Mrs Danvers in ‘Goosebumps on Manderley’.

Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again…

If there was a book to be written by R. L Stine in his famous Goosebumps series, it should include Mrs Danvers as one of its key characters. Heck, maybe she should be the key character and main ghost host in the story. Because she was, sure as hell to me, one lean, mean creepy machine in Daphne du Maurier’s novel, Rebecca.

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We come to learn of Mrs Danvers as the head of housekeeping for Manderley, the Cornish overbearing mansion owned by Maximilian de Winter. A dastardly and deceitful woman who is unable to leave the past and move on. Fondly known as Max by all his staff, he befriends a young girl in her twenties while vacationing in Monte Carlo. A whirlwind romance later, they got married (his proposal is really odd, “I’m asking you to marry me, you silly fool!”) and he takes her back to Manderley after their honeymoon in Italy.

The idea of marrying a rich man is pure gold. Even better if the rich man is much older than you are as it means that you’ll be well looked after. But marital bliss is too far out of our narrator’s reach. Her arrival at Manderley was not given a warm welcome, although most of the staff hardly say much except to accept her presence and her status as Max’s wife. Mrs Danvers, however, was none too pleased about it. That’s because she was still hung up over the sudden passing of the previous mistress, the former wife of Max de Winter, the first real Mrs de Winter.

Rebecca is, without a doubt, a gripping and powerful novel that anyone can relate to the themes of identity crisis, jealousy and envy with another woman. In this case, the other woman is dead, having drowned in a supposed boating accident. Her presence remains, still, even from beyond the grave, in the form of a memory that Mrs Danvers, the head housekeeper, would never allow to fade. The narrator, whom we never discover her name from the first page until the very end, faces a painful struggle against this “other woman” and her life at Manderley is constantly compared to Rebecca. Despite being known as Mrs de Winter and the new lady of the house, the narrator toils and attempts to adjust to her new way of life and to her husband Max. She is under the belief that Rebecca had been the better Mrs de Winter and a more engaging person. Yet, as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Rebecca was not as angelic and perfect as people believed her to be. Her death is also not as tragically accidental as it would seem to be.

Manderley is accurately depicted as the hellish Gothic mansion where the narrator finds difficult to adjust. The mansion is nearly a character in itself anyway. It seems to breathe and tremble with Rebecca’s haunting and chilling presence. But really, let’s not forget the most formidable character of them all. Because she is the perfect villain. She does so well as a menacing individual with an abnormal obsession with Rebecca that intensifies the dark and gloomy atmosphere, and whose devilish antics drive the narrator up the wall.

Despite the relatively dark elements, Rebecca has a little something for everyone. A dab of romance for the soft-hearted. A dash of horror for the scream queens. And a healthy serving of crime and mystery for the couch potato crime detectives with a delicious turn of events that will leave the readers’ eyes as wide as saucers.

But it did strike me that the narrator’s name was never mentioned. Not the first name, not the last name. We only know her as Mrs de Winter. It’s strange how the story tells the predicament of the second Mrs de Winter but we constantly come across the name of the first Mrs de Winter. Mrs Danvers never wanted anything to do with the second Mrs de Winter. The other thing is the ending. It’s been thrown wide open to interpretation but here’s a tip for you:

Remember what you read in the first few pages of the book because the ending is the beginning of everything.

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Movie Review: The Silver Linings Playbook (A Film Adaptation).

the-silver-linings-playbook-matthew-quick-goodreadsI finally caught the movie adaptation of the book The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick yesterday.

It took me awhile to catch up but once I did, I realised how different the book and the movie were. They were stark differences between the two and I’m just going to give you guys a quick update on what I think about the movie.

The first difference I noticed was the pace of the movie. Granted the movie director and producer would not be able to match scene by scene with the book, but it looked as though the characters were thrown haphazardly into the movie and expected to perform and show the viewers what the plot was all about. Kind of like various vegetables tossed into a boiling pot of water and expected to cook at the same time (you know carrots, potatoes and cabbages all cook at different times). The opening scene where Pat Solitano’s friend Danny tried to sneak out of the mental facility was already the first scene that was not found in the book! Heck, the surname Solitano isn’t even in the book! Patrick was known as Pat Peoples in Matthew Quick’s novel but was otherwise known as Patrick Solitano in the movie.

The film was also quite fast-paced, raw and emotional. There were instances where the characters were pitched against one another. One scene that stood out was Tiffany’s confrontation with Pat’s dad in the living room after Pat, his brother Jake, therapist Dr Cliff, and best pal Ronnie were shipped home due to a public brawl at the football stadium before the match began. Another scene involved Tiffany screaming harassment when she stormed out of the diner where Pat was having dinner with her. A crowd formed and tried to drive him away. A policeman shows up anyway and tries to break it up. In the end, Tiffany takes Pat’s side and tells everyone to buzz off. Well, I certainly don’t recall reading it in the book, that’s for sure. However, the author was able to take his own time to build on the plot and expand on certain areas in his book.

After the movie ended, I went online to do some research on it and found that it won a whopping 33 awards between 2012 and 2013, including a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for Best Actress by Jennifer Lawrence (who played Tiffany in the film), Critics Choice Awards, an MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance by Bradley Cooper (who played Patrick Solitano in the film), as well as Best Director and Adapted Screenplay Awards. You can get the rest of the awards online. Jacki Weaver (Pat’s mom), Julia Stiles (Veronica, Ronnie’s wife), John Ortiz (Pat’s best friend Ronnie), Robert de Niro (Pat’s dad) and Chris Tucker (Pat’s friend Danny) were the other big names in the movie.

But what completely threw me off was the movie producer! As I watched the credits roll, I came upon the name of Harvey Weinstein! Good God, the movie was produced by the man whose name is surrounded by so much bad chi right now! His reputation has been torn to shreds by all the rape and sexual harassment allegations. Well, thankfully when he wrapped things up with the movie and it won the awards, he was in the clear.