the inhumanity more evident.

I have only seen three of the movies nominated for best picture this year. Lincoln, Django Unchained and Les Miserables. Of the three I would vote for Lincoln. I do want to see Argo. I should also give a Cocaine Zombies high five to the director of Life of Pi, Ang Lee. Mr. Lee is also a graduate of the University of Illinois.

The point I have been trying to make in this blog is perhaps better explained in the famous Mounds commercial. To paraphrase, some times you feel like one form of entertainment and sometimes you don’t. I should note that I don’t particularly like dried coconut. Although, I do enjoy many of the fine products at Hershey. Hershey purchased the United State’s rights to sell Mounds in 1988.

I am in no way associated with Lincoln, Django Unchained or Les Miserables. I am also not associated with Mounds or Hershey. I receive no compensation for my reviews. Should Hershey find the need to send me a candy bar after the fact I  do enjoy a good Butterfinger or Kit Kat.