But in the last week, I read 1 Dead in Attic and saw Slumdog Millionaire and I really enjoyed both a lot. They're feeding all kinds of things I realize, now, that I might have been really hungry for.
1 Dead in Attic is a collection of articles by Chris Rose of the Times-Picayune. They were written in the aftermath of Katrina, he and his family got out safe, and his kids and wife lived with his parents on the East Coast while he went back to report. The stories are sharply written, dense with descriptions, and graphic with his emotions at seeing his city, his place destroyed so completely. He blames no one, though his rage at the government, the governor, and others is palpable over how things are done afterward. But he also talks about all the things that folks can do, about keeping the spirit of the place, and his love for New Orleans is solid.
It is ugly in many ways, but it only serves as the backdrop to some astonishing amazing stuff too. People pulling together and helping in the oddest of times. But it also comes face-to-face with the reality of the depths of the trauma everyone that stayed went through the whole mess built up. He talks about really terrible things in matter-of-fact tones, and then marvels at how crazy it must seem to be so calm about some of the things he just had to deal with.
It's solid, heart-rending, and also uplifting in so many ways. I cried a lot, but it was all in good ways, and when I go back this spring it will be with new eyes and more determination.
Slumdog Millionaire is about a boy that grew up in the slums of Bombay going on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire". It's about all the prejudice he faces, and all the memories that go through his mind with each of the questions. It's a brutal, clear look at slum life and what it means to be from the Muslim slums even in modern day India. It was far more violent than I expected, but within the context of their lives. I almost think the overhead view of just how HUGE the slum was shocked me nearly as much as everything else. All the violence was sharply focused on how each incident shaped the character of the protagonist and those closest to him.
Some of it was just downright funny. Most of it was achingly poignant. I thought it was really, really good, and resolved in a way I found pleasing. Amusingly enough, it ended with a Ballywood style dance number that I just loved. *laughs* It's up for all kinds of awards, and I would highly recommend it. Just... be prepared.