Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

People don't understand that everything is connected. Everything we do, everything we say, no matter how insignificant or flippant, it can effect someone to the point that their life is altered.

In Jay Asher's novel "13 Reasons Why," Clay Jensen receives a box of tapes recorded by his crush, Hannah Baker, who had recently killed herself. On the tapes, she recounts exactly what happened leading up to her suicide, and pin pointing certain people and events that caused her to think that her life wasn't worth living anymore.

Her design for the tapes was that they were supposed to go, in order, to the people mentioned on the tapes. Everyone who got them had a hand in her decision. Clay, a decent enough chap, had no idea why he would be included on the list. He could have loved Hannah. He certainly had a crush, and they shared a nice kiss. Why would he be included on the list? That's for the reader to find out, because I'm not going to tell what happens.

That being said, I read this book extremely quickly. I was dying to find out what happened. How was Clay involved? Was it all a ruse? Was Hannah really dead? She seemed like such a lively, lovely person that you'd never imagine what kind of inner turmoil was happening. She wasn't a sharer. She was more of a "this is my life, and it's as good as it's gonna get"-type girl, I felt.

The people that she mentioned on the tapes probably had no idea the impact that their actions could have. She'd been labeled a tramp, among other things, because she'd accidentally, or inadvertently insulted someone. Rumors hurt. Maybe if she hadn't been bombarded with the rumors by so many people, she would have moved past it. Maybe there was something bigger at work. Whatever the case, Clay had some answered questions, but I had too many unanswered questions for my liking.

Example, I would have loved to have found out how the few people who received the tapes after Clay reacted. Would it have changed them? Would they have realized what they'd done? Sadly, it's difficult to say, but this was definitely a good read.

Written by Rebekah Martin, author of Sugar and Spies

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 6, 2012

One Night at the Opera

So, anyone who knows me knows that I love music. I have since I was a kid, having grown up with a mother who sang to me all the time (and not necessarily silly "kiddy" songs, either. When I'm 64 was a very prominent song, as was You're Sixteen by Ringo Starr, though she changed the words)., and a father who played piano and sang. We have a player piano, and TONS of piano rolls.

When you're three years old and the piano plays itself, you can easily imagine that the world will always be magic.
When I got to high school, I actually started singing opera music with choir, and for two years, my choir got to sing with several other area schools, the Omaha Symphony, and Opera Omaha. Those two performances were the highlight of my high school music experience.

In college, when I started voice lessons, I was told that  I might have a future in opera by my voice teacher, the late Harry Morrison (Happy Birthday, Harry!), and I honestly believed that after five years of college, studying to be a writer, I could continue to go back to school at Mizzou to be a singer. I was one math class shy of being admitted (lame!).



My voice is a bit more musical theater now, but that's okay. I still really enjoy opera. I've been seeing at least one show a season at Opera Omaha since I came back from Columbia. After I'd been home about two months, my best friend, Sam, got us tickets to a Broadway review (two rows from the front), the following fall, I went to Opera for the Cure with my mom (a four year breast cancer survivor!) and my aunt, the next year, my aunt and I went to Madama Butterfly, which also featured my former voice teacher, Shelby VanNordstrand (she was also in the Broadway Review, but I didn't know her yet). Last night, my aunt and I went to see La Traviata

Pretty decent seats, if I do say so, myself.
This production starred Inna Dukach as doomed heroine, Violetta Valery. Her voice reminded me of Anna Netrebko's Violetta in her performance of La Traviata. Very beautiful.

Joshua Kohl played her lover, Alfredo, and he honestly reminded me of Rupert Friend in The Young Victoria. He has a beautiful voice, but his performance was almost spot on with the meekness that Friend had when he first met Victoria.

The rest of the performance was wonderful. It was a fun party in Act 1, what looked like a nice life end for the ill Violetta in Act 2.1, another party, not as much fun in Act 2.2, and a freaky, trippy death in Act 3 (What do you expect from an opera? A happy ending? ~Bugs Bunny).

It was a lovely evening, and I'm glad I have someone to go to shows with. My aunt and I have a tentative date to see The Magic Flute in February! It will be my third time seeing it, and I don't think any performance can top the Santa Fe Opera performance back in 2010 (There was heat lightning in the distance and they have a quasi-outdoor theater while the Queen of the Night sang her Aria. Pretty epic).

The Lobby of the Santa Fe Opera House
It was nice to get away and spend an evening in the theater. And it was really packed. It always surprises me how many people go to the opera, since there are so many cliches about it. And I always feel I have to drag people with me. The first time I saw The Magic Flute at Mizzou, I went by myself.

I don't think people understand how taxing opera music is on the performers. It's exhausting, even when done right.