Book Review

Book Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Book Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway
Written by Ruth Ware

Harriet “Hal” Westaway is a 21 year old college dropout trying to make enough money to afford to pay for her apartment, pay off her loan shark and to eat. Hal took over her mom’s tarot reading booth on Brighton Beach. Hal’s mom (named Maggie) died three years ago after she was hit by a car in front of their apartment and the person left the scene.

Hal is really struggling financially and she sees no way out. One day she receives a letter from a lawyer named Mr. Treswick. In the letter Mr. Treswick tells Hal that her grandmother (Mrs. Westaway) recently passed away and left Hal some money so Hal should go there for the reading of the will. Hal believes that the letter was not meant for her but she decides to play along so that she can get a little money to help with her debt.

When the will is read, Mrs. Westaway’s grandchildren and maid are given money and the rest of the estate is given to Hal! Mrs. Westaway left nothing for her sons – Abel, Ezra and Harding. Abel is gay and his partner is Edward Ashby so Mrs. Westaway disowned him years ago and he was not surprised that he got nothing in the will.
Mrs. Westaway had a daughter named Maud (she’s also Ezra’s twin sister) who left years ago and no one knows where she is. It is important to note that Hal does not know who her father is.

Themes I saw:

Family shame – Mrs. Westaway locked Maggie up when she found out that she was pregnant. This was done in the hopes that Maggie would tell her who the baby’s father was. The pregnancy was the shame.

Friendship – Maggie and Maud are good friends and runaway together so that they can have a good life away from Mrs. Westaway.

Love – Maud loved her friend Maggie so later on when Maggie does not come back, Maud raises Maggie’s daughter as her own.
Mrs. Warren the housekeeper loved Ezra. She never told on him for the murder.
Mrs. Westaway loved her son Ezra and never turned him in.

Self-preservation – Hal found an opportunity to make some money by inheriting some money and she ran to take it. Ezra killed Maggie because she came back asking for money to raise his infant daughter. Ezra then kills Maud so she will not tell Hal that Ezra is her dad and that she suspects that Ezra killed her mom (Maggie). Ezra attempts to kill Hal because she was figuring out the truth and he kills Mrs. Warren because she knows most of the truth even though she (Mrs. Warren) would never have told anyone.

I think that Mrs. Westaway wanted to do the right thing by her daughter but still not hurt her most beloved son so she left all her money to Hal. Also, family secrets cause so much pain and they have to be addressed in order for healing to finally start – which is what ends up happening in this book.

All in all – I loved this book because in the end Ha’s situation is better than she started which I absolutely love!!!!

Book Review

Book Review: The Shape of Water

Book Review: The Shape of Water 

By Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus

It’s the 1960s and Elisa Esposito works as a night janitor at an aerospace research center in Baltimore. Elisa cannot speak, she can hear and uses sign language to communicate. Elisa has two friends – Zelda (her co-worker) and Giles (her neighbor). One day an amphibious man is brought in to be studied and dissected afterwards. Richard Strickland is the one who caught him. Elisa and the amphibious man fall in love and she will risk everything to set him free.

Below are some spoilers; you have been warned.

Here are the main themes I saw:

Friendship
Elisa’s friendship with both Zelda and Giles is tested when the two (Zelda and Giles) have to decide whether or not they will assist Elisa with helping her man escape.

Stuck
Elisa Esposito is stuck. She is a woman and her choices of work are very limited especially since she cannot talk. Elisa is stuck at a dead end job doing the same thing over and over.

Zelda Fuller is stuck. Zelda is a black woman who dreams of saving enough money to open her own cleaning company and attain a better life.

Giles is stuck. Giles is a gay man during a time in history where homosexuality is illegal and you could end up in jail. Giles was fired from his job due to his sexual preferences and he is trying to make a living for himself and he stuck with limited options.

Amphibious man is stuck. He is a wild God like being who is powerful, mysterious and stuck in a tank with no way out.

Richard Strickland is stuck. He is stuck under the thumb of his boss (General Hoyt) and he hopes that by seeing through the research being done on the amphibious man, that he can finally be free of his boss.

Dr. Hoffstetler is stuck. He is a researcher tasked with studying the amphibious man. Dr. Hoffstetler is stuck having to pass along secrets to his Soviet handler……….YES he is a reluctant spy.

Elaine Strickland is stuck. She is stuck in a marriage to Richard Strickland where she tries her best to be a “good wife” which means cooking for her husband, cleaning, ironing his clothes and taking care of their children. Eventually Elaine gets a secret job as a secretary and she works, takes care of the kids and comes back home in time to make dinner and take care of her man.

Love
Elisa falls in love with the Amphibious man and because of that love she follows through a daring plan to set him free. It turns out that the Amphibious man falls in love! I was worried that the love could have been one sided since Elisa is free and he is a prisoner. I knew that the Amphibious man loved Elisa when she gets shot and he immediately kills the person who hurt Elisa then he saves her life. I loved the part where the Amphibious man turns Elisa’s neck scars into gills, thus enabling Elisa to breath underwater just like him.

All in all – I loved the book!!!!

Movie Reviews

Movie Review: The Widow

 nbMovie Review: The Widow

8 episodes
Created and written by Harry Williams and Jack Williams
Directed by Sam Donovan and Olly Blackburn

Georgia Wells (main character, widow of Will) – Kate Beckinsale
Martin Benson (Georgia’s friend) – Charles Dane
Judith Gray (Georgia’s friend, Will’s boss) – Alex Kingston
General Azikiwe – Babs Olusanmokun
Ariel Helgason (blind guy) – Olafur Darri Olafsson
Emmanuel Kazadi (Georgia’s friend) – Jacky Ido
Pieter Bello – Bart Fouche
Adidja (child soldier) – Shalom Nyandiko
Molisho (Adidja’s friend and child soldier) – Likho Mango
Gaelle Kazadi (Emmanuel’s pregnant first wife) – Luiana Bonfim
Will Mason (Georgia’s husband) – Matthew Le Nevez
Sally Newell (Judith’s girlfriend) – Siobhan Finneran

Georgia’s husband (Will) died aboard a plan in Congo, Africa. Three years later, Georgia catches a glimpse of him on news footage. Armed with his picture and the hope that her husband is alive, Georgia goes to the Congo to find him.

As I watched the show I kept asking myself “how far would I go to find my loved one?” And at the end of it all – my answer is until I find my person.
Georgia faces death threats, a car bombing, rape attempt, murder attempts, trapesing through the jungle which is full of armed militia, military, lots of betrayal and a huge helping of corruption. The truths Georgia uncovers put her life in danger and he must decide what to do next. The truth will hurt but I’m with Georgia, I would rather know the truth then live with never knowing. And in the end, Georgia finds her new family.
I loved that they spoke Swahili and French in the show. I was happy to hear my language (Swahili); it was a nice surprise.

Themes throughout the show that I saw:

Love
Georgia loves her husband and that love motivates her to try and find him.

Peiter loves his daughter and that motivates him to do dangerous and illegal things to provide for her.

Judith loves Sally Newell and so she willingly gives Sally the money she inherited from her mother to help with Sally’s business.

Adidja’s love for her friend Molisho leads her to look away and let him escape.

Fear
Will feared coming out and so he just stayed “disappeared”.

Ariel Helgason was too scared to tell the truth because he is the only survivor and so he disappears and changes his identity.

Greed
Pieter tries to edge out the military from taking most of his profits so that he can increase his share of the money.

Will joins the smuggling because he wants to make lots of money.

When Judith loses love, she decides to get all the money and joins the smuggling ring with Pieter and General Azikiwe.

Betrayal
Will betrayed Georgia.
Sally betrayed Judith.
Judith betrayed Will.
Peiter betrayed Georgia and Emmanuel.

Loss of innocence
Adidja and her friend Molisho are children who were taken from their families and forced to become child soldiers for the Mai-Mai militia.

Pieter forces Adidja to shoot someone so that he can keep her secret (which is she let her friend Molisho escape). Adidja is the age of Pieter’s daughter but instead of seeing Adidja as a little girl who could be his daughter and this should not be happening to her; Pieter makes her kill someone.

Survival
Adidja survives her time as a child soldier, she is clever, brave and intelligent.

Georgia survives the loss of her husband and goes searching for him.

If we look out for each other than good has a chance.

All in all, I loved The Widow!

A female main character, no naked women for no reason, fighting for love and not falling apart after discovering the truth. Women = survivors
And after you survive then you can create a new family and LIVE!!!!