November 8, 2012

Young Adult; The Chocolate Money

I wish I could use the same verb for watching a movie as for reading a book, because what I want to say is that recently I verbed a movie and a book that both struck me in some of the same ways. Both shocked me at some parts, and some awful things happen in both, and I wouldn't know whether to recommend either one---but on the other hand they've both stuck with me.

(photo from Amazon.com)

The movie was Young Adult (Netflix link). Parts of it seemed SO GOOD, and I thought Charlize Theron did such a good job, and I got a crush on Patton Oswalt, and I approved of the basic messages of the movie. And it was refreshing to the point of riveting to see trichotillomania shown all casual-like (she's scalp and I'm eyebrows/eyelashes, but that's like saying someone smokes a different brand of cigarettes).

But there are some agonizing scenes where someone ruins a party or says something very very inappropriate/awkward/mean. And the character sketches are good and well-accomplished but depressing. But in the end I was glad I'd seen it, and there were quite a few funny moments. I don't know. I'm not really recommending it, but I'm bringing it to your attention in case it looks good to you.

(photo from Amazon.com)

The book was The Chocolate Money, by Ashley Prentice Norton. Dear god. This is the kind of book where I kept looking at the author's photo thinking two things: (1) This book is heavily based on her actual experiences, I'm sure of it; (2) She is just self-aware enough to realize she's been damaged by these experiences, but not self-aware enough to realize just how badly. Also, the author photo has her ostentatiously wearing ripped jeans with heavy jewels, like "Look how quirky!" It turns out she's a Rockefeller heiress, and her mother isn't speaking to her after reading the book.

I kept thinking I was going to stop reading, because I found it so many parts gross and disturbing, and because so many people were doing so many devasting-emotional-impact things to each other, and I was afraid those parts would linger with me, and I think some of them will. But the thing is, I also thought it was good. I didn't ever think "She only got this book deal because of who she is"; I thought, "Whoa. Ouch. Ick. Oh, dear." It reminded me a little of Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld---but it was as if Ashley Prentice Norton said to Curtis Sittenfeld, "Oh, you think YOU depressingly and painfully exposed the disgusting underbelly of the rich and privileged? Nice try, OUTSIDER." Again, I'm not really recommending it---more like exclaiming "dear god!" in front of you and, when you say "What?," telling you why I exclaimed.

14 comments:

Elizabelle said...

I had similar feelings about Young Adult. Great performances, definitely. And I loved the name of the all-moms band. :)

Peyton said...

Use "experienced." You experienced two forms of media that have stuck with you.

el-e-e said...

Oooh. That book sounds awful/good in a way that makes me want to investigate it! Thx for the info!

Lawyerish said...

I loved "Young Adult," even though parts of it made me cringe so hard I almost disappeared.

You sold me on the book by saying it's like Prep, which is one of my favorite books ever. Putting it on my to-read list now!

Alice said...

Oh man, I now really want/don't want to read that book! I thought Prep was really really good, but I had actual NIGHTMARES for a few weeks after reading it (due to having gone to, basically, That School). I'll put it on my to-read list and mull.

Erin said...

I too was impressed with the performances in young Adult, but spent much of the movie cringing. If Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt hadn't been so good, I may not have finished it, it was that uncomfortable.

I loved Prep, so I will definitely check out The Chocolate Money. Thanks for the recommendation!

Cayt said...

The verb might be 'consume', as in 'I consumed two pieces of media which had a similar effect upon me'. Ugh that's awkward. Never mind.

I loved Young Adult. I think I blogged about it, actually, there's just so much second hand embarrassment and looking the other way and just wanting somebody to use their words and tell her that she needs some help and to leave and to stop what she's doing. And nobody will do it because it takes so much less of everything - effort, responsibility, face - to just let her continue to implode. I think Diablo Cody is brilliant. Have you seen Jennifer's Body? It's a comedy-horror film but not very horror-ish and it examines female-female friendship in a way that I found pretty insightful.

Surely said...

Oh, wistful sigh, I love Love LOVE Patton Oswalt. You must follow him on the twitter, very funny & clever.

I do want to see Young Adult and now I know that I might be watching through my fingers during the cringey parts.

Gigi said...

I must live under a rock because I've not heard of any of these books/movies....yup, it's official I live under a rock.

Putting all these on my to see/read lists. I have a feeling they will stay with me too.

Lindsay said...

I swear I get all my book recs from you, Princess Nebraska and Holly Would if She Could. :) The Chocolate Money was out at my library so I went for Prep. Thanks for the reviews.

Kerry said...

I felt the exact same way about the movie!

Bibliomama said...

The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Val said...

Oh, man - I have a love/hate relationship w/Charlize Theron - I'll swear I'll never watch anything featuring her again, then she does a nice turn for instance in Prometheus & also apparently in Young Adult...
Currently I am trying to read David Foster Wallace: starting w/"Brief Interviews w/Hideous Men" (check out the film on Netflix; that's what lured me back to the literature) and segueing into Infinite Jest...

Anonymous said...

i would put "consumed" as the magical verb which would apply to both books and movies, as i somehow always feel like i'm consuming them ;)