Posts Tagged ‘reunion’

It’s been a long while since I read a book by Emily Barr, and this particular book has, according to my LibraryThing profile, been sitting on my shelf since 2007!! (At LEAST, since 2007 is when I made my LT profile in the first place).

Anyhow, I have been doing less reading lately, largely because I have discovered the joys of cross-stitching and have become slightly addicted. Nonetheless, I wanted to get back into reading and a good psychological thriller is usually a great way to get out of a reading slump. I mean, probably – this is the first time I’ve really been in a reading slump since I can remember.

So the plot – Susie, a successful artist, lives in France with her gorgeous boyfriend Roman. She has a great career, a beautiful house – and a BIG secret, which has haunted her since her schooldays. On an impulse she decides to host a reunion weekend with her old schoolfriends, Amanda, Izzy and Tamsin. None of them have seen each other since they left school and it becomes clear that it is because of the aforementioned secret which Susie, Amanda and Izzy share, and which is something to do with their shared guilt over an event years earlier involving Tamsin.

Typically the weekend doesn’t go as expected. It’s not long before tensions are running very high, relationships are fracturing and while Susie wants to come clean to Tamsin about the event that ruined Tamsin’s world years earlier, Amanda and Izzy think it’s a bad idea (although for different reasons; Amanda is being selfish while Izzy feels that no good can come from revealing the truth after all this time).

There is also a side plot about a man who has commissioned some paintings from Susie and his motives. To be honest, I’m not sure why this was in the book or what it added to the story other than some unnecessary padding.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and found it to be an undemanding read. There were two timelines – the present day, and the flashbacks to the four friends’ schooldays, which gradually led up to the secret at the heart of the story.

My favorite character was Izzy and I also liked Amanda’s long suffering husband Patrick. My least favorite character was, without doubt, Amanda. I think we were supposed to feel sorry for her as the burden of guilt she had carried for so many years had made her bitter and unpleasant. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to feel this, given that in the flashback chapters we also saw how Amanda was before the big event and she wasn’t very nice then either.

However, I have one issue with this book and that was the ending. Not that it was awful; it was just – abrupt. It seemed to end very quickly as though the author had run out of time and just wrote the last page in a hurry. I genuinely think there was need for at least another chapter or so to explore a few threads more deeply.

Overall though, an absorbing read, and one which pulled me out of my reading slump and made me look forward to starting another book.

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A television network decides to reunite the three female stars of a 60s movie, for a special programme.  However, problems arise almost immediately due to the fact that the three women can’t stand the sight of each other.  When they do all agree to the reunion, things certainly don’t get any easier….

Starring Debbie Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine and Joan Collins as respectively, Piper Grayson, Kate Westbourne and Addie Holden, this film is a hoot.  The three actresses send themselves up beautifully, and I hope that they had as much fun making this film as I did watching it!  Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor also puts in an appearance as Beryl Mason, agent for all three women, but her role is very small, which is something of a shame, as she seemed to be sending herself up as much as the others.

The first scene where Beryl and Piper meet is very funny in itself, but even funnier if you know the real life background of these two actresses.  There was a huge scandal in the 1950s, when Reynolds’ husband Eddie Fisher, ran off with her friend Liz Taylor, who subsequently married him.  This film is in fact the first time that the two women have appeared on screen together since then.  And in the scene, Beryl apologises to Piper for running off with Piper’s husband ‘Freddie Hunter’ (which was CLEARLY a reference to Eddie Fisher!)  Piper soothes Beryl and says that she forgave her years earlier, before the two women pull ‘Freddie’ to pieces!

However, the rest of the film also has several delights.  The catfights between the women are so funny, and Jonathan Silverman, as Kate’s adopted son, who is supposed to be directing the whole reunion, has a rare old time trying to keep things together without one or other of them storming off.  Add to the mix a prison escapee, and a big secret in Kate’s past, and the stage is set for lots of laughter.

(Bit of trivia: This film was co-written and co-produced by Carrie Fisher, who is the real-life daughter of Debbie Reynolds, the former step-daughter of Elizabeth Taylor, and who played the daughter of a character played by Shirley MacLaine in Postcards from the Edge.)

Admittedly a lot of the enjoyment in this film is the sheer novelty value of seeing four legends on screen at the same time, but it is actually a very clever and funny film in its own right.  Definitely one to watch if you get chance.

Year of release: 2001

Director: Matthew Diamond

Producers: Ilene Amy Berg, Carrie Fisher, Laurence Mark, Elaine Pope, Lewis Abel, John D. McNamara, Deborah Edell Underwood, Sally Young

Writers: Carrie Fisher, Elaine Pope

Main cast: Shirley MacLaine, Debbie Reynolds, Joan Collins, Elizabeth Taylor, Jonathan Silverman, Nestor Carbonell

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