Thursday, 3 February 2011

When a disability is under legal scrutiny

THIS IS THE BEST EVER STORY from Jodi Picoult (gauging it from my previous reading of My Sister's Keeper, Perfect Match and Second Glance). At first, I was a little bit disappointed of the pacing of the story. Picoult has her own way of presenting the characters which quite effective to fully understand each of the personality involved in the story. If you have already read some of her books, you understand what Im saying here. Normally I want variations of presenting the plot even with the same authors, and this is the reason why I tried to avoid much of Picoult's stories.

House Rules is an engaging novel that allows readers to understand the emotional and psychological conditions that confront the characters which is very effective to get the interest of finishing the book (I think so...). For the first 100 pages, I was tempted to temporary abandoned reading it but then reaching the middle part of the book, my enthusiasm is building-up considering that I initially did some preliminary conclusions of what happened to Jess' disappearance/death; consequently I found out that, well almost 100 percent I got it right! At that point of my initial assessment of the events, I jumped to the conclusion that Picoult is not clever enough to sustain the suspense element of the story that I was able to predict the outcome of the investigation.

On the other hand, Picoult is perfectly intelligent enough to motivate her readers to bring their own initial investigations and validated at the end of the story. The focal point of the story is whether a person suffering from Asperger's syndrome can be convicted of a crime or can be acquitted because the suspect is not capable to validate that his action is right or wrong? As the story progresses, I cant resist to do my own judgment from the evidence presented, and Picoult perfectly crafted the story in such a way that readers, like myself who doesnt have any background in forensic or criminal investigations will embark and hold on to find the truth! Unfortunately, Picoult did NOT explicitly described the outcome or the verdict but somehow readers will have their own interpretations...maybe acquittal or conviction.

The criminal process somehow validates my on-going personal discovery about American justice system. Currently, I do regular readings on this subject matter as part of a personal assistance to my cousin's university degree in Criminal Justice and Picoult did well to convince me about the judicial proceedings without going to the real trials. Not only the technical aspect of coming-up with the conviction, but most importantly, Picoult provided an excellent argument to look at, not only the justice system but also the physical, financial, emotional and pyschological impacts to the parties involved. Specifically, the author brings a new dimension of bringing these vulnerable offenders or those with disabilities into trial that could bring "reforms" or challenges to the current criminal system. With my final note, Picoult also wanted to confront us and stir our values and principles especially for those families or individuals who are facing the same dilemma of bringing their loved ones with disabilities that cause a long term effect to the carers which is the hardest thing to accept!

BY THE WAY, the other thing that I like finishing Picoult's novels is that she encouraged readers to interact with her, through her "Reading Guide" presented at the end of the book. Being a part-time academician, this kind of book presentation will encourage educators to bring her stories in the classrooms or any debate for that matter.

"Sometimes the hardest thing to hear is the truth" - Emma

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Making a difference...

The Make A Difference Movie - The Teddy Stallard Story
by Mary Robinson Reynolds

A time honored classic story. What a little third grader says to his teacher bypasses the head and goes straight to the heart of any issue. You can re-energize your personal relationships and workplace culture--and inspire greater loyalty--using the power of compassion.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Not the kindest thing...

A STORY THAT COULD HAPPEN to anyone but there is no suspense, no excitement at all. For Deborah, this is her roller-coaster and life-changing story but this situation might be avoided if she has a different spiritual view in life! I dont know but if she has a strong faith in God, despite the love towards her husband, she will NOT do it and not suffer the consequences before God's judgement and with the law!

Why we have to blame someone for what turned out of our relationship or what we are now? We are the one who take charge of our lives, despite what happened in the past!

Unfortunately, I dont have kids, but my parents brought up my other 9 siblings successfully, and as the author described Deborah's parenting, I think what happened to Adam and her relationship with Sophie, are just a manifestation of "bad" parenting! With this serious family problem, I do believe that children and close relatives should be informed and be aware of the situation. Sorry maybe because of my cultural background and Im very upset of the outcome of the story which could be avoided if Deborah and Neil have a strong spiritual connection. Im happy of the jury's verdict but still she has to serve some few years in prison.

In fairness, the author was able to bring a very controversial social issue of the present time and somehow she managed to provide the reader a good understanding on how the court proceedings are conducted.

THIS STORY ALSO REMINDED me of last week's health topic featured in This Morning ITV (UK) noontime show. Two daughters appeared in the program to share their dilemma to terminate the life of their father who is suffering from locked-up syndrome after a massive stroke in 2005. Unfortunately, it is a life imprisonment in the UK if convicted for assisting someone to die or commonly known as "mercy killing". It is a heartbreaking story - showing the support and strength within the family members to move on and still hoping that someday they will be able to give what the father is wishing for to end his suffering.

"You were just being kind, really. Anyone'd do the same, if they really loved someone. It shoudn't be counted like murder" - Patsy

Monday, 31 January 2011

The true spirit of is happening every day in our lives

DO YOU KNOW WHO IS THE FATHER OF CHRISTMAS? Maybe, you are thinking about Santa Claus - who always ready to answer our wishes! Unfortunately, Santa is not the father of Christmas, Im referrring to Charles Dickens who first introduced to us the true spirit of White Christmas.

Honestly, I dont know him until I downloaded his novel entitled, A Christmas Carol using my ebook reader - AmazonKindle3G. Coincidentally before Xmas, I watched three films adapted from the novel: 1951, 1999 and 2004 (the musical). Honestly, I have difficulty reading the book but these adaptations somehow provided me to understand the deeper Dicken's talent, sense of humor, and a glimpse of his life.

Actually, this is my second free ebook downloaded from ManyBooks.Net and it is also accessible from Amazon as well. I decided to read this during the Xmas holiday just to have a perfect setting of Dickens' story as first published in 1843. As we all know that the story started on Xmas Eve when Jacob Marley's ghost visited his business partner, Ebenezer Scrooge. Then followed by visits from three other ghosts: Ghost of Xmas Past, Ghost of Xmas Present and Ghost of Xmas Yet to Come that took Scrooge to his past (childhood/youth), present time, and his future life. Looking at these various scenes, Scrooge was moved and promised to change his attitudes towards the people around him and for his life as a whole.

Im not forgetting the true essence of this celebration in the Christian community that a Saviour was born to save the world, but Dickens' main character showed us the other side: the truth or reality of living - poverty, greediness, power, and the influence of wealth (money) which are still relevant today!

As my two Irish friends wrote an easy in Verbal magazine featured Dickens' story and they commented that "the current recessions, with its slippery bankers and corporate corruptions show that Srooge is still with us, and his story has acquired a fresh, if not frosty, bite when read in the context of today's news."
Aside from this story, Dickens has written a number of novels and Im hoping that I could read them in due time like: Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities.

The video clip above is the 1951 film adaptation starring Alastair Sim.