Saturday, 25 November 2017

"The Big Sick" and "Lab Girl"

I haven't blogged for awhile, but I wanted to share a book and a movie that I've recently enjoyed. When you find something good, you want to share.

The first is The big sick (that's how it was capitalized on the DVD cover), subtitle An Awkward True Story. I was under the false impression that it was a Netflix television series, so I sat down to watch one episode with breakfast this morning. After an hour, I discovered it was a movie, and I watched the whole thing instead of cleaning my house. It's the true-life story of taxi driver, part-time stand-up comic Kumail Nanjiani, who falls in love with a "white girl" even though his family is from Pakistan. This is a big deal because he lies to all of his loved ones about it - his family, who invites a parade of eligible young Pakistani women to their weekly family dinners in hope of arranging a marriage for Kumail - and to Emily, the young woman he's falling in love with. I've seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding and am familiar with the "I can't fall in love with you because you're not the same ethnic background as I am" stories, but hey, it's still true. The twist to the story is that Emily finds out he hasn't told his family about her, breaks up with Kumail, and then becomes deathly ill and is put into a medically-induced coma. Kumail meets her parents for the first time at the hospital, and they're not feeling very friendly toward him. The characters are realistic, touching, and funny, the romance is bumpy, and we're given a peek into the difficult journey of becoming a successful stand-up comic. There's great casting in the movie, including the quirky pairing of Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as Emily's parents. Just so you know, there's a liberal sprinkling of the "f" word in the dialogue, so if that still offends you, skip it. Otherwise, I recommend you check out The big sick.

My second find, also from the library, is Lab Girl. I haven't read anything like it before. It's written by American geochemist and geobiologist Hope Jahren, who grew up around her father's university science lab. The story is a combination of how she becomes a university scientist, a wife, and a mom, the difficulty of finding funding for non-commercial scientific research in the States (I'm sure this translates to many countries), and the science of how plants grow, particularly trees. Do you like trees? Do you know anything about them? Well, they're fascinating, and you'll learn something while being entertained. It's also the story of Hope's struggle with mental illness. Ever been pregnant? Did you have morning sickness, swollen ankles, back ache? What would it be like if you had to go off your meds until the third trimester because the medication could hurt the baby? Let me tell you, your pregnancy problems fade in comparison. I really liked Hope and the people who populate her story, and couldn't help reading sections aloud to my patient husband, who enjoyed Hope's turn of phrase. The lady writes well. So, if you enjoy The Big Bang Theory and Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project, I think you'll like Lab Girl.

Bye for now!

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