“Maybe that’s all family really is a group of people who miss the same imaginary place.”
Ever since Garden State came out I’ve been trying to recreate the sensation I got when I saw that movie for the very first time. You know the laughing, crying, not wanting the story to end. Here are just a couple items in our collection that call that to mind:
Shortly after graduating from High School Joe Goffman leaves and never looks back, but you can’t always run away from your past and fifteen years later its time for Joe to come back home. There will be no welcome banners or a welcome home parade because when you write a best selling novel putting down everyone and everything in your home town people aren’t too enthusiastic about your return home. It doesn’t matter that your dad is in the hospital after suffering from a stroke, no one cares that you’ve hit writer’s block with your possible next novel, the bullies in high school are still going to beat you up and even your own brother doesn’t want to see you. Not to mention the copies of your book strewn all over the lawn of your childhood home by none other than the neighborhood book club! The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper, slated to become a movie in 2010, will have you laughing, crying, and reminiscing about your own past regrets.
In My Blueberry Nights we meet Elizabeth, played by Norah Jones, who is suffering from heartbreak after she has discovered her boyfriend has cheated on her. She finds solace in the small New York City diner where she learned of her ex’s indescresions and soon after gets to know the guy behind the counter Jeremy, played by Jude Law, and his blueberry pie. At the diner she finds comfort, but it’s memories soon become too great and she decides to leave New York. She ends up in Memphis working at a diner and bartending at night then it’s a off to Vegas all the while sending postcards to Jeremy. Along her journey she meets plenty of characters who help her grow and understand the bigger picture: you can’t runaway forever especially when what you need has been there all along.
The novel Hunting and Gathering by Anne Gavalda takes us to Paris, the city of Light, but you’d be surprised how many broken people occupy a place known for romance. You have Camille an artist unaware of how truly talented she is hiding in a freezing hovel wasting away and working nights cleaning office buildings, Franck who has no time to visit the grandmother who raised him, but rather slaves away in a restaurant that is not his and lacks the intimacy in his one nights stands to create a real relationship, Philou, Franck’s roomate, who disguises his anxiety by memorizing the factoids and histories of France and can recite his entire family tree, and Paulette, Franck’s lonely grandmother, covering up the bruises so no one will notice she is falling apart. When these four strangers’ lives begin to intertwine they heal in ways they never imagined. This novel was also made into a French film titled Ensemble, C’est Tout starring Audrey Tautou.