Posted in Book, Remember me

Reality of a Dream

“And do you really live with the thought that when you die, you die, and nothing remains?”

“Yes,” I said.

___Albert Camus. The Stranger__

I should have a formal review for The Stranger, but there is so much I want to say that it is hard for me to follow the review format. However, I feel really guilt because more than any fiction, The Stranger, deserves better these random lines. My mood right now is just not suitable for any strict and format writing right now so bear with me.

The Stranger tells a story of a man, who lives in his own world, separates from the others. He possesses no specific emotions. Love, hatred, grief, what do those feelings really mean anyway? What is wrong to be calm in your mother’s funeral? Does that mean you don’t love her? And even if that is the truth then so what? Can you jude someone from your first impression and persistent keep your negative feeling instead of actually taking time to understand the person?

The Stranger brings up many sensitive and challenging topics such as individual vs society, open- minded approach, and moral standard. Do you always have an urge to fit in with people around you?  Do you always feel embarrass when you say something strange or different from normal people? Do you freak out when your logic is not the same as everyone else? Meursault does not bother by these feelings. He can be so indifferent with this world, and live just the way he likes. Yes, sometimes, it confuses him because he does not any specific feeling. He does not cry at his mother’s funeral. He does not understand what is difference it will make if he marry or not marry to her girlfriend. And by the way, he is also not so certain that he loves her or not.

Some people views him as an anti- hero, and some believes he is both. Well for me, Meursault is neither. He is just a victim from what I cannot determine. Little bit from himself, little bit from the society. The Stranger portrays him as a person who acts without emotion whereas the society’s behavior always under the influence of emotions.  I hate it. I hate to see our world so ugly and narrow that it cannot give space for human to grow and express himself/ herself. I always dreams to the day that we can throw away our masks and be ourselves, in a way be truthful about we think, be brave to do what we want. And yet, the society looks at Meursault as a threat that he has to be destroyed by any cost.  Is his unfortunate death is the reality of my dream? 

Posted in Book

Review Kira-kira – Cynthia Kadohata

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 Tôi đã dành Lấp Lánh của Cynthia Kadohata một sự ưu ái và kính trọng đặc biệt, có lẽ vì cuốn sách cùng tựa với cuốn Lấp lánh của Ekuni Kaori. “Kira Kira” đã trởi thành từ tiếng Nhật yêu thích của tôi. Khi dùng tiếng Việt, thay vì chỉ gọi là “lấp lánh,” tôi lại gọi là lấp la lấp lánh, cứ như một đứa trẻ mới tập nói vậy. Nhưng tôi thích thế, kira kira rất quan trọng đối với tôi cũng như với hai chị em Lynn và Katie.

Lấp lánh của Kadohata nói về một gia đình Nhật đang sống ở Iowa phải di chuyển về Georgia. Hằng ngày ba mẹ đi làm, Lynn và Katie dành thời gian với nhau có khi là nằm trên con đường trống gần nhà, có khi là chơi với lũ nhỏ trong xóm, có khi nằm dài trên bãi cỏ nguyện cầu với các vì sao. Đôi chút quá khứ, đôi chút hiện tại, đôi chút cảm xúc của nhân vật chính, câu chuyện trôi nhẹ nhàng lấp la lấp lánh.

Dù câu chuyện này dành cho trẻ em, tôi vẫn nghĩ cuốn sách này phù hợp cho tất cả mọi người. Ẩn bên trong thế giới lấp lánh này, là những sợi tóc bạc của mẹ, là sự vắng mặt của cha. Đằng sau những lời khen là giọt nước mắt thầm lặng. Đằng sau những nụ cười là sự tuyệt vọng vô vàn. Liệu thế giới này có thật sự lấp lánh?

Lấp lánh tràn ngập những nỗi niềm trắc trở, những lầm lạc, những day dứt “nếu như… thì”, nhưng Lấp lánh cũng ẩn chứa những ý chí ngoan cường, bền bỉ chống trọi lại dòng đời. Những con người dám nhìn thẳng vào thực tế, chấp nhận và vươn lên. Họ không phải là những thiên tài bậc nhất chói loà. Họ có thể là hạt cát lẫn trong dòng sa mạc nhưng lại làm cho mọi người phải dừng chân, ngỡ ngàng ngắm nhìn họ lấp lánh dưới ánh nắng chan hoà.

Posted in Book

Review Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka

The first time I read Metamorphosis, Gregor’s family enraged me. In addition to all the reviews I read online, I concluded their behaviors were unacceptable and Gregor did not deserve to die. On the second time I realized that there was a part of Gergor’s fault: if he had not been so enthusiastic about helping his family out of debt as well as let them take advantage of him, everything would have been different. The third time which also the last time I was stunned: this story did not talk about Gregor; it was about everyone which including me!

Before I realized what happened I had drawn a bug with numerous legs in my history book and I dedicated a whole page to draw a big bug but this time the bug had a circle head, black triangle wings and had a sticky liquid attached to its legs in my English class. I drew bugs everywhere I could as if it was in my subconscious. I found it interesting because Gregor’s transforming into the bug did not impress me. At first, I was under the impression that he really hated his job, which according to him was “torment, bad meals, irregular hours, devil” not mentioned about his bad relationship with his boss. However, he did not quit because he needed to pay off his family’s debt. I had to take a short break there because it brought back an old memory: when I was ten or twelve, my family was struggling at that time: my father was still a student and my mother had to do various works to keep us alive; one day, I told to my mother: “When I grow up, I will pay all of your debt and you will not need to work anymore,” my mom said nothing but cried. I was not sure at that moment I had fully understand what I had said or not, so now I asked myself if I would go that far to pay my family debt (I still chose to take care of it). Would I able to do it for five or six years like Gregor? Would my image about my family change forever?

Then it occurred to me about his statement: “It was no dream.” So it meant for some reasons he dreamt he became a bug? Those “trouble dreams” was just simply his dreams or his wishes? Or put in other words at least once in his lifetime, he WANTED to be a bug. Personally, I saw it understandable. Sometimes when I depressed I climbed on the tree, hid myself under the leaves. We tended to deny or give up our identities once a while: shut ourselves in our rooms, wanted to be somebody else, hated ourselves or pretended to be animals. Next question was why he acted like that. Did it relevant to why he locked all his doors and stayed in his room for eight days? “He felt that he was once more drawn into the circle of humanity,” that was an interesting statement. Alienation could cause by people around you or by yourself. Even we did not aware of the fact that to avoid feeling hurt we step back to our worlds where we felt safe and comfortable. For example, a new kid could not make friends in his school then he interpreted that he was a loner type so he stopped put any effort to make friends. He isolated himself and the same thing happened to Gregor. From a very beginning before Gregor turned into a bug, I doubted his family had ever understood him or given a try to do that and Gregor made it more difficult by locking the doors and shut himself in the room for eight days in roll.

Like I said from beginning, Gregor had made a hug mistake in here. When his father’s business collapsed, he threw himself to work night and day to make money and that was when everything went wrong. He made them believe that they could survive just by living off him and he let them do and actually felt good about it. It was not wrong that he wanted “to make his family forget as quickly as possible this commercial disaster,” but they had to work out the problem together as a family, which was what happen after he became a bug. Deep down inside Gregor craved for attention, recognition for his sacrifice, which gone long time ago; now, it was his responsibility to take care of it.

First, I hate his father the most. His harsh treatment toward Gregor was unbelievable. What kind of father let his child work while he enjoyed his breakfast stretched from hours to hours? Chasing him to room, injuring him by throwing apple and most important thing was he had never told Gregor he still had money left after bankrupt. I wondered cut of their luxury lives plus the money his father had and the money Gregor had made, Gregor maybe just have one or two years to go. On the second thought, the most terrible one was not his father but his sister. I got the feeling Gregor always had a very special place in his heart for her. His plan sending her to conservatory to have a proper learning in violin, his gratefulness when she set a chair near a window, his concern about his frighten appearance and the his love for her violin sound. And paying back to Gregor’s love, she announced: “It’s got to go.” In front of her eyes right now Gregor was nothing but a “monstrous creature,” “it” that what she called. And those words broke Gregor’s heart into pieces. He would not care if that was from his father but when his beloved sister refused to stay by his side, he had nothing left. Empty.

The cause of Gregor’s death was still debating. From my view, it was a little bit of everything. Started with depressing cause by alienation from his family, the depression caused malnutrition and made his mind unstable, which was illness and might be the stress from his job was one of the factor. He broke his heart thank to his sister and chose to suicide by malnutrition. For what reason, we knew that he did not want to die “involuntary” and in fact I believed he did not have to. He just could leave the house and joined the bug community (if he actually a bug). But more I thought about it, I felt it was an only choice. I did not know his exactly age but I made a guess at less twenty-nine or more because he once joint military, went college and had worked for four or five years. Anyways, you lived in a family that you took care of with love and hoped one day they would love you back as much as you love them but it did not happen. In fact, now you were a burden of a family (which not true at all in Gregor’s case) and they denied your existence completely. How could you carry on living? Twenty – nine years were a long time.

I believed we have a little Gregor in each of us. Therefore like I said this story was not about Gregor only, it could be a story of anyone who was alienated by his or her own family or suffered a severe illness, which characterized by image of the hospital. The metamorphosis were all about changing and to make a significant change, you need to have a sacrifice. Even though Gregor’s family did not remember him, I would and I believed everyone had read this book would.

P/s: This is the first time I have read Franz Kafka’s story, I was really impressed. Totally recommended.

Point: 9/10