Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Confessions of a Teenage Baboon

Paul Zindel has written some of the most heartbreaking, funny and personal YA books of all time. My absolute favorite is Confessions of a Teenage Baboon.
Zindel also retold this story in the format of a play titled Amulets Against The Dragon Forces. The play ends on a slightly different note than the novel (won't give it away here). I think Confessions is Zindel's most personal book. It's definitely one that I've reread several times.

In the play, an important character's name is altered from Lloyd to Floyd. Also, strangely, a character with this same name appears in Paul Zindel's only attempt at writing a novel strictly for an adult audience When A Darkness Falls. I believe that book was written when Zindel moved to Hollywood and it's really a lot different from his other books. I can't begin to explain how much I love Zindel, but I would not recommend this adult book. It brings a seriously disturbing light to this character not seen in his novel or play. It seems that Zindel was battling with these dark demons his whole life. The monster books he wrote near the end of his career such as Loch or Rats better channel this energy. Amulets Against the Dragon Forces is not nearly as well known as his Pulitzer Prize winning play The Effect of Gamma-Rays on Man In the Moon Marigolds. Personally, I think it's a better play and would love to see it performed some day. It's the only one of Zindel's plays that truly captures the feel of his YA books.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The May - September romance

I am fond of this genre of movie...the romance movie where a young girl falls in love with an older guy. Probably the best example of this is the made-for-tv movie Sooner or Later by Bruce and Carol Hart. Bruce wrote the music as well (also known for composing the Sesame Street theme song). The cool thing about this movie is that Bruce and Car0l also wrote novels, 2 of which are sequels to the film. Bruce and Carol also worked on the short lived TV Show Hot Hero Sandwich (sort of like The Electric Company , but for teenagers).

Then, there is the May-September romance, where a young girl falls in love with an older, I mean really OLDER man. The best examples of this that I can think of are Circle of Two with Tatum O'Neal and Richard Burton (directed by Jules Dassin) and Breezy with Kay Lenz and William Holden (directed by Clint Eastwood).

Surprisingly enough, all of these movies are readily available on DVD.

There are also two episodes of Little House on the Prairie that deal with a romance between an older man and younger girl.  The first is an episode from Season One with Dr. Baker.  The second, is an episode I much prefer from season Nine, titled "Love".  It guest star Jill Schoelen, a really pretty girl with a voice that I love.  Her character is an old friend of Laura's and she is blind.  Mr. Edwards (Victor French) becomes friendly with her and they fall in love.  Mr. Edwards feels guilty about his feelings.  When the girl gets her vision back, she still has feelings for Mr. Edwards but he decides against pursuing her.    This is probably my second favorite episode of this program after the very excellent (and disturbing) episode entitled SYLVIA from season 7.