This is a collection of all the reviews The Worst Daughter Ever is receiving. This collection will be updated regularly. The Worst Daughter Ever is published by Rupa Publications and is available at bookstores worldwide via Amazon, Flipkart and local bookstores.
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Let’s Talk About Why Haymitch Abernathy Is The Most Overlooked But Epic Supporting Character Ever
Let’s Talk About is a series of blog posts where Writer Gal gives her (unsolicited) take on pop culture – aka books, TV series, and movies – that she shamelessly binge watches in the name of ‘research.’ SPOILERS GALORE!!!
Let’s face it. Every supporting character in YA fantasy books has been measured against the sheer amazeballs awesomeness that is Gandalf the Grey and Albus Wolfric Brian Percival Dumbledore (I might have got the order of the names wrong). And, yeah, the two wizards of the wizarding worlds are EPIC BADASSES – I cannot stress enough how badass they are – and seeing their heroic, adventurous journeys unfold through books and movies has been nothing less than sheer joy and cinematic sweetness.
But, I propose another name to be added to this list. One who is, in effect, the exact opposite of everything the two heroic badass motherf*%^kers stand for.
He is neither heroic nor a badass. Hell, he is actually not even that nice. But, I recently re-watched this movie series and realized how completely and utterly effective he is.
I am, of course, talking about Haymitch Abernathy from The Hunger Games trilogy. Both the guy from the books and the cooler, oh-so-lazy drunk on a bender version played by Woody Harrelson. (Side note: Somebody give the man an Oscar, pronto! He is so good in everything!)
The Drunk Mentor
Haymitch Abernathy is introduced as a mentor in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. A Victor from District 12, the *only* Victor from District 12 who has watched young men and women be led like lambs to slaughter for too many years to count.
A mentor’s job is to keep his Tributes alive. Haymitch has failed spectacularly at his job for years on end.
So, he has taken to drinking as the next best panacea to get through the nightmarish guilt of leading kids to their deaths, knowing there was nothing he could ever do to save them. He is brash, he is uncouth, he is very often drunk as he interacts with Katniss and Peeta in the first few scenes.
In his head, he has already said goodbye to these two kids before he knows their names. And being sloshed is the only way he can deal with them. The way Harrelson plays it is such a joy. Amiable, buzzed and with only a hint of everything he’s ever had to live with visible when he says, “I’d prepare myself for imminent death.”
Then…then…Katniss throws a knife at him. Right at his breakfast. And Haymitch wakes up. Well, not literally, but he sees it. The spark that turns the Girl on Fire into The Mockingjay and shakes up an entire civilization.
He is the first to see it. Katniss’s potential. The sheer anger she keeps contained which, if pointed in the right direction, could lead to great things. Maybe, even keep her alive in The Hunger Games. And that’s what he taps into, when he starts coaching her. He taunts her, unbearably, pushing at all her buttons until she wants to murder him.
But he gets her. He understands that Katniss is not a nice person. You cannot be nice and still win at The Hunger Games. Their telepathy is actually way more believable than Edward reading Bella’s mind at times, TBH.
Their telepathy is proved later on in the arena when he starts to encourage the romance between Katniss and Peeta and that one sarcastic note with the soup that says, You call that a kiss? He could have made the sponsors send them medicines for Peeta but he fanned the star-crossed lovers’ romance, until IT became the reason to watch the games, not little kids killing each other for the amusement of an autocratic government.
A small pause here for the off-scene camaraderie between Peeta and Haymitch.
If Haymitch understands Katniss and her prickly, offensive exterior than he is equally appreciative of Peeta’s good guy heart. Not that Peeta isn’t manipulative on his own (admitting to a crush on the girl he is supposed to kill is nothing short of genius) but, with Peeta guiding Haymitch and vice versa, they are like the devil and the angel sitting on Katniss’s shoulder. Except, they agree with each other over everything!
When the happy couple wins the bloody Hunger Games, Haymitch isn’t happy. He is even more worried than before.
And this becomes apparent in Catching Fire when he slides back to his drunk ways and spends the year leading up to the next Games in a drunken stupor. Both aided and despaired by Katniss and Peeta.
But, never more does Haymitch’s role become clear than when he shakes some sense into Katniss in Catching Fire. At the very start of the Victory Tour, Katniss and Peeta make a very unwise, public announcement and a poor old man ends up paying the price for it. Haymitch is the one who snaps Katniss out of her hysteria and infuriates her into thinking clearly.
He understands the enemy they are up against. Knows there is no way out for any of them. Not then. And, once again, it is Haymitch who makes the hard choice and gets the surly, devastated Katniss on board the plan of keeping the two of them alive.
For me, Katniss and Peeta were always some kind of a doomed love triangle with Gale.
But, now, upon re-watching the series, I realized that Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch are like three parts of a conscience – the decency, the slyness, and the ruthless. Each emerging when required to do what needs doing.
This fact became clearer by the end of Catching Fire when Haymitch was revealed to be in the very thick of the rebellion shaking up the Capitol, with friends in high places aka District 13.
But, he has his softer moments too. Like, when he promises to volunteer in Peeta’s place and vows to Katniss that he’d be the one they’d save this year. Not her. Like, he hugs her so tight after she witnesses the execution of the old man in District 7 after yelling at her. Or when he admits to Katniss that she is the only real friend he has in District 13.
Haymitch isn’t there for a fair bit of Mockingjay as Katniss deals with the severe shocks she’s been dealt so far. Peeta’s gone. So’s District 12. District 13 is real. Haymitch was part of a plot to rescue her, as the symbol of some revolution and so left Peeta behind. It is this fact, she can’t live with when she almost kills him at the end of Catching Fire.
The book never establishes Haymitch’s presence while the movie explains it as him ‘drying off in a facility a mile away from District 13’s underground bunker.’
But, when The Mockingjay is ready to become the face of the revolution, it is, once again Haymitch who strategizes the best way to use her. Let her act natural. Let her be. Don’t give her words. Make her fight.
It works, almost too well, when the Capitol bombs the hospital in the District she’d just visited. Of course, that’s just one of several bombings in the concluding book of the trilogy and so egregious, so to speak.
I mentioned Haymitch and Katniss’ telepathy before. And the best, most spectacular example of this is at the very end. When Haymitch throws in his lot with Katniss about holding a symbolic Hunger Games with the Capitol’s children as Tributes to satisfy the rebels.
And he is the only one who understands, why Katniss kills President Coin instead of executing Snow like she is supposed to.
He gets her, in the most basic of ways. And he approves of her, much like he loves Peeta, in his own fashion, for being the best among them all.
I could write a few more pages on why Haymitch Abernathy is so freaking awesome but I’ll end it here for today.
Till next time.
PS: Who is YOUR Favorite Hunger Games character and why?
Feature Image: Screener TV
Image: FemaleFirst UK
The List: TOP 9 YA Characters Who Kick Ass and Take Names (and turn me into a fangirl)
The List is a series of blog posts which explores the things I love about books, reading, men, shoes, art and pop culture in, you guessed it, list form.
Harry Potter. Edward Cullen. Percy Jackson. All genre-bending teenage/ young adult heroes that basically made even grown women’s hearts swoon.
In the case of the pansy-ass sparkling vampire, he even spawned off a successful fan fiction franchise, which let’s face it, stars a much-hotter dude than the original ever could. That being said, I am and always will be, I heart Team Edward complete with a t-shirt and everything.
It is incidental that all three heroes sold millions of copies of books and their series are the most popular thing in the history of writing. Not literature, because FSOG does not great literature make.
But as I am always ready to go on a YA-reading binge, I have stumbled across a lot of great, talented authors who could give Stephanie Mayer a run for her money. And heroes, who I SWEAR, are such cool, much awesomer than their real-life, grownup counterparts.
You call it reading, I call this research but hey, all for a good cause in search of writing the next perfect novel.
Anyway, with this much reading (35 books in as many days) I fell in love with the genre all over again and the characters who made it so popular.
Young adult love is this AMAZING space to explore so many issues of identity: political, emotional, sexual, and spiritual. And any of these authors will guarantee you a good time, so go ahead and pick ‘em up after giving this post a read.
Here are my top nine Young Adult Heroes of all time in descending order
9. Seth Summer
Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver trilogy has star-crossed lovers Seth and Grace become werewolves at different times, pulled together by a deep, abiding love that is best captured by German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Stiefvater’s prose is stunning and lyrical but it is Seth’s longing that shines through clearly with each book.
Seth is reluctant Alpha in the making, wounded by his tormented relationship with his parents and his desperate, hopeful love for Grace is a thing of absolute beauty. Read it all in one sitting to get a new twist on ancient werewolf lore.
8. Prince Ash and Shakespeare’s Robin Goodfellow
Julie Kagawa has quickly become one of my new favorite YA authors to watch out for. Her retelling of the land of faerie (one of two entries on this list) using characters from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is spot on and funny and with a heroine -Meghan Chase – who is mouthy and courageous and dependable.
She isn’t prone to hand-wringing except when pining over Winter Prince Ash, or ‘Ice-boy’ as Puck loves to call him. While there is no actual love triangle since Meghan clearly has the hots only for Ice-boy, the two characters are memorable for their hateship-friendship and of course, Ash is one hot Faerie Prince. He is also very open with his feelings once he sheds his ice-boy persona and that is such a welcome change from the contemp heroes who make you work for it!
7. Percy Jackson
Between Harry and Percy, I’d choose Percy simply because he has more character flaws and he is so very messed up with his choices (choosing to take a dip in the River Styx, picking a fight with Ares!) His choices are messed up but his courage and battle tactics more than make up for his hubris.
Plus, the demigod is loyal to a fault (Harry/Ron fighting over the Horcrux!!!) and that gives this dangerous boy-next-door pizzaz that everyone’s favorite wizard lacks.
6. Rath Roiben Riven
Roiben is one of Holly Black’s many, many creations . But by far, he is my absolute favorite, although Prince Carden from The Cruel Prince is fast catching up.
Stuck up, annoying, and proper almost to a fault, Rath Roiben more than makes up for the trouble he causes Kaye Thomas from the Tithe trilogy by giving up his rightful place as King of the Unseelie Court to be with her! (Yeah, these princes and their foreswearing…lesser mortals stand no chance, do they ladies?)
Rath Roiben Riven is not his actual name but if I give it away here, y’all might use it to make him fall in love with you and we can’t have that, can we? Read the book to find out what his real name is!
5. Carswell Thorne, Wolf, Emperor Kaito and Jacyn Clay
Marissa Meyer, the other Meyer has written a fabulous retelling of fairytales with Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter. Winter is by far my favorite because it has all the heroes and their storylines merging together to form a great finale. Not a disappointment at ALL!
And yeah, Kai is a pretty great guy for falling for Android Lunar Princess-in-hiding Cinder, it’s Wolf’s absolute devotion to Scarlet and his absolute berserker that really got me. Same for Sargent Jacyn Clay with Princess Winter (their mad-love and Snow White-worthy ending made reading 800 pages of Winter so delicious!)
And if there was a prize for Most Irreverent Pirate Of All, it would go to Captain Carswell Thorne. He is badass, funny and droll! It’s an irresistible combination of charm and piquancy and unexpected vulnerability that made Cress and me fall for him, hook, line and sinker.
4. Patch Cipriano aka Angel Jev
So Becca Fitzpatrick’s Patch in the Hush Hust series has this way of talking to heroine Nora Grey that made me feel like I was in the middle of a French film. Every line was full of double meaning, innuendo and so damned classy despite it all.
And, on top of that, he was determined to save her (over and over again) when he’d been sent to kill her! He does display stalkerish tendencies but his Italian black-eyes more than make up for it and color me impressed when he gives Nora a necklace with his real name on it. Promise. Ring. Much.
3. Dimitri Belikov
Technically Richelle Mead’s baddest of the badass Dhampirs Dimitri Belikov is not YA young, (he is 24 when he is introduced to us in Vampire Academy), and when I first read of a guy who is six-seven and snooty and uptight with a liquid vodka Russian accent to boot, I was like WHAAAAT?! No, not working for me. Then I saw the movie (badly-made, deliciously cast) and I was all onboard the Dimitri train.
By book three Shadow Spell I was totally swooning over Dimitri and rooting for Rose Hathaway (she can totally take Buffy’s place as a vamp-loving demon hunter any day) to get it on with him. Honestly, he was the only Strigoi vampire I could imagine macking with, even as I read feverishly for the cure that would change him back to the loving, warm (more action/less talk) Dimitri that Rose adored.
2. Kaz Brekker And The Crow Five
So I can NOT stress enough how much I love Leigh Bardugo’s writing. She dazzled with her first Grisha trilogy, but in my humble opinion, she’s come into her own with the Crow duology! Set in the same world as the Grishas but a separate storyline, Six of Crows’ ringleader Kaz Brekker, alley rat turned king of the Ketterdam docks is that rare hero: Bad to the bone, vulnerable to just the heroine Inej (OH! WHAT A JOY SHE IS!) and so smart you could kiss him for his brains alone. He limps (a la Dr. House) and has his personality to match but there is so much going on with Kaz, it’s like reading about a character who constantly plays chess like a grandmaster.
Crooked Kingdom, the next in the duology was a revelation – in terms of storytelling, character reveals and an ending I did not see coming. But Kaz and The Crow Five have eternally earned my love and devotion forevermore.
I cannot wait for the next book in the Grishaverse – King of Scars, featuring beloved characters from both series.
1. Jace Wayland
So Jace Wayland has been my favorite YA hero since 2009 when City of Ashes, the second book in the Mortal Instruments’ Trilogy released and I read arguably, the BEST finale ever written in a book.
Sure, I find Cassandra Clare’s Clary Fairchild to be occasionally whiny, but Jace kicks ass up, down and four ways to Sunday. Jace is a jerk, an arrogant know-it-all with no apparent vulnerabilities and also vaguely stalkerish tendencies. Plus, he lashes out when he is hurt and at the end of City of Bones, he turned out to be Clary’s brother! EWWW, right? Wrong.
Cuz then comes CoA and everything I loved about young adult heroes became this boy, the yardstick by which I measure all future young adult heroes by.
Demon hunter extraordinaire, a musician in his spare time and using humor as a defense mechanism Jace is ALL that you want from a hero, YA or otherwise. He is Nephilim (half mortal-half angel) brave, badass, reckless, smart, and uses his heart to his own detriment.
His friendship with Alec Lightwood and Isabelle Lightwood is a rare and wondrous thing to read in modern books and he perfectly embodies the Perfect Outsider alienation emotion with every character reveal. He also has these amazing amber eyes that…well, you get the picture! I could gush about this boy forever!
Magnus Bane, Alec Lightwood, Will Lightwood, Simon Lewis, Jem Carstairs: While not as exciting as Jace, the other heroes (The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices) created by Clare too are worthy of also-ran mentions. Will and Jem are another perfect example of Parabatai and Will is so charmingly irreverent, he and Carswell Thorne might well kill each other or become best friends if they ever met each other. Simon is hands down, the cutest. Vampire. Ever.
Peeta Mellark: Yeah, Susan Collins’s doomed Tribute could have made the top eight if Kaz hadn’t come along and upset the apple cart. But the truth is, he is NICE enough to make a great hero, just not badass enough. He is smart as all hell though with that camouflage trick in The Hunger Games, isn’t he?
Malyen Oretsev: I am become a blade. Leigh Bardugo’s hero from the original Grisha trilogy has this tattooed on his back as the series progresses and he realizes how far apart from the heroine Saint Alina Starkov he really is, how he can never be powerful and magic like her. And how his hunting and killing skills are the only things of value he has to offer her, apart from his wasted, beautiful heart. Extreme sighs alert.
Cabel Strumheller: Lucy McMann’s words are like bullets. Fast, piercing, lovely and sure to leave a scar. Her hero Cabel is no one special. Just an ordinary high school student with a very gifted girlfriend who he is madly in love with. And that’s EXACTLY why he is so awesome. He lets dream catcher Janie from the Wake, Fade, Gone series take the lead and provides silent backup and never once tells I told you so to her even when she almost gets raped/killed in a dream. Isn’t that just what we all want in a dude?
Angel Akiva: Just his name was enough to make me reconsider all my notions of love and happy ever after, and in Laini Taylor’s first book Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I was flat out falling for Akiva (meaning shelter in Hebrew). But in the second book, things took a dark turn and he started crying a LOT. I mean, a LOT! His fighting skills took a drastic backseat and he became an also-ran instead of ending up in the top 9. May I add that the series too took a drastic turn for the depressing in Days of Blood and Starlight.
So, there you have it, folks. My dream list of yummy heroes. Demigods, fairy princes, fallen angels, alley rats and more made the cut. Who’s on yours? Tell me in the comments below.
Till next time,
Writer Gal aka Aarti V Raman.
PS: There is one hero who I refuse to mention here who has equal claim on my silly reader’s heart as Jace Wayland: Half-Bad trilogy hero Nathan Blackwood, who becomes such a comically tragic figure in the end, it reads like an emo song. I mean! WHY! WHY did he have to die Sally Green? Why couldn’t he have just lived with Gabrielle’s happy memories such as they were?
Till next time,
Romance writer, urban fantasy writer Falguni Kothari is back…Rated T for Tears!
My Last Love Story
Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s, Me Before You, My Last Love Story is a heartbreaking and poignant tale about the complexities of trauma and whether love can right a wrong.***
I, Simeen Desai, am tired of making lemonade with the lemons life has handed me.
Love is meant to heal wounds.
Love was meant to make my world sparkle and spin.
Love has ripped my life apart and shattered my soul.
I love my husband, and he loves me.
But Nirvaan is dying.
I love my husband. I want to make him happy.
But he is asking for the impossible.
I don’t want a baby.
I don’t want to make nice with Zayaan.
I don’t want another chance at another love story.
Falguni Kothari is a New York-based hybrid author, and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful and cultural threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. When not writing or dancing, she fools around on all manner of social media and loves to connect with readers.My Last Love Story is her fourth novel.
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I suffer from a serious condition. It’s incurable. It’s an addiction. It’s my life. I’m a Hiddlestoner – and I have a confession to make.
Today, we have the supremely talented romance writer, and my good friend from across the pond, Devika Fernando who is here to talk about her not so secret love– Hiddlestonitis.
Every book I write has been inspired by Tom Hiddleston. Every book I read, every story that captures my attention, reminds me of him. Heck, I end up comparing all men to him: Thomas William Hiddleston. Stealer of hearts, lover of pudding, Shakespeare-enthusiast, word-magician, destroyer of ovaries, versatile actor, living inspiration, man of countless talents and secrets.
Why are all of my heroes inspired by him, and why do I love him? There are reasons, probably more than you want to hear. But now that I’ve started, I’m afraid I might never stop. And by the end of this post, you’ll happily join the club.
Tom Hiddleston is a man of many faces. And I don’t just mean that he looks hot with or without glasses, that he’s handsome with long black hair just like with floofy blond curls or with perfectly styled ginger scruff.
I mean that he can switch from sophisticated and suave – killing you with that polished English accent and oozing oodles of politeness – to singing a song, dancing his heart out or breaking into a spot-on impersonation of a celebrity. I love it that he can slip into lecture mode in a heartbeat, diving into his vast knowledge of literature (and many other topics) to bring something alive within minutes that teachers have unsuccessfully been trying to install in your brain for ages.
I love it that he can be a nerd at one moment and impossibly cool the next, that he supports charity, is passionate about equality, and generous to his fans. It’s endlessly fascinating that he switches from a six-year-old child with bubbling excitement to a teenager with a shit-eating grin and naughty wink to a gorgeous man charming the heck out of men and women alike.
How can anyone be so serious, so understanding, so well-mannered, so quietly strong, so sexy, so humble, so genuine, so dedicated, so charismatic, so thoughtful? It’s magic, I tell you, and I’m completely under his spell.
And don’t get me talking about his voice (Heaven on earth! He could read the phone book to me and I’d swoon.) or his hands (Big, and you know what that means. *wink*) or his eyes or that sassy eyebrow that has a life of its own or his snake hips…or any part of his anatomy?
Hang on ladies, for I haven’t even gotten to the good parts.
Tom Hiddleston – When will the Oxford Dictionary accept his name as a synonym for perfection? Can we sign a petition for that? – can act. He can ACT the bloody hell out of any role. Deliciously dangerous Asgardian villain? Check! Mysterious soldier? Check! Tortured baronet? Check! Suicidal vampire? Check! Irresistible spy? Check! King / knight in shining armour? Check! Yodeling Yankee? Check! Swoonworthy Victorian hero? Check! Dashing yet deranged doctor? Check! Relentless Roman general? Check! And there are a million more roles that show just how much potential this incredible man has stored away.
Still not completely taken in by the man who’s simultaneously ruined and made my life? You’re a tough cookie, aren’t you? Cookies… see, I can’t even think of something as harmless as cookies without remembering Tom Hiddleston teaching the Cookie Monster about delayed gratification on Sesame Street. Yup, I’m a goner, a Hiddlestoner… Just like the lovely lady who wrote this poignant post.
This. This right here is another reason why I can’t help feeling inspired by Tom Hiddleston:
Is it any wonder that he is part of all the books I write?
The protagonist most strongly influenced by Tom is Daniel from SAVED IN SRI LANKA. I gave him an innate kindness, a love for books and poetry, and an insatiable hunger for knowledge (as well as a deep and sensual voice, mile-long legs, ginger hair and blue-grey-green eyes). Joshua from the FIRE TRILOGY has Tom’s calm strength and uncanny ability to make everyone listen, and the anti-hero Kyle from the same series was inspired by Tom’s remarkable performance as Loki. Michael from WHEN I SEE YOUR FACE is as caring, calm on the outside but deep on the inside and supportive of women as Tom. Lucas from KALEIDOSCOPE OF HOPES has derived his enigmatic charm, ruthless drive and regal bearing from Tom.
And Alejandro, the determined and irresistible hero from my latest romance novel SEDUCED IN SPAIN, gives life to Tom Hiddleston’s answer to an interview question, “a good boy in certain situations, and a bad boy in others”. Not only does Tom influence how I write my heroes, he is also one of the reasons why I write and publish, why I believe in myself and in creativity.
And really, do I need any other reason to love him?
Thank you Devika, for reminding me once again what I LOVE about this man. And for popping over. We wish you all the best with the release of SEDUCED IN SPAIN!
Having always loved to read and write, Devika Fernando made her dream come true in 2014 when she became a self-published novelist. The Amazon bestselling author has released several eBooks in the genres of contemporary romance, paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Her German and Sri Lankan roots influence her writing.
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A good kiss will make you sigh in wistful happiness. A really great kiss makes your stomach drop, your heart pound as you live that moment with the two leads
In a previous post, I discussed what it takes to be a really strong female and be badass and conquer the world. Be your own hero. But, what about when you’re writing or watching or reading a simple, thrilling romance and you come upon that one thing that quickens your heartbeat? It’s that one great kiss, right?
Every writer on earth wants to know: What elevates a good love story to a great romance?
Is it strong chemistry between the hero and heroine? Or unforgettable characters who stand out long in the minds of readers after they’ve finished seeing the movie or reading the book?
Or is it that indefinable oomph factor that you just can’t explain but that tugs at your heartstrings and creates a flutter in your tummy, when you see or read-imagine the two adorbs leads adventuring onto their HEA?
For me, it’s all about the kiss. Always has been, always will be. First kisses, last kisses and every kiss in between, when a writer (screen and book) describes a really, really good kiss and it plays out exactly the way it’s supposed to. A good kiss will make you sigh in wistful happiness, a really great kiss makes your stomach drop, your heart pound as you live that moment with the two leads. It makes you whip out your phone and text a big smoochie to your SO or, if you have the time and bandwidth surprise them with a visit.
A good kiss will make you sigh in wistful happiness. A really great kiss makes your stomach drop, your heart pound as you live that moment with the two leads. It makes you whip out your phone and text a big smoochie to your SO or, if you have the time and bandwidth surprise them with a visit.
The components of this kiss are: Setting, Characters, Positions and Chemistry.
I’ll expound on these factors in another post, but suffice it to know that Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler would have been far less effective if those stairs hadn’t been there for him to carry her over. Not to mention Jennifer Leigh’s sizzling looks to Clark Gable that sold me on drama and romance, forevermore.
So, for today’s post y’all, I am going to list 5 Epic Kisses in Book-Film Adaptations based on the above criteria.
Why book-film, you might ask?
It’s cuz, imagine, someone wrote the epic kiss and two total hotties (they almost always are) get to play it out on screen exactly the way you and the book writer imagined it.
It is a twofer, isn’t it?
Also, saving TV for another day.
So, without further ado, in no particular order, here’s the list.
1. The Notebook – Ryan Gosling exploded into our hearts and on the silver screen with his impassioned portrayal of Noah Calhoun, the man who never forgot his one true love and built her dream house for her. But what elevated Ryan to total dream and sexboat status is the kiss in the rain with Rachel McAdams’s Ally. And it doesn’t hurt that he is all scruffy and bearded.
Tied for this Nicholas Sparks’s spot is Josh Duhamel’s Alex in Safe Haven. He is adorable, quirky and hot as hell with his hands all over Julianne Hough’s vulnerable but tough Katie. Full marks!
2. Atonement – Ian McEwan’s saga of unrequited and doomed love was perfectly portrayed by James MacAvoy and Keira Knightley (before she went weird-skinny). And of course, every true romance nerd’s dream is to wear a pretty green dress and be felt up (sweetly) in a library like James does Keira.
3. 10 Things I Hate About You – I know, I know. It’s Shakespeare and it’s been done to death and Taming of The Shrew is no Romeo and Juliet (Claire Danes, Leo DiCaprio!!) but Heath Ledger’s Patrick Verona is yummy. Especially as he sits splattered with paintball paint, and tells Julia Stiles’s Kat that she should never have to be someone else, before they get to the big smoochies. Not to mention, that totally cheesy poem in the end. Sigh.
4. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Mark Darcy is the Austen Darcy is Colin Firth squared. Do I even need to say anything more? Renee Zellweger’s Bridget Jones takes the whole movie to figure out she should get with him but that New Year’s kiss is so WORTH it!! Don’t y’all agree?
5. Pride and Prejudice – Darcy and Bennett. Colin Firth in a wet, white shirt. Enough said. (Yes, he gets mentioned twice, but really. This list could be all about him and it would still rock, right?)
Honorable mentions go to
1. Ron and Hermione in Deathly Hallows Part 2. Finally. At the end. The very end. FINALLY!
2. The Adjustment Bureau’s Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are a sweet treat when they finally outrun angels and kiss their way to a HEA. (The film is adapted from a short story by Philip K Dick.)
3. Chetan Bhagat’s on-screen adaptation of 2 States. Alia Bhatt’s free-spirited Ananya and Arjun Kapoor’s staid Krish are a steamy delight to watch. Same for desi Romeo and Juliet Ishaqzaade’s hot makeout scene between Arjun Kapoor’s Parma and Parineeti Chopra’s Zoya. (God, that Arjun Kapoor sure can kiss the ladies!)
Kisses I have imagined in books but want to see on film
1. Shilpa Suraj’s Arjun in Rescued by Love is a YUM GOD. I’d totally love to watch that kiss at the landing of Naina’s apartment in Goa. Totally!
2. Nalini Singh’s Kaleb Krychek in Heart of Obsidian on a rocky ledge somewhere in Northern California kissing the hell out of Sahara Kyriakus. Although I would rather he kissed me. (And did other things besides!)
3. (Shameless plug alert) But can you imagine how cool (and hot) it would be to see Kingdom Come’s Krivi and Ziya get it on in Ladakh under the stars on a full-moon night with the gentle waters of the lake lapping on the shore….?(Pardon the blonde hair on Ziya…she had it colored for this post.)
And that is it, for now, y’all. Lemme know what your personal favorite Book-Film Epic Kisses are and who knows, they just might make it in round 2.
Priyanka Menon is my friend. Priyanka Menon is a romance writer. Priyanka Menon is a romance writer and my friend AND an accomplished spoken-word poet in her own right, but the one thing that pleasantly surprised me as I started reading “The One That Got Away” was that she is a GOOD romance writer. Friend pride and prejudice aside, a good story can only hold your attention and interest and The One does all that and more.
Meet Mithi. She is an artist living in Paris who’s come down to Aamchi Mumbai for her besties’ – Geet and Karan’s – wedding. They have all been friends forever (since school) and the fourth point in the quartet is Jairam Nair. Mithi’s best BFF in school and someone she hasn’t seen since the last day of.
I call Shyamita Bose, Mithi, just like Jai does, because she is sweet and nice and fragile. The fragile is backed up by a spine of steel when necessary, as any heroine should be but mostly I call her Mithi cuz it is such a happy sound. Points for that, Priyanka.
Anyway, Mithi and Jai, (national bestselling author, all-round hunk) meet at the wedding. An awkward first meeting ensues in which both are not just tongue-tied but actively seeing each other as desirable people. This process is helped by not being in touch for more than a decade and thus, not having to deal with the minutiae of facial hair, waxing, having boobs and chest hair and what not.
Their chemistry is palpable but shocking, not to anyone but themselves.
In the grand tradition of a big, fat, Punjabi wedding we are slowly and quietly introduced to the single point break of what had been an unbreakable friendship. The painful teenage yearning of falling in love for the first time (and the last) is expressed beautifully and contrasts nicely with the tumult of falling in love all over again.
And then we come to the very adult problems facing Mithi and Jai: aka Commitment Phobia. Yes, there is heat, chemistry, sexy love-making and long, soulful glances but Handsome Jai (I call him that in my head, Priyanka) cannot do the one thing; the only thing Mithi wants: Admit to his feelings for her, for damaging and totally valid reasons of his own.
And Mithi with her steely spine under the delicate Madonna exterior holds firm on this one point, even as she tries to help him banish his demons and love him with all her heart.
The primary love story has a life of its own and Priyanka, like me is a fan of two characters coming full circle (get back to me on this, readers), but what completely enchanted me was the way all the secondary characters gelled in the story. Given full screen time and treated like the individuals they were and not just props to the main hero-heroine-conflict resolution.
In particular I love Mrs. Nair, the wise mom who has endured so much and still maintains a serene heart and Geet Chaddha – bubbly, headstrong and with a heart a mile wide that you cannot help but root for her as she tries to knock some sense into her chaddi-buddy Jai.
The writing is pacy and exquisite in a few places and the story holds its own on a second reading too.
If I would take away anything from The One and its author, it would be Mithi’s crying. She cries. A LOT. It’s not healthy. Priyanka, next time make your woman kick ass. And also, write me into a book where I, the bestselling author gets to live in a penthouse with my very own Handsome Jai.
Four and a Half Stars (Half a star taken for the crying)
Till next time
Updated: A previous version of this post called the book The One Who Got Away