Subversive Literature.

Hello everyone and welcome back to #theorythursday. I cannot believe how quickly the time is passing by. Next week is the last week of October and then we are moving onwards and upwards into a new month. Last week I talked about the difference between horror and terror, and you should check that out if you haven’t already. Today I am talking about subversive literature. 

 If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will already know that I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has left me a comment either on Instagram, or here on the website, and to those of you who sent me a kind message, thank you so much. I really appreciate the support and engagement that I have received during the month of October. I have really embraced the Halloween spirit, and I have been talking a lot about horrors, which I know not everyone enjoys. I will be taking a break from horror as we move into November, but I’ve enjoyed challenging myself to watch movies that I usually wouldn’t as horror is definitely not my favourite genre, but I have found that there are aspects of it that I do enjoy. 

With that being said, let’s dive into the second last #theorythursday in October. 

What is subversive literature? 

Subversive literature is literature in which the plot challenges things we consider normal. 

A subversive narrator will take things that the reader should already be familiar with, and challenge our understanding of that thing. Subversive narratives are common in gothic literature, which is why I decided that I would talk about subversive literature in October because it fits into the horror/gothic themes that I have been exploring this month. 

An example of subversive literature can be found in a text such as Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto or in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. Both of these novels subvert the idea of home being a safe place. Usually one’s home is their safe place, their sanctuary, their escape from the world, but in these novels, and in many other gothic novels, the home has become the place where danger lurks. Home is the place where the characters must escape from. Sanctuary is found outside of the home rather than in the home, and this development warps the reader’s idea of safety. When we read these novels, we no longer view the home as a safe space, because the idea of being safe at home has been twisted by a subversive narrative. 

I think that Neil Gaiman’s novella Coraline is another example of a subversive piece of literature. The character Coraline feels ignored by her parents who have to work around the clock, and so when she first encounters her “other mother” and “other father” in the parallel universe that she discovers, at first everything seems wonderful, so much so that she starts to prefer her “other mother”, but she soon learns that all is not as it seems and her idea of everything being perfect in the parallel universe is challenged and subverted when she learns that the perfect parallel universe is actually a place of nightmares. 

Why is it important to know about subversive literature? 

As I’ve said above, I felt that it was a good idea to talk about subversive literature alongside the gothic and horror that I have been discussing in October, because subversive narratives are often found in horror movies and gothic novels. I also think that it is important to understand subversive literature, because subversive literature can be extremely powerful. Subversive literature is sometimes radical, or political. Subversive narratives are often employed when an author wants to make a statement, but this isn’t always the case. I think there is something very powerful about a book having the power to take something that we think we understand and challenge it and twist it so much so that we have to re-examine our understanding of that thing. That is powerful. That is thought provoking. That is how conversations start. That is how critical thinking begins, when we are challenged, and so that is why I think that subversive literature is so important, because it has the potential to be incredibly moving and powerful. 

This has been Theory Thursday. I hope you all enjoyed it. Thank you all again for the lovely support I’ve received this past month. It is much appreciated, and I am so excited for the months to come. 

Happy Friday Eve. 

Kate xo. 

Shows I Streamed in September.

Hello everyone and welcome back to Friday’s Choice. Today I am going to be talking about five shows that I streamed this month. I have really been enjoying these shows and as we move into late autumn and winter, which means longer, darker evenings, I think it’s always a good idea to have a list of shows to watch. 

So let’s dive into #fridayschoice. 

I’m going to be talking about these five shows in no particular order. So let’s start with Annika. I mentioned this show in my Ten Crime Shows That I Binge Watched list. At the time I wrote that list, Annika had just started airing on Alibi. The first season of the show is now complete, and I really hope there is a second season because I thoroughly enjoyed season one. Annika is a detective series. Each episode had its own investigation. I really loved the small ensemble of characters. The story is told from the point of view of Annika, I mentioned before how she breaks the fourth fall and addresses the audience directly. I said how I really liked this as it was something new and different, and I hadn’t seen this done in a crime show before. Now that the season is complete, I will say that I really enjoyed this style throughout each episode. The moments where Annika addressed the audience directly were clever, witty, and her monologues often made me laugh. I also really enjoyed how in each episode, she would reference a literary work, an Ibsen play, or a Greek tragedy etc. It made for a unique approach to a crime drama, and so as I have said already, I really hope that there is a season two. 

The next show that I watched and would highly recommend is Mare of Easttown. Kate Winslet was absolutely brilliant in this show, as was the rest of the cast. There were only seven episodes of this series, and if I were to describe this show in one word, I would call it gripping. It is not an extremely new story. A detective is searching for a missing girl who has been missing for over a year, and more and more young girls are being found dead. This isn’t a revolutionary new plot that has never been done before, but it is done incredibly well. The characters are intriguing, the show is filled with twists and turns, and the story is utterly compelling. It is one of the best shows I’ve watched in a long time. I can’t recommend it enough. 

Up next is ClickBait on Netflix. I started this show after I finished watching Mare of Easttown, which was a hard act to follow. I started off thinking that while this show was good, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I had enjoyed Mare of Easttown however as each episode went on, I was becoming more and more invested. I would call this show a slow-burn because while it didn’t grip me straight away, I would say that by episode three I was very intrigued, and the last few episodes were definitely stronger than the first few. I felt that this show was really relevant as it featured a lot of the dangers that can occur due to social media. It really is amazing, and scary seeing what can be done in just a few clicks, and again this was another show that was filled with twists and turns, especially in the final few episodes. 

If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will have seen from my stories that just last weekend I started watching Vigil. I loved it so much that I watched all six episodes in one night. It was brilliant. There is a trend here as all of these shows have a common denominator – they all are filled with twists and turns. A major theme of this show is corruption, and it was done so well. The cast was fantastic, particularly Suranne Jones and Rose Leslie. I thought that these two actresses were brilliant, and in my opinion they led the show. The premise was really fascinating, I don’t want to spoil anything but what I will say is that I enjoy when characters are limited to certain settings because I feel it’s more interesting. When there are only so many places a person can go, it means that the narrative is challenged to operate within that space, and when an investigation is occurring in limited space, it means that there’s only so many places where evidence can be hidden. I would have to say Vigil is my second favourite show in this list, as it follows Mare of Easttown. 

The last show I’m going to mention is Only Murders in the Building on Disney plus. There are only five episodes of this show so far, and I’m very excited to see the next one. I absolutely love Steve Martin and Martin Short. I think these two actors are a brilliantly witty duo, and Selena Gomez joining them makes for a very funny, sarcastic trio. I think that this show has a great premise. It’s something that true crime fans will enjoy. It’s funny, it’s witty, I would say it’s satirical. There are moments that do seem nonsensical, but I am able to suspend my disbelief and go with it because it is a satire and it’s cleverly done. Despite the satirical nature of the show, the mystery is still very intriguing, and I am very curious to see what happens next. So if you want something that’s lighthearted, different, but still mysterious, I would say to watch this show. 

So this has been Friday’s Choice. These have been five shows that I streamed in the month of September. Have you seen any of these shows? What did you think? Do you binge watch shows the way I do? 

I am very excited because starting Monday, it is spooky season here on Katelovesliterature.com, and I am going to be embracing horror, and thrillers, and ghoulish galore in the run up to Halloween. Stay tuned. 

Kate xo. 

October’s Book Of The Month.

Hello everyone. Here’s to the first of October. I am very excited about this month because I feel like there are so many amazing texts that can be enjoyed especially as we lead up to Halloween. I think October is a really fun month because we can explore horrors, thrillers, cult classics, eerie stories, and more. 

I will not just be discussing horror in October as I know that not everyone enjoys horror, and I am aware that not everyone enjoys Halloween so as always I am going to attempt to keep the content varied while also leaning into the Halloween spirit however with that being said, this month’s Book Of The Month is a gothic novel. 

If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will already know that October’s #bookofthemonth is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. 

This is another classic, and it is a novel that I have read many times and studied in great detail, and I am looking forward to reading it again because it has been a while. 

So please feel free to read along with me and enjoy October’s Book Of The Month.

Let me know in the comments below if you have read Shelley’s text, and/or let me know your opinion on gothic literature in general. Do you love it? Hate it? Unfamiliar with it? Let me know, I love hearing from you. 

Happy reading. 

Kate xo. 

Narrative: Chapter 2.

Hello everyone and welcome back to Theory Thursday. Last week I began to discuss the different types of narration that we can come across in literature. I focused on the third-person perspective last week, you should go and check that out if you haven’t already. Today I am concentrating on the first-person narrative so let’s dive into #theorythursday. 

How do I recognise the first-person narrator in a story? 

It is very easy to recognise when a story is being told in the first-person, because the narrator is either the protagonist telling their own story, or another character who is telling the protagonist’s story from their point of view. 

I mentioned on my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), that today is a double post day because my #bookofthemonth discussion all about F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby will also be published today seeing as it is the last day of September. It just so happens that The Great Gatsby is a brilliant example of a story that is told from the first-person perspective. The character Nick Carraway is the narrator of Fitzgerald’s novel and he tells us the story of Jay Gatsby, the novel’s protagonist, and since the story is told from Nick’s point of view, we are seeing Jay through his eyes. The novel is an example of a first-person perspective in which another character telling the protagonist’s story – Nick tells Jay’s story. If Jay was telling his own story, he would also be a first-person narrator. 

When a narrator is speaking in the first-person, they will use words such as “I”, and “we”, as they are telling readers about events that they experienced themselves, or witnessed themselves. 

I mentioned last week that I tend to prefer stories are told in the third-person, and this is because I feel that the third-person perspective gives readers a broader story because the narrator is outside of the events looking in, and so the narrator is therefore more objective but a first-person narrator is speaking from their own experience, so their feelings will come into play, which means that the story we are told may be biased – this is where the concept of an “unreliable narrator” comes into play, and we must always be open to questioning how the story may be different if it was told by someone else. 

If we think about The Great Gatsby for a moment, it is a good example of a novel that could be argued to have an unreliable narrator. I’ve already said that readers experience Jay Gatsby through the eyes of Nick Carraway and while at times he despises Gatsby, there are also times that he admires him. Nick has sympathy for Gatsby and so readers most likely will too, however Nick does not have sympathy for Daisy or Tom, and he judges them harshly for their actions despite claiming he’s not judgemental, and despite overlooking Gatsby’s similar behaviour which is hypocritical – but it’s easier to overlook behaviour from someone you sympathise with than someone you do not. 

I would also argue that it is crucial that The Great Gatsby is told from Nick’s perspective. I don’t think this novel would work if it wasn’t. Nick is the mediator between the readers and Gatsby, and because Nick sees Gatsby as a layered and complex man, who he can both admire and despise, readers do too. I feel that it could be argued that Gatsby would not be as dynamic or sympathetic of a character if he was the narrator because if he was the one talking of his misdeeds and then of his better qualities, he could risk coming across to readers as an obnoxious man who is boastful and simply trying to justify his actions, but having Nick speak of Gatsby’s admirable qualities allows Gatsby to become layered, to become dynamic, and somewhat redeemable, having Nick tell his story means that he gets to be a mysterious entity rather than an absurdly rich man talking about himself. Nick telling Gatsby’s story of doomed romance makes him a tragically romantic character, but if Gatsby was speaking, would he simply be a rich man who is pining and whining? Maybe. 

Why is it important to know about the first-person narrator? 

Well, as always I think it’s important to understand how different types of narration can impact a story. Narration is a key aspect of fiction, and types of narration are key aspects of literary theory and understanding literary theory can only deepen one’s understanding and enjoyment of a text. I say this every week, and I will continue to do so because it is true.

If we think about the above example I gave, The Great Gatsby is a text that highlights how much of an impact the type of narration used can have because as I stated above, I think it can be argued that having Nick Carraway narrate that text is crucial to the text working, I don’t think it would be as dynamic, layered, and impactful of a text if it was wasn’t told from Nick’s first-person perspective, so even though I do generally prefer stories that are told in the third-person, I can recognise texts in which a first-person perspective would be the better choice, and in my opinion, The Great Gatsby is one of those texts – if you want to hear what else I have to say about this novel then check of September’s Book Of The Month discussion. 

I hadn’t planned it in advance that this week’s Theory Thursday would align so perfectly with September’s Book Of The Month selection. It was a coincidence that both posts would be published today as this Thursday just happened to be the last day of September, and I like to post my #bookofthemonth discussions on the last day of every month. I also hadn’t planned for this week’s aspect of literary theory to be such a huge factor of the text I am discussing. It was another coincidence that last week I decided I would begin to explain the different types of narration and first-person narration just happened to be prominent in my Book Of The Month selected novel. 

This has been Theory Thursday. This has been a breakdown of the first-person perspective. As always if anyone has any comments or questions, I’d love it if you’d drop them below. 

Here’s to Friday Eve. 

Kate xo. 

The Great Gatsby.

Hello everyone and welcome to September’s #bookofthemonth discussion. 

If you’ve been following the blog and my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you’ll already know that today I am discussing F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. 

Let’s dive into September’s Book Of The Month. 

The Great Gatsby has often been referred to as the Great American Novel. Our narrator Nick Carraway tells his tale, recounting the events of the summer he spent in West Egg Long Island. While Nick is our narrator, I think it is fair to say that this book is about the millionaire Jay Gatsby, as Nick is telling us about his interactions with the mysterious man. 

This novel is set in the Jazz Age, so it is understandably filled with money, glitz, and glamour, but I think that ultimately, this book tells a poignant tale and at the end of the day, the moral of this story is that the Great American Dream is unattainable. I also think that while this statement is extremely simplistic, and doesn’t do justice to Fitzgerald’s nuanced tale, simply put, this story is an example of how money cannot buy happiness because while Jay Gatsby is a very wealthy man who has attained great wealth and status, his dream is to be with his one true love. 

Before I talk about Fitzgerald’s writing style, I am going to touch on how symbolic I feel that this novel has become as I feel the name Gatsby has become ingrained in pop culture. I think that when one thinks of The Great Gatsby, they automatically associate the novel with glitz, glamour, flapper dresses, and decedent parties filled with champagne. How many Gatsby themed parties have you heard of? I have heard of many, even if people have never read the book, they have an image of what The Great Gatsby is, and I think this is one of reasons why this novel has become a canonical classic. 

I think it is interesting to note that the name Gatsby has become associated with opulence, because I think that this novel is one that is often misunderstood. While Gatsby is wealthy and he is an opulent showman, this is not all he is, this is simply a part of his very complex persona. Fitzgerald often commented that people who reviewed the book hadn’t the slightest clue what it is about. Many people first experience this text when they are in secondary school (high school), and I personally think that this is a text that needs to be read in college, because there is not enough time on the secondary school curriculum to allow students to really engage with this text and understand it. It is not something you can read quickly at fifteen or sixteen and appreciate, it will fly over your head. You need to sit down and enjoy this book, it needs to be taken in. I’ve read this book many times now and it is only now that I am in my twenties that I feel I am really appreciating it for the classic that it is. 

A key aspect to this novel is Fitzgerald’s choice to write it in the first-person. This story is narrated by Nick, which means we are experiencing all events through Nick’s point of view. Now last Thursday I started to break down the different types of narrative. I started with the third-person and this Theory Thursday I am going to be talking about the first-person narrative and why it is important. While I personally prefer stories that are told in the third-person, I would say that it is crucial that The Great Gatsby is told from Nick’s perspective. Nick is the meeting point between Gatsby and the readers, we are seeing Gatsby through Nick’s eyes. Nick had mixed feelings about Gatsby, he admires Gatsby, he praises Gatsby, and at times he despises Gatsby. A major theme in this novel is the idea of the unattainable Great American Dream. In my opinion, there is an inescapable feeling of melancholy throughout this novel, because this novel showcases how so many people hope for that dream, they work towards it, they reach for it, they make sacrifices for it, but that dream remains unreachable and unattainable for most and this harsh fact leaves people feeling aimless and disappointed. 

Fitzgerald uses a lot of motifs in this novel. What is a motif? A motif is a recurring idea in a work that lends itself to the overall theme of the work. I would argue that the novel’s key theme is the idea that great dreams are in fact unattainable and this fact leads Nick Carraway to end up very angry and very disillusioned. The motifs that can be recognised in this novel are those of judgement, extreme wealth, infidelity, and facades. 

We make all of our decisions about what we think of Jay Gatsby based on what Nick thinks of him, because we are seeing him through Nick’s eyes. Gatsby does many things that one might consider immoral however Nick could also be called an unreliable narrator because at times he is biased and hypocritical, for example he judges other characters and their immoral actions differently to how he judges Gatsby and his actions because while at times he does criticise Gatsby, he also does sympathise with him and so in turn, readers sympathise with him too. This point is something I will elaborate further on in this week’s Theory Thursday because the idea of the unreliable narrator is one that is unavoidable when you’re dealing with a first-person narrative, because when someone is telling us how they saw something, that view will always be biased in some way because it is impossible to be impartial when you’re directly involved. 

I would say that Fitzgerald is quite a vivid writer and he has captured the Jazz Age in a very stark, tangible way. I think my above point about how much the name Gatsby has become associated with opulence proves this because Fitzgerald did paint a very clear picture of extreme wealth. Fitzgerald doesn’t only describe extravagant wealth, he also paints a bleak picture of the realities that the average person must deal with. I think a perfect example of this is the valley of ashes. The place is dusty, smog filled, and dim. The dull, ashy place is described as “crumbling”, the “powdery air” makes the place feel truly depressing. This “grotesque garden…where ashes take forms of houses.”, is a stark contrast from Gatsby’s warm, exciting house, and readers can easily see the class divide that existed, and still exists today in America. 

In my opinion it is Fitzgerald’s writing style, specifically his use of vivid imagery that has made The Great Gatsby so memorable. Fitzgerald created a vivid world that invited readers in. We become enthralled by the decadence of Gatsby’s wealth but appalled by the conditions that other people have to live in. Gatsby is a complex man. He has created an intricate facade. Behind his wealth, he has cheated, and lied, and bootlegged his way to the life he has now, but despite all his wealth, and status, there are lines he cannot cross, battles he cannot win, and his doomed romantic plight is what makes The Great Gatsby a tragic romantic tale all about the loss of dreams, a novel that leaves us feeling melancholy and yearning for something, even if we don’t know what. 

There are some uncomfortable aspects to this novel, particularly some of the beliefs held by the character Tom Buchanan. He has beliefs and uses language that many readers will find offensive today – that is the point. We are not supposed to like Tom. He is the least sympathetic character in the book. He is aggressive, and he is unkind, and he is a very intimidating, hulking figure. His wife Daisy, whom Jay loves, is beautiful, and elegant. She is a true golden girl however many would call her a very manipulative and selfish character. I don’t think that anyone is particularly likeable in this novel. Nick Carraway states that Tom, Daisy, and Jay are “careless people” who “toss others aside”. This is true however Nick isn’t perfect either. Ultimately I would say that this is a novel about flawed people and their hopes and dreams. They have achieved great riches but there is still something missing, something unattainable, and it is a novel that sticks with you. It is a novel that I know I will read again, and again because each time I will find a new aspect to focus on, a new idea to discuss, and something new will resonate with me in a way it didn’t before. 

There is a reason why this novel is considered The Great American novel, and I think it is a novel that everyone should read at least once – and then again, and again, so that eventually it is a novel that we understand. 

It is a great coincidence that this Book Of The Month discussion occurred during #bannedbooksweek. It didn’t occur to me when I was selecting September’s #bookofthemonth.

I simply wanted to read a classic novel in September as it is the month where everyone heads back to school and off to college, however I am glad that I just happened to choose this novel, and that this month’s Book Of The Month discussion arrived during #bannedbooksweek. I don’t believe that this novel was ever outrightly banned, but attempts were made to censor the book due to some of the language, profanity, etc. 

Every year during Banned Books Week, we celebrate our right to read. I touched on this over on my Instagram. I have a degree in English Literature, and I cannot tell you how many books I studied that were banned at one point in time. Books such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Ulysses, The Call of the Wild, Lady Chatterley’s Lover – to name only a few. These are beautiful, layered, complex, nuanced, and educational texts. They are important. Do they cover uncomfortable topics? Do they make us uncomfortable? Yes. That is the point. Literature reflects our society, all of society. The good, the bad, and the things we’d rather pretend never happened. We cannot rewrite history, we cannot ignore history, we must listen, we must learn, and we must read. So here’s to our right to reading. It is so important. 

This has been my discussion of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. This has been September’s Book Of The Month. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you read The Great Gatsby? Let me know what you think of the novel because I love hearing your thoughts.

Make sure to keep an eye on my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), because I will be announcing October’s #bookofthemonth very soon. 

Kate xo. 

Theatre Is Back!

Hello everyone and welcome to another Friday’s Choice. 

Another week has flown by and thankfully this week was a great one. 

Today’s #fridayschoice is all about the fact that theatre is back and I couldn’t be more excited about it. 

I like to think that my Friday’s Choice posts are a little bit more informal. I like to talk about shows that I’m enjoying, or poems that I’ve read recently. I share snaps of theatres or of my programme collection sometimes. I share all of the literature mementoes that I’ve accumulated over the years. Every week is different. I am really looking forward to October because there is going to be so much to discuss here on katelovesliterature.com and I feel like because October is spooky season and there is so much literature that is suited to this time of year, my Friday’s Choice posts are going to be spilling over with variety. 

Before we move into spooky season though, I want to talk about how it feels like we are in a new season of theatre. Shows are opening. Musicals are touring again. The Dublin Theatre Festival is happening. There are so many wonderful shows happening. I feel like my Instagram feed is constantly full of actors, directors, crew members, etc., all heading to work because there is a show happening again finally. Theatre is back and I couldn’t be happier about it. 

If you follow me on Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will know that I was very excited because last week I purchased tickets to go and see The Lion King. The amazing musical will be in the Bord Gáis from December, and I cannot wait to see it. I’ve seen it once before but it’s been a long time so I am thrilled that I will get the opportunity to see it again. 

The first show that I will be going to see after all this time is Rocky Horror. October can’t come fast enough. I just know that when I get to the theatre I will be so excited, and so happy to be there, and so appreciative of the fact that I can go to theatre again that I just might cry. I usually always shed a few tears in the theatre, and that is usually because there will always be a moment in a show that moves me so much that I well up. Theatre is so powerful. It resonates in a way that is so hard to properly describe and that feeling of being in the theatre and watching a live performance, that electricity, that atmosphere, it is one of the best feelings there is. 

I have other shows lined up for 2022 including Les Mis and Beauty and the Beast. 

I’m sure that I will add more shows to my calendar as time goes on but these four are a really good start. I’m very lucky to able to attend so many shows. I’m very fortunate that I live so close to so many wonderful theatres because it means that I have access to some really incredible performances, and I love seeing people’s ideas, and creativity explored onstage. 

I don’t only attend musicals. I really enjoy plays too and I’m hoping to go and see some new and exciting plays as time goes on. There have been some really interesting, new plays being put on in theatres and I’ve spoken a few times here on Katelovesliterature.com and over on my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), about how I think it’s wonderful that some performances such as those put on recently in the Abbey Theatre, were made available for streaming. I think that this is something that should be done more often because not everyone is able to physically access a theatre and I think that having the option to experience literature, creativity, new ideas, and touching stories from home is remarkable. I do think that buzz of being in the theatre is very hard to replicate however if I was watching a show from home, which I have done and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing so, I would rather see the show and create a new atmosphere at home than not see it at all. 

I’m really looking forward to seeing what plays I will hopefully be able to add to my “going to see that” list. It can be challenging sometimes, especially when the schedule is busy but now that more and more shows can go ahead, I’m so excited to start being in the audience again. 

This has been Friday’s Choice and it really is just a very happy, appreciation post all about how delighted I am that theatre is back. Theatres had to close their doors for a time, and I know for certain that I will never take seeing a show for granted again. 

Are you a theatre nerd like me? Have you got shows lined up? What’s next on your “to see” list? Drop me a comment because I’d love to know. 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. 

Kate xo.  

Father of the Bride.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another Movie Monday.

I couldn’t be more excited for this week because I am finally moving onwards and upwards after two very long, stressful weeks.

The past two weeks were extremely stressful and every evening, I was watching comfort movies – movies that always make me feel better no matter what.

I also asked on my stories (@katelovesliterature), for people to let me know what movies they consider to be classic movies.

A movie that I consider to be a classic is Father of the Bride.

The movie was released in 1991 and directed by Charles Shyer.

I watched this movie when I was feeling very low and it made me laugh and it actually made me cry – in a good way.

So let’s dive into #moviemonday.

Plot.

The plot of this movie is very simple. An overprotective father, George Banks, played by the incredible Steve Martin, must learn to adjust to the fact that his daughter Annie is no longer a little girl. She is a woman, a woman who is about to get married.

The movie follows the Banks family as they prepare for Annie’s wedding to Bryan. They meet the in-laws, they hire a wedding planner, and everyone is very excited – except George.

It is a very straightforward plot but that does make the movie any less funny or any less touching.

Characters.

Our main character is George Banks.

The movie is narrated by George Banks and in his opening statement, he sums up his character perfectly. George Banks is a concerned parent. He likes seatbelts, curfews, bedtimes, he likes his children to call him when they get somewhere so that he knows they got to their destination safely. He is very loving, but very overprotective.

I am going to talk about this loving, overprotective father character in more detail when I am discussing the movie’s main theme because when it comes to overprotective fathers in movies, I feel that there is a fine line between endearing and controlling and this is a line that George Banks never crosses – this is something that I appreciate, and as I said, I will expand on this in themes.

Nina Banks is George’s wife. She is the mother of the bride and she could not be more excited for her daughter, and she also could not be more exasperated by her husband’s antics. Nina is a lovely character. She is warm, and kind. She is rational. She is the perfect counter-point to George because her calm, collected attitude works perfectly to balance out the uptight, and prone to overreact George. Nina is aware that Annie is no longer a little girl, she is proud of her daughter and excited for her as she enters this new chapter in her life. Diane Keaton plays Nina, and in my humble opinion, I think she plays her wonderfully as Nina Banks has always been one of my favourite movie characters.

Annie Banks is the daughter of George and Nina, and while George is our main character and it is his story we are following, the plot and the plot’s themes could not happen without Annie. Annie returning from studying abroad and announcing that she is engaged is what sets our plot in motion. Annie is by all accounts the perfect daughter. She is kind, she is caring, she is a warm big sister. She dreams of being an architect which tells us that she is artistic and she loves basketball. Annie is not an obnoxiously perfect character and she is not a boring one either but as I said, the story we are watching is George’s, he is the father of the bride so therefore Annie is set up as a girl who has grown up into a lovely adult, and she is not making some rash decision. Is it quick? Yes, but Annie has been set up as an intelligent character with a good head on her shoulders and she is not someone who does reckless things. She is in love and she is getting married and now she must navigate this new chapter of her life with her father, who is desperate to cling on to the last chapter. Annie is also very career driven, and she ensures that Bryan is supportive of her career before she agrees to marry him.

Bryan MacKenzie is Annie’s husband-to-be. He is kind, caring, intelligent, and honest. He loves Annie more than anything. He admires and supports Annie’s passion and talent for architecture. He seems like the perfect son-in-law however unfortunately for him, no one is good enough for George Banks’ little girl.

Frank the wedding coordinator is fabulous. Martin Short provides even more wonderful comic relief to this already funny story. His outlandish (and expensive) wedding design ideas clashing against George’s reluctance to wedding plan at every turn makes for some very entertaining scenes.

So with our main characters set up, let’s dive into themes.

Themes.

I think it goes without saying that the movie’s prominent theme is the father/daughter relationship and that is the theme that I am going to be discussing. This entire movie revolves around the fact that George must accept that Annie has grown up. He has to let go even though he does not want to.

George loves his children more than anything. He is a wholesome, hands on father. Nothing makes him happier than when he is with his family, his wife, his daughter, and his son. He only wants the best for his children, he wants them to be safe and happy.

George believes in spending quality time with his children – we see this as we can see how he has played basketball in the backyard with Annie since she was a toddler.

I mentioned earlier that something that I really appreciate about Father of the Bride is that the movie does not cross the line from endearing to controlling and this is very important.

I sometimes think that movies that depict the father/daughter relationship struggle with this line. Many movies depict controlling fathers that stifle their daughters and disrespect their right to privacy and trust, all in the name of being an ‘overprotective father who simply loves his daughter so much.’

George is not one of those fathers. He is not controlling. He does not disrespect Annie. He does not belittle her. He is proud of her, he is proud of the person she is, he is proud of her academic achievements, he is proud of her dreams, and he roots for her to reach them. He does not disrespect her privacy. At no point is George Banks a controlling father – he is a worried father. He is a father who struggles to accept the fact that his little girl is getting married and moving out. He does not want it to happen – not because he does not want her to live her life, but because he is going to miss her. Annie embarking on this new chapter means that there will be many changes in the Banks house.

George will no longer see her every single day, she will not be at the dinner table for breakfast and dinner every single day. Her room will be emptier as she has taken some of her things to her new place. She will not live there anymore, she will be living somewhere else, with her husband. George knows Bryan is a good man, he knows Annie will be very happy, he wants that for her. He is just simply not ready to lose her. The time went too fast.

Does he overreact at the news? Yes. Does he argue with Frank’s outlandish wedding ideas? Yes. Does he glare at his perfectly nice son-in-law? Yes. He does all of these things, but they are funny, and they are endearing, and as an only child, I can confirm that they are accurate. George Banks is an endearing, doting father and there is no point in the movie where he crosses into controlling territory and this is something that I really appreciate because in my opinion, it allows audiences to relate to, sympathise with, and laugh at George Banks and his antics and at no point are we having to excuse controlling behaviour in order to enjoy the plot.

The key scene in this movie, in my opinion, is the scene where Annie declares that the wedding is off after an argument with Bryan. George should be delighted. We think he should be happy after all he has been hoping that Annie saying she is engaged was just a dream. There will be no spoilers here – go and watch the movie, but I will say that George’s reaction to this fight, and his following scenes with Annie, and Bryan, are perhaps the three most touching scenes in the movie.

Despite all his tie-opening, and eye-rolling at Frank, despite him wishing that his little girl was still ten, in this scene, he does not rejoice, he does not make sarcastic quips, he does not declare that he never liked Bryan anyways. In this scene, he is a caring, comforting father and despite all of his comedic overreactions up until this point – here he is a calm, reassuring, voice of reason and I really love this scene. No matter how old we get, our fathers will always be our fathers. It does not matter that Annie is getting married, she will always adore her father, she will always need him, and I think that it is in this scene that George realises that while yes things will change and he will have to adjust, he will never truly lose Annie.

I have loved Father of the Bride since I was young. My Mam showed it to me for the first time when I was maybe ten. It was always just a funny movie that we watched together because we both love Steve Martin. I watched this movie for the first time in a while recently, and while I still laughed, for the first time I cried. I feel as though I now understand this movie on a much deeper level, and I found the touching moments so much more touching. I said it before and I will say it again, the father/daughter relationship can be a very complex one, which is why I think it is a theme in so many movies and I feel that Father of the Bride presents this relationship and this theme of struggling with letting your child grow up and accepting their new chapters in life very realistically. I feel that this movie presents this theme in a healthy, funny, and very touching way and it was very enjoyable to watch.

Structure.

Father of the Bride is a fast paced movie. It is not a long movie, perfect for when you want something lighthearted and fun, but it still has its touching moments.

As I said, George narrates this movie so there are a few montages that are narrated by George’s voiceover – we watch the events while George complains about them which makes for a very funny contrast.

I have spoken a lot about how I think that a movie’s structure can often match the movie’s plot and I think that this can be said for Father of the Bride. The movie is fast paced because the characters are planning for a wedding that is only a few months away. The characters are busy and excited, so therefore the pacing is busy and excited but it never feels rushed and George’s exasperated, steady narration keeps audiences in the loop. In my opinion, it is very straightforward, but very effective storytelling.

There are a few montages as I said, and they show the passage of time but also George’s thoughts. There is one particularly moving instance where George is reflecting on Annie’s childhood and we see her playing basketball with him through the years – another touch that I enjoyed is the fact that Annie is nearly always in red. As a toddler she has a red bow, as a young child a red hoodie, as a teen in braces a red bobbin, and now as an adult she is wearing a beautiful red jacket. I love little details like that and if you are a movie fan like me then it is things like this that you will appreciate.

Final Thoughts.

My final thoughts are that I am so happy that I watched this movie again. I enjoyed it so much, I laughed, I cried and I feel that now I relate to, and appreciate this movie in a new, and deeper way.

I would highly recommend it.

Have you seen Father of the Bride? What do you think? Let me know.

This has been Movie Monday. I hope you all enjoyed it. Here’s to a new week.

Kate xo.

Dirty Dancing.

Hello everyone and welcome back to Movie Monday. Here’s to a new week.

Today I am talking about Dirty Dancing. Did any of you guess the movie? On my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), I said that I chose the picture of the lake for a reason. Well in Dirty Dancing, Baby and Johnny practice their iconic lift in the water because the best place to practice lifts is in the water. It was a vague enough hint but I didn’t want to make it too obvious.

I also asked people on my Instagram stories to let me know what movies they consider to be classic movies because I love hearing other people’s opinions and funnily enough, someone’s answer was Dirty Dancing and I think it would be fair to say that lots of people consider this to be a classic movie.

Let’s dive into #moviemonday.

Dirty Dancing was released in Ireland in 1987 and the movie was directed by Emile Ardolino.

Plot.

This movie follows Baby (Frances) Houseman as she goes on summer vacation with her parents and her sister. It is the summer of 1963 and Baby and her family are off to Kellerman’s, an upscale resort in the Catskills.

At Kellerman’s Baby meets Johnny Castle the dancer. At first it appears that the two have absolutely nothing in common but when Baby is the only person who can step in and be Johnny’s dance partner at a gig he cannot miss, the two begin spending more and more time together. As rehearsals go on, the two talk and bond and they learn that they may just like each other after all. In fact, it is more than just liking each other and this summer is life-changing for Baby in more ways than one.

Characters.

Baby Houseman is our main protagonist. Baby is young and naive and when the movie begins we learn that she is getting ready to head off to college in the fall so this summer vacation is likely one of the last she will have with her sister and her parents. Baby idolises her father and Doctor Houseman dotes on her in return. He is her hero, she looks up to him, she wants to be like him. Baby is very smart and very kind. She wants to change the world but before this summer at Kellerman’s, it is clear that she lived a sheltered life and it is here where she learns about the problems that people face and the unfairness in the world and most importantly, she learns about who she is as a person and who she wants to be. Her worldview is altered at Kellerman’s but this is something that I will discuss more in the themes section of my discussion.

Johnny Castle is our male lead. He is a dancer. He is part of the working-class staff at Kellerman’s. Johnny is kind and hardworking but he also far more cynical than Baby. He knows how the world works. He has faced unfairness before and he will again as the movie goes on. He is a talented dancer and a fantastic teacher even though in the beginning he was a bit gruff. As the movie goes on, Johnny becomes more and more impressed by Baby and she also changes his worldview – again I will discuss this more when I discuss themes.

Penny is a very important character and while Baby and Johnny are our lead couple, and it is mostly Baby who has a maturity arc, her arc would not be able to happen without Penny as it is Penny who sets the plot in motion. Early on in the movie, it is revealed that Penny is pregnant and she is unable to afford to have the baby. She and Johnny are extremely worried because the only time she can get to a doctor is on the same night as their gig in another hotel, a gig they cannot miss because if they do then they will lose their salary and they will not get booked again for the following summer. There is no one else who can fill in for Penny which is why Baby is the one to do it. Penny is hardworking and like Johnny, she is looked down upon because she is part of the working-class staff. Penny is cynical and like Johnny, she is all too aware of the unfairness in the world. Penny has had an upbringing that was the opposite to Baby’s. Penny has been fending for herself since the age of sixteen and so she cannot lose her job. She is a very talented dancer, she used to be a rockette, and she also helps to get Baby ready for the important performance.

Jake Houseman is Baby’s father and he is also key to the story. Jake is a doctor and he is Baby’s hero. He is a kind father, he seems to be a calm and loving man, and it is clear that he dotes on Baby. He is proud of her and he trusts her. This is made clear when he gives her the money she asks for ($250) even though she cannot tell him what it is for. The father/daughter relationship between Jake and Baby is a key part of this story and again, I will elaborate more on this in themes.

We have a selection of ensemble characters, Baby’s mother, her sister Lisa, Robbie the waiter, Max the owner of Kellerman’s and Neil his grandson. While all of the characters contribute to the story, I would suggest that the most important characters are Baby, Johnny, Doctor Houseman, and Penny because these four are the four corners of the plot and it is these four characters that allow the movie’s themes to play out. So let’s discuss themes because Dirty Dancing touches on some very important ones.

Themes.

I love it when someone who has never seen Dirty Dancing says what they think the movie is about. Many people say it is a chick-flick or a rom-com and I suppose in some ways it is however, I would argue Dirty Dancing is actually a coming of age story because one of the movie’s key themes is the idea of becoming your own person with your own ideas and beliefs.

This movie touches on many important things, abortion, classism, sexism, hypocrisy, and individuality.

At Kellerman’s there is a class divide. There are the guests and the staff, of course this will happen at any resort but among the staff, there is another divide – the waiters and the dancers.

The waiters at Kellerman’s are students from Ivy League universities. Robbie is one of them. Max, the owner, tells these waiters that they are the best, they are good, intelligent, respectable young men and they are given orders to romance the daughters who come to stay.

The dancers on the other hand are told not to even look at the guests unless it is to provide dancing lessons. Johnny is not an Ivy League student who is choosing to do some summer work to earn a few extra dollars, he is depending on this income as it is the only one he has.

Robbie is considered to be a ‘better’ man than Johnny simply because of his college status however it is Robbie who is an arrogant, rude man. He tells Baby that ‘some people count and some people don’t’ and he is of the opinion that people like Johnny and Penny don’t count.

Robbie is the father of Penny’s baby but he claims that it could be anyone and you ‘never know with a girl like that.’ Robbie used Penny and he did not care what happened to her, he also knew that he would be able to walk away because people would most likely believe him over her.

Baby’s father even likes Robbie, he thinks he is an upstanding young man and before he learns the truth about him, he even gives him money towards college. Robbie appears to be the type of young man that Doctor Houseman would like his daughters to date, he is handsome and well-groomed. He knows how to charm parents and of course, he goes to an Ivy League college. He is like Doctor Houseman, or so we are lead to believe.

Johnny is always facing preconceived opinions and if we are being honest, his attitude likely does not help but the issue is that people already assume the worst of him and so therefore, he is always on the defensive but this only fuels people’s negative opinions of him. It is a classic case of people judging a book by its cover or in this case, by its status and background.

Baby spends a lot of time with Johnny, and as she gets to know him as a person, she learns that he is not like how others perceive him to be. He is used by the rich, older woman at Kellerman’s. They pay him to sleep with them and they treat him as nothing more than a shiny toy but Johnny needs the money so he puts up with it. He is not a perfect character, I don’t think anyone in this movie is but there are many instances where it is clear that Johnny knows about the real world and he knows what he can and cannot do – a great example is when Neil, who knows nothing about dancing, wants to dictate the last dance of the season. Baby is disappointed when Johnny allows Neil to be rude to him instead of telling Neil his ideas but Johnny knows that in order to keep the job that he needs, he has to do things Neil’s way.

Another important instance is when Baby’s father assumes that Johnny is responsible for Penny. He assumes that Johnny is the father of Penny’s baby and he is disgusted that Johnny would leave her to a false doctor. Johnny is not surprised by Doctor Houseman’s assumptions and he is so used to people thinking the worst of him that he does not bother to correct him – In that moment, Penny is more important and that brings us to a key point in the movie – Penny’s abortion.

Something that I love about Dirty Dancing is the way the movie handles Penny’s abortion. It is not debated. There is no big scene in which Penny has to defend or justify her choice. At no point does Baby, Johnny, or Doctor Houseman look down on or treat Penny badly because of her decision. It is Penny’s choice and Penny’s choice alone. The doctor she goes to see turns out to not be a real doctor and Penny is left gravely injured which causes Baby to rush and get her father to assist her. This movie came out in 1987 and yet I cannot think of a more relevant time to discuss this scene because of certain things that are happening in certain parts of the world. I’ll say this – banning abortion does not stop abortion. Banning abortion only stops safe abortions. If someone is desperate, they will find a way and back-alley abortions will rise and they can have extremely dangerous results – as shown in this scene.

Baby’s exposure to classism and unfairness causes her to reevaluate her upbringing and her opinion of her father and this theme of maturity and individuality is key to the movie.

The father/daughter relationship is very complex and Baby goes through a very difficult journey in this movie because the view she has of her father changes. He was once her hero and she viewed him through rose-tinted glasses and as this movie plays out, Baby sees that her father is not perfect and in fact, she does not like everything he does. She does not agree with everything he does and as she changes and develops her own opinions and begins to break away from the mould, he becomes colder with her. He does not like the changes, he struggles with them, he wants her to stay away from Johnny, he feels that the girl he trusted, the girl who was just like him is changing.

Baby is changing but it is not a bad thing. One of the key scenes in this movie is when Baby confronts her father. He tells her that she is not the person he thought she was and she responds by saying that he isn’t either. She tells him that he taught her to be good and kind to everyone and he always said that everyone deserves a fair shake but Baby tells him that she has learned he did not mean everyone, he meant people who are just like him.

This conversation cause Doctor Houseman to cry. He is forced to look into the mirror. He must accept that in some ways, he has been a hypocrite, and he must also accept that his daughter, his baby, is no longer a little girl. She is a young woman and she will speak her mind and she will have her own opinions and sometimes they will be different from his and that has to be okay.

It is a new chapter when a father must accept that his little girl has become a woman. The dynamic changes. It is also very hard when a daughter learns that her hero is not perfect. It is a difficult time but I believe that it is a time that everyone goes through and Baby goes through it in this movie, she has that experience where the rose-tinted view gets muddied and she matures because of it. This is why I would say this is a coming of age movie because Baby’s mindset changes from daddy’s girl to independent young woman who can accept her father is not perfect but loves him anyway.

Structure.

Dirty Dancing is a fast-paced movie. The Houseman family arrive at Kellerman’s and immediately Max the owner begins to breakdown the rules to the staff – this sets up our internal class divide and Baby seeing Johnny dance and clearly being attracted to him lets the audience know that Baby and Johnny are going to be love interests.

There is a lot of exposition done in the first half an hour. We are aware of the issues among staff, we see that Baby looks up to her father, we learn that Penny is pregnant and needs someone to fill in. This issue is what sets our plot into motion and we move from set-up to action.

Baby learning to dance is when the action begins. There are a few montages in this movie which function as a way to move time along, we see her improving, and we see that her and Johnny are getting along better. There are a few moments when the pace slows down and this allows Baby and Johnny to bond – for example the scene in the water where they practice the lift, and it is quite realistic I think because Baby does not magically become this amazing dancer, the goal is simply to get her decent enough to pull off one dance reasonably well and this is achieved.

I also really like that the performance at the hotel is just that – it is decent. It is not amazing, and there are some bumps but they get through it and they save Penny and Johnny’s employment. I feel this was a smart move because the goal – getting through that gig- has been achieved but also there is something left for the finale, the iconic lift.

I would say that this movie is top heavy because a lot happens in the introduction and then the action is filled with dancing, learning, and bonding but then we get a quick and busy climax. There are a lot of moving pieces in this movie and we know at some point that everything will come to a boil eventually and of course it does.

Everything spills over, a rich lady sees Johnny and Baby together, Johnny gets accused of stealing and of course everyone just assumes he is guilty but Baby knows he is innocent. She has to decide whether or not to speak up because doing so reveals their relationship and then her putting herself out there and arguing with her father seems pointless because Johnny is proved to be innocent but he still has to leave because of his relationship with Baby and for the first time, she learns how unfair life can be even though she did the right thing. It is a hard lesson and she learns it quite close to the end of the movie but Johnny has learned too. He becomes less cynical because no one has ever put themselves out like that for him before. So while Baby’s world-view changes, so does Johnny’s and the final scene is the final dance and it is filled with revelations because everyone’s growth can be clearly seen in this final scene which makes for a very, very satisfying finale. ‘No one puts Baby in a corner!’. No spoilers though – go watch the movie.

Final Thoughts.

Dirty Dancing is a great movie. The story is compelling, moving, funny, and heartfelt. I feel that this movie, while it touches on some very important themes and issues, is also relatable because I think everyone can relate to the idea of coming of age and realising that things are not always as they seem. The characters are engaging, the cast is fantastic, and of course, this movie is set to a classic score. Who could forget the song ‘Time Of My Life?’ – I’m still humming it.

So this has been Movie Monday. I hope you enjoyed it. Have you seen Dirty Dancing? What do you think? Would you consider it a classic movie? Let me know.

Kate xo.

Comfort Shows – The Golden Girls.

Hello everyone and welcome to Friday’s Choice.

I’ll be honest and say that I have not had the best week. If you follow my Instagram (@katelovesliterature), then you will have seen that I shared a quote that I love. ”Every kick is a boost.” – This is one of my favourite quotes by Rue McClanahan, who of course played the brilliant Blanche in The Golden Girls.

My Irish mammy always says ”what’s for you won’t pass you”, so even though it has not been the best week and I don’t feel this way now, I know that I will look back on this week and be glad that things worked out as they did.

All of this brings me to this week’s #fridayschoice. I have been thinking about comfort shows, shows that we watch when we are feeling down. I’ve been speaking to family and friends about this because I wanted to get some opinions and almost everyone I spoke to had a show or a movie or a book that they go back to when they are feeling down.

My comfort show, I’ve discovered, is The Golden Girls. Every night this week I have been watching The Golden Girls on Disney plus and it really does help me to relax and clear my head before I go to sleep.

I love this show for many reasons. It is nostalgic for me. I used to watch it a lot with my grandmother when I was younger. It is funny. The quick wit is fantastic and I believe that the character Sophia is the definition of sarcasm. The four leading ladies are a dream team. They each play their part perfectly and the chemistry the group had is something that is rare to come by.

I plan on talking about this show in more detail at a later date because I think it is an incredible show. The writing is fantastic, the storylines that the show covered were at times very powerful and poignant – I have a specific episode in mind that I plan on discussing in more detail. Most importantly, The Golden Girls is brilliant because of what it does for female representation onscreen.

There are still conversations about having older women onscreen in 2021, and many actresses have spoken about the struggles they face in casting after forty.

The Golden Girls is a show about older women and they are not the butt of the joke. They are lively, nuanced, fun, well-rounded characters who live full lives that are full of ups and downs, laughs and tears. They are interesting, dynamic, vivacious and yes, sexy. They make growing older look fabulous and it is. Yes growing older can come with new challenges, but life does not stop once you pass thirty and this show reflects that.

I adore Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Bea Arthur, and Estelle Getty. They are wonderful, funny, talented actresses who can sing, and dance, and play instruments, and they fill the show with heart. It is actresses like these four that made me adore acting because what they do onscreen is marvellous.

I even love the theme song – ‘Thank you for being a friend’, and every time the opening credits play, starting with that shot of a plane flying through the orange sky at sunset, I feel better. I feel calm and cozy and my ideal way of watching this show is when I am snuggled up with a blanket with some tea or coffee, and sometimes even a little treat and while a tv show cannot fix a problem, it does take my mind off of it and it makes me feel a little bit better.

The reason that I wanted to talk about comfort shows is because I think the idea of a comfort show demonstrates how important the arts can be. A book, movie, or show can be so much more than ‘just’ a book or ‘just’ a movie because of what they can do for people. They can move people and make people laugh or people can relate and feel less alone or a show can even make you feel better on a bad day. Literature and the arts can do so much for so many people and this is why I am so passionate about the arts and about literature, and why I created Katelovesliterature.com.

If I was to talk about all the things that literature and the arts have done for me, I would be typing forever so for now I’m starting with comfort shows.

The Golden Girls is funny, witty, heartfelt, and so ahead of its time. I will talk about this show again in the future but for now I will simply say if you are ever having a bad day, I would highly recommend watching The Golden Girls because if you are like me then it might just bring a smile to your face too.

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Have you got any comfort shows, books, or movies? Is there a piece that brightens your day? Let me know, I’d love to know.

Kate xo.

Why I Love Musicals.

Hello everyone and welcome back to another Friday’s Choice. Last week I talked about Virgin River on Netflix which you should go and check out if you haven’t already. Today’s #fridayschoice is going to be all about why I love musicals.

I think that it is obvious from my Theatre Throwback posts that I have spent a lot of time at the theatre watching musicals. I cannot wait to get back to the theatre and I know that the next time I get to watch a musical, I will be glowing with excitement.

Today’s Friday’s Choice is a little bit more personal because I am giving you all an insight into something that I love.

I think that when it comes to musicals, they seem to split people’s opinions. I don’t think I have met anyone who had a middling opinion on musicals, perhaps it is has just been my experience and I do not wish to make sweeping statements but whenever the topic of musicals has come up in conversation, my experience has always been that people tell me that they love musicals or they hate them. There has not been much in-between.

Something that has always struck me as interesting is that whenever someone tells me that they hate musicals (which is fine by the way, we all have our own interests), they tend to mention movie musicals as examples. Now there is nothing wrong with movie musicals, but I don’t think they are the right thing to base one’s opinions about musicals off of. A movie musical that has been adapted to suit a cinema screen is very, very different to a musical that is being performed live onstage, and I will be honest and say that I do not think all musicals are suited to movie adaptations because without the live element, the concept sometimes does not translate well onto the screen and then the movie musical sometimes does not make sense.

I have had people tell me that they don’t enjoy everyone bursting into song which is pretty key to a musical. I think that when you watch a musical live onstage, the bursting into song does not feel so jarring as it sometimes does in movies. In live shows, the orchestra is always playing and you can hear the introduction to the song, and because in musicals, the songs function as a way to share more of the story and move the story forward, the songs seem so much more natural which makes sense because they’re in their natural element and I think that when watching live theatre, some of the most beautiful and emotional moments in the musical happen in the songs.

I have been watching musicals for as long as I can remember. I would say that my family is rather musical, there are people who play lots of different instruments and I went to singing classes when I was very young. We were all always in the choir, things like that and my grandmother especially loved to sing. When I was little we would watch things like My Fair Lady and Oliver! so I have enjoyed musicals since I was very young and as I got older and started taking drama classes more seriously, I began to appreciate musicals on a deeper level too.

I love musicals because they are fun. Some shows have the most fun and upbeat scores and being in the theatre watching a show like Legally Blonde or Mamma Mia is so much fun because the energy is upbeat and the atmosphere in the theatre is amazing. There is a buzz in the air and I don’t think that feeling can be recreated anywhere else.

I think that there is a magical quality to live theatre – which I know, I know, that sounds cliché, but I think it is true. I think that the feeling you get when watching live theatre is almost indescribable. When you are waiting for the curtain to rise and you can hear the orchestra play a few bars before they begin playing the overture, there is such an incredible energy in the theatre. Everyone is excited. The lights have dimmed. Everyone is eagerly anticipating the performance and then it begins.

I love musicals because I love to be moved. I think that some of the most beautiful moments happen in songs. There is something about the way that music can capture an emotion that words cannot. I adore music. I adore reading sheet music. I love how powerful and moving and personal music can be. Everyone has a favourite song and I will bet there is always a reason behind why it is their favourite. There have been times when music has moved me to tears and I think that when a piece of art touches you on that level, it is very special.

It is great to enjoy a musical. It is great to walk away and say ‘I had a great time, that was brilliant.’

I think it is another thing entirely to walk away feeling moved. When a show resonates with you or you find it relatable or touching, that is the best feeling because the show becomes more than just a show.

I love musicals because visually, they are stunning. I am always so impressed by the production. The staging, the costumes, the sets, the dancers, the ensemble. A musical is composed of many moving parts and I have great admiration for anyone who works onstage and behind-the-scenes because everyone who plays a part in making a show happen is extremely talented and together all those components create something incredible.

Musicals are a little bit of a spectacle. I think there is a certain opulence in musicals that should be just accepted as a given. It is not the realism that is created in movies. A musical is a very immersive experience because the actors onstage will bounce off of the energy of the audience. Anything can happen live. Props can break, sometimes there are mishaps, there will always be rustling in the audience and so even though the actors perform the same script again and again, it is still a different show every time.

I think that musicals are a great way to appreciate all different aspects of the arts, if you love dancing then you will love the dancing in the show. Some shows are known for their incredible dance sequences. If you love music then what could be better than a musical? There are so many different, amazing songs and I think that sometime on Katelovesliterature.com I will talk about some of my favourite scores in more detail. If you love acting and usually prefer traditional plays, then I would say to give musicals a chance because there are some incredibly talented actors who have blown me away when I watched them live. Acting onstage is very different to acting onscreen so if you have a movie musical in your head I would say to forget about the movie. Set aside that expectation and go and enjoy live performances.

Of course I understand that tickets can be expensive and sometimes there are shows that I would love to see but can’t. What I will say though is whenever I know a show is coming that I know I absolutely do want to see – not a casual ‘oh that might be nice.’ – but a proper, ‘oh my goodness, I can’t miss that.’, then I will save up or maybe I will get the tickets for my birthday or for Christmas and any time I have spent the money on theatre tickets, it has always been money well spent because I have never had a bad night at the theatre. There are also different seat options and sometimes there are deals about so if it is something you love then keep an eye out for things like that.

I cannot wait to see a show again. The next show on my list is The Rocky Horror Show. I will hopefully be seeing this weird and wonderful show in October and of course, I will write about it so keep an eye on my Instagram (@katelovesliterature) for updates on that. I am very excited about adding another program to my collection. I will be seeing this musical with a friend of mine who loves the movie, but has never been to a live musical before so I have said already to put the movie out of your head because the show will be a completely new experience. So I am very excited for that. Roll on October.

This has been Friday’s Choice. I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know your thoughts on musicals. Love them? Hate them? What’s your favourite musical? Is there one that stands out? Is there one that moved you? Let me know, I love hearing from you. I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Kate xo.