review

Juno: Don't bother looking for Signs or Significance!

Screenshot of Ellen Page from Juno, pretending to hang herself from a tree
'Well, you know, I just — I was thinkin' that I'd just nip it in the bud. Before it gets worse. 'Cause they were talkin' in health class about how pregnancy can lead to ... an infant.'
It's not giving much away to say that Juno MacGuff does not nip her pregnancy, "in the bud" or otherwise. Instead, after a brief flirtation with abortion, the 16 year-old opts to carry the foetus to term and give the baby up for adoption. Significantly, Juno is not punished for her transgression (except insofar as the pregnancy itself meet be considered a punishment) persons seeking in the entrails of Juno any overt anti-abortion, pro-choice, pro- or anti-sex or other coded messages are in for a serious disappointment. The movie's eponymous title gives the game away. Juno is a story about (nearly) a year in the life of a teenage girl named "Juno". It is not an issue movie, or a cautionary tale, or a call to arms. The fact that Juno is about a pregnant 16 year-old girl does not mean it is "about" teenage pregnancy. At its heart and despite its subject-matter, Juno is a romantic comedy. Where we might once have had Katherine Hepburn as a wise-cracking career-woman in a man's world, we now have Ellen Page as a wise-cracking teenager, who is every bit as independent as Hepburn ever was, if in a very different world. (Spoilers ahead, but not many; this is a movie whose surprises are worth keeping.)

Smokers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your jones(ing)!

Allen Carr's Way was easy for me

Photo of Young Geoffrey smoking, 1992.
For about a quarter century, photos of me without a cigarette in my hand were few and far between. This, from 1992.

Tᴜᴇsᴅᴀʏ, Aᴘʀɪʟ 14, 2020 — I was a smoker for many years, starting in my teens. It seems almost impossible to believe, now, that I was utterly addicted to cigarettes for decades, going so far as to walk around collecting butts during bad times.

I stopped smoking in the fall of 2009, now more than a full decade in my past. And I don't think I would have done it without help from Alan Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking. Read more ...

Review: A Lion Among Men, by Gregory Maguire

Sometime in 2007, I sent in a review of Kim Stanley Robinson's novel, Sixty Days and Counting, on spec to The Globe and Mail. When they didn't reply in what I considered a reasonable length of time, I shrugged and posted it to my Livejournal account and finally remembered to republish it here. Read more ... But sometimes good things take time. More than a year later, I received an email from an editor at the Globe saying he understood I was interested in reviewing things science fictional and would I be interested in taking a stab Gregory Maguire's latest. Naturally, I said yes, very much so, and another four or so months later, the following showed up in the Globe's Books section. It remains my only paid review; if any of you reading this are editors, I am still open to offers.

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