Tag Archives: film/movie/book/tv

Daring Greatly: review of Brené Brown’s latest book

Daring Greatly by Brené BrownVulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me and the first thing I look for in you.
— Chapter 4: The Vulnerability Armory

Such is the crux about being authentic, of being in relationship, of being vulnerable of being human.

Brené Brown, PhD, she of the famed TedXHouston talk, has a rare talent of being able to take extensive research and make it accessible, applicable and interesting to academics and non-academics alike. The title of her newest book comes from a speech made by Theodore Roosevelt, a sentiment my dad shared with my sisters and me while we were growing up.

It’s not the critic who counts…the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…if he fails at least he fails while daring greatly.

Or, in my dad’s words, “Don’t listen to (or be) the critic. It takes nothing to criticize; it takes a something to create.”

I’ve pulled some quotes from Daring Greatly that resonate well for me:

  • On shame: Shame derives its power from being unspeakable. This is exactly why I advocate for openness in adoption. No secrets and no shame. Let’s keep things above board and in the open where mold and rot don’t grow.
  • On courage: Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen. Brené Brown’s vulnerability prayer is a salve for me when I start to angst about what people will think and say when they read MY book.
  • On ownership: If I own the story I get to write the ending. Great advice for a recovering victim. It makes me the playwright of my life rather than merely an actor.
  • On joy: Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary. Yes! This is why I host Perfect Moment Mondays (coming up next week — why don’t you join in? If ever there were an occasion for a shameless plug, this is it!).
  • On worthiness: Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else. This pearl from a team of 8th graders interviewed by Brené Brown.

If you are a parent, a manager or supervisor, a blogger a teacher or a leader, if you are looking for deeper meaning in your life or if you’re dealing with the shadow of shame, I recommend you read this book. Take your time with it, though. The revelations Brené Brown shares in easy, conversational style are both simple enough to make you say, YES! but also deep enough that you’ll want to give them time to percolate through your mind and spirit.

In what area of your life would you next like to dare greatly?

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review and my opinions are my own.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green: entertaining for kids, adoptive families & infertile people?

Does anyone else remember gathering around the television on Sunday evenings for the Wonderful World of Disney? For decades, Disney issued only 3-6 films a year, so seeing one of its shows was a special event. Production started ramping up in 1994, when Disney premiered 9 new films. In 1997 there were 12 new Disney movies and in 2000 there were  24 (!). Disney has 15 films listed for release in 2012. With such quantity, could it possibly be difficult to maintain quality?
Continue reading The Odd Life of Timothy Green: entertaining for kids, adoptive families & infertile people?

The Help: A movie review

The Help MovieI often judge a movie by the number of times I check my watch during the showing of it. Score with this 2+ hour film?


That means it’s a terrific movie that I fully engaged with. And my children, 10 and 8, were as rapt as I was.

I reviewed Kathryn Stockett’s book, The Help, when it came out in 2009 and I predicted it would be successful. I jumped at the chance for the three of us to preview the movie last week (disclosure: my children and I attended a free pre-screening). The film opens in theaters today.

I loved the characters: Skeeter, a recent journalism graduate; Aibileen, a black maid who has a special talent in raising white children (who grow up to become her employers); and Minnie, Aibileen’s friend and also a maid, whose sass gets her into all sorts of trouble.

I loved the setting: Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960. Think Mad Men meets Jim Crow. I was born in this time period and I never tire of seeing what kitchens, cars and fashions were like when my mom was raising my sisters and me. My children thought items such as a rotary-dial phone mounted on the wall and a typewriter were SO COOL. They were amusingly puzzled in a short scene that featured Wite-Out.

The Help Movie SkeeterThe premise: Skeeter is the only one of her society sisters to notice there is something very wrong about the treatment of the “help” in their households, as well as the unseen lines between races and classes that everybody assumes are real. Despite the stifling social codes that separate them, Skeeter, Aibileen and Minnie decide to tell their stories, risking all to make a subtle change in awareness of imaginary lines.

The film sparked quite a discussion on our drive home. We talked about racism, about courage, about how important it is to know what’s right and then to act on it, no matter what people around you are doing.

The acting was superb. I always love Allison Janney (Skeeter’s mom), and enjoyed the performance of Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron’s daughter (of Opie fame) as the sinister mean girl Miss Hilly. Viola Davis as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minnie fully become their characters, and Emma Stone was fine as Skeeter. Cecily Tyson and Sissy Spacek have small but pivotal roles.

There are criticisms about both the book and the film regarding dialect and how a white woman is required to give voice to the black women. There is probably some validity to this criticism.

But if the full-house pre-screening we attended is any indication, a majority of film-goers will come out of the theater with high praise for the flick, as did my children and me.

Images: The Help Movie Official Site