Ugly by Robert Hoge

This autobiography is written from a distance that helps the author create a more story feel to his childhood experiences as a disabled person.

Here are some of my favorite quotes.

“If our house was a dog it would be a rough little mongrel of a thing- not big, not fancy, not pretty. Luckily it was a happy mutt most of the time.” (p. 16)

“The kid with the squishy nose and strange legs isn’t all that surprising when you’re three years old and you hear stories about talking bears sitting at a table eating porridge.” (p. 87)

“There were no disabled role models for a young boy trying to work out what sort of man he could become.” (p. 89)

“Some of the best talks I have ever had started with someone asking, ‘This might seem rude, but can I ask about your face/nose/scars/bumps?’ Wherever those conversations ended up, they started as honest exchanges.” (p.113)

“Michelle declined my offer of boyfriendship.
‘It’s just, you’re a boy,’ she said.” (p. 122)


No Men Beyond This Point

Time for one of my rare film reviews!  The good news is that this docu-comedy got me thinking and inspired a review.  The bad news is that I was inspired to write about the gap between my hopes for the movie and my subsequent disappointment in it.

I was looking forward to seeing this movie after reading a review about it and watching the trailer.  I felt betrayed after sitting through it and coming to the ‘happy end’ wherein the Hetrosexual Norm was championed as an underdog cause.

There were reactionary jokes like the name used for women who were attracted to men, “crooked”, and dismissive statements like it was just PMS.  With women in the government positions, a unified world government was created, thereby making military forces obviate.  I was glad that the  film didn’t make the matricentric world a utopian, but I do take umbrage with the film’s portrayal of women dismissing the NASA program (mostly because rockets are phallic).  I can think of many women who are interested in space and space travel.

I also would have been interested if they had explored more about gender and the lack thereof when the species became completely female.  They touched on it a bit, but I also wonder if people (women) would continue to “pair off” as they “naturally” did in the film.

The scope of the movie may have been too much, but I liked some of the ideas.  This would be a breakout film for very conservative, heterosexual people.


The Bronze Key (Magisterium book 3) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

I am enjoying this story, because although there are some familiar tropes; dynamic between three friends (2 male and 1 female), malicious outsider who turns out to be helpful (although not friendly even by book 3), our main character being the incarnation of the past evil mage as well as the only survivor of that group (there must have been others hiding in different parts of the world otherwise there wouldn’t be anyone else in the school…).  It is breaking out of some expectations.  The characters are likeable and relatable.

I’m not sure how many books these authors are aiming to create, but I’m not committed to finishing the series.  I would hand these to junior readers who are interested in Harry Potter but are intimidated by the girth of the books.


And I Darken by Kiersten White

The female protagonist of this story is bold, fearless and hard to love.  She is easy to respect and has  great integrity as well as fierce loyalty.  Lada creates her own standard for what it is to be a woman.  She first allies herself with her father and other men, however she grows to find other women with strength, power and a will of their own even as they outwardly fit the customs of female fashion.

My favorite thing about this book is that Lada, even in love, commands respect and makes her own choices.  I will look forward to the next instalment of this series.


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Reading the Hobbit again is a delight!  I am steeped in its folklore and the tale is well known to me in cartoon, novel, movie versions.  It is the hero’s journey and I am happy to take it with Bilbo and the dwarves.  The wisdom of Tolkien’s descriptions and his observations of men, elves, dwarves, hobbits, dragons, wizards and other denizens of Middle Earth elluminate our human society.

To speed on the tale, whilst allowing the characters time to recover: “…days that are good to spend are…not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale.” (p. 57)

On Mirkwood: “…the echoes were uncanny, and the silence seemed to dislike being broken.” (p.62)

Best opening line of a chapter: “When Bilbo opened his eyes, he wondered if he had…” (p. 76)

Truth beyond measure: “…There are no safe paths in this part of the world.'” (p.151)

On Smaug the dragon:”His rage passes description-the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but have never before used or wanted.” (p. 236)


Two good books: Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz / And I Darken by Kiersten White

I have been distracted from my usual blogging and yet, I do want to share some good quotes from what I’ve been reading:


“Unlike owies, scabs aren’t about being hurt. They are proof I am healing” (p. 55)

“…I wonder if it helps to write about water when one is writing stream of consciousness.” (p.83)

“Infinity has a symbol. It looks like the number eight, only one that’s fallen on it’s side – exhausted from too much time.” (p. 128)

“I was careful to use fancy words like ‘cardiologist’ and ‘echocardiogram’ as I began to jog in place…It helps sometimes to have a high IQ. Adults like Principal White worry I am smarter than they are.”

“This father would never let his wife go crazy.” (p. 205)

“‘It seems there was an incident at home the other night,’ the social worker says…And what she says is both a statement and a question, and this is when I begin to truly hate her.” (p.217)

“And no one here calls it electric-shock therapy. They all call it ECT. Acronyms and initials are employed like camouflage or buffers; they are the sugar coating on a bitter pill…” (p. 230)

And I Darken

“It was a lonely, cold thing to live without expectations.” (p.133)

“She needed a job, something real, something she could focus on and channel her energies into.” (p.240)


The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Ruth thinks that her story begins with herself, as so many of us do.  However, she discovers that her story begins generations ago with her grandmother.  The grandmother who is now raising Ruth and her sister Lily in the wake of their father’s death and mother’s mental illness.

“Someone’s red frilly slip got hung up in Mr. Peterson’s climbing peas and made Lily laugh out loud until Gran shushed her. Gran’s face was as red as an overripe raspberry. Even in a flood, underwear was no joking matter.” (p. 5)

Hank has also lost his father and is doing his best to look after his younger brothers.

“For a second I wish I were Jake, who always sees the gossamer threads floating invisible between people. They are so translucent, it’s no wonder most people don’t see them-or the bumble along and end up destroying them without ever knowing they existed.” (p.166)

The different attitudes among Alaskan Natives and Catholics about unwed mothers is artfully approached by the author.

“At a truck stop somewhere near the Canadian border, I turned seventeen all by myself. I used my emergency money that Gran gave me knotted up in the corner of a handkerchief to buy a Hostess apple pie as a birthday cake. The baby seemed to like it, or at any rate it woke up and played me like a bongo from the inside for the next few hours. I guess I wasn’t truly alone on my birthday after all.” (p. 177)