Children of the River Book Review

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Review:

Children of the River is another of my favorite YA romance novels. It tells the story of a Cambodian refugee girl named Sundara who escapes from the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge with her aunt and uncle and flees to America. I’m ashamed to say that before reading it for the first time around age 14 or 15, I knew almost nothing about Cambodia, and nothing at all about Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, who were responsible for the death of up to 2 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979, so it was a very eye-opening book for me. In addition to information about the Cambodian genocide, the novel also has many interesting details about Cambodian customs and traditions, as well as a nuanced depiction of the struggle many immigrants face between preserving their own unique cultures and blending in with mainstream American society.

It’s also a very sweet romance. Four years after her escape from Cambodia, Sundara falls in love with an American boy named Jonathan, which creates new complications in her life, as Cambodian culture practices arranged marriage and good Cambodian girls like Sundara are not supposed to go on dates. (Especially not with non-Cambodian boys.) Sundara and Jonathan are both changed by their relationship, and the book has a very satisfying conclusion.

My rating:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

The Hundred-Foot Journey Movie Review

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Review:

This film doesn’t have a lot of depth or originality, but it’s a charming, feel-good story about an Indian family who opens a restaurant in rural France and it’s helped substantially by good performances, particularly by Helen Mirren, in a role reminiscent of her Oscar-nominated performance as Mrs. Wilson in Gosford Park, and veteran Indian actor Om Puri. The cinematography is also top-notch, with many beautiful shots of the French countryside and mouth-watering shots of various dishes and ingredients, French and Indian alike. Don’t watch this movie if you’re hungry!

My rating:3 Stars (3 / 5)

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Legally Blonde Movie Review

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Review:

A tremendously fun comedy about not being deceived by appearances. Pretty, bubbly Elle Woods is a walking blonde joke… until her college sweetheart breaks up with her and she decides to win him back by following him to Harvard Law School.

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

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Enchanted Movie Review

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Review:

Disney isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself! Enchanted is a charming and fun send-up of many of Disney’s stock tropes and cliches. Amy Adams is adorable as Giselle and Susan Sarandon looks like she’s having the time of her life as the wicked stepmother. I also loved James Marsden as the well meaning but hopelessly oblivious Prince Edward. My only question is why they hired a famous Broadway star like Idina Menzel and then never had her sing!

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

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Austenland Book Review

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Review:

I didn’t much like the movie based on this book, but I decided to give the book a chance because I almost always like a book better than its movie. Austenland proved no exception. I still felt the characterization was shallow and overly convenient, but the book made better use of the fun premise and the secondary characters were no longer reduced to ridiculous caricatures, which was a huge relief and made the whole thing make much more sense. 

My rating:3 Stars (3 / 5)

 

Lost in Austen

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Review:

A fun and entertaining, though sometimes contrived, miniseries about a modern Austen fan who accidentally switches places with Elizabeth Bennet, and soon finds that the story she knows and loves isn’t behaving exactly as it’s supposed to. Wondering how everything will manage to get straightened up will keep Austen fans like me glued to their seats, and even my husband (a much more casual fan) enjoyed it a lot.

My rating:3 Stars (3 / 5)

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Bride and Prejudice

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Review: 

Not my favorite Austen update, but fun and enjoyable, with some fantastic music and dance numbers, as you’d expect from a Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice.

My rating: 3 Stars (3 / 5)

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My Cousin Vinny Movie Review

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Review:

You know how some people can recite The Princess Bride backwards and forwards? That’s what this movie is like for my family. My Cousin Vinny combines courtroom drama with culture clash, great performances, and one of the funniest scripts ever written.

My rating5 Stars (5 / 5)

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