Friday, May 18, 2012

Patch Of Blue

I finished reading a book called Patch of Blue today. It was written by an Australian author, Elizabeth Kata, and adapted into a fairly well known American movie starring Sydney Poitier.

I learned from Lord Wiki that the American movie is much more uplifting and optimistic than the novel.

The novel's end might have a vague amount of hopefulness in it.  Or at least you can add it yourself if you're in a good enough mood while reading it.

The book is about Selina, a severely abused young woman, who was blinded as a child in a domestic violence incident.  

Selina is sweet, innocent, and...very racist.   She's never seen a black person before, but knows they're horrible.  

One day Selina goes to the park and has a bead-dropping accident.  She's helped by a man named Gordon. They become friends. Gordon becomes the first person that has ever made Selina feel loved and happy. 

The thought-provoking irony of the story is that Gordon is a black man. Selina doesn't realize this.

The book made me sad.  It's not just that I felt sorry for Selina.   But also....even though I'm not blind, abused, or racist, I could relate to a lot of the feelings in the book.

My circumstances are so different from Selina's. Yet I share some of her inner turmoil. 

I guess life is like that.

Even though the book made me feel sad, unsettled, and a bit hopeless about certain things, I thought it was good a good one.  Its better than the books that make me feel nothing and are very boring. 

4 comments:

Andrew said...

The title triggered something in my memory. I had to check. I must have seen the 1965 film at some point, or perhaps read the book.

FruitCake said...

When I saw in the sidebar that you were reading this book I wondered how old it is [thanks Andrew].

It was very much a product of its time, highlighting not just the stupidity of blind racism, but that non-seeing people did not always have a very fulfilling life open to them either.

Not long after the movie of APOB was released, Sidney Poitier appeared in the English made To Sir With Love [1967]. Amongst the many reasons I loved this movie was that it prompted my first ever screen crush. [Not Sidney… a girl, silly.]

My favourite story from that era was My Sweet Charlie, filmed for TV in Texas – with some interference from the locals – and finally released in 1970. It also explored the idea of unquestioned prejudice. This was the movie that finally put together many of the pieces of the puzzle of life [as it was then] for me; racism; prevalent sexual mores; class; human decency; and hope. As for the ending…

Then there was Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner [1967], which looked not only at racism but miscegenation, and the hypocrisy of liberals.

One of my current faves is Guess Who [2005], essentially a remake of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, with the colours reversed. It has a good parallel story and a lot of laughs thrown in. Humour can sometimes lend support to important themes, and help a story reach a wider audience.

I’m with you, Dina, believing a story which evokes emotional responses, either positive or not so positive, is far more interesting than a story that’s less emotionally engaging.

Thankfully, the world has changed a little for the better over time, and stories about issues of race are less earnest than they were in the 60s and 70s.

But this was a good find – I’d forgotten all about it.

Dina said...

Andrew: Or maybe you did both....??

Fruitcake: Which actress did you have a crush on? Ignore the question if it's too personal. I'm just nosy.

It seems Sidney Poitier was in a lot of these interracial relationship movies.

I've seen parts of "Guess Who". It's cute. And I think you're right. Humor does help with these situations.

There was another movie involving interracial relationships. It's with the Aussie actor from The Mentalist. My mind has drawn a blank on his name. And I'm trying to remember if the movie was like Guess Who's Coming To Dinner and Guess Who (dealing with family's reaction to potential interracial in-law) or was it just about the couple themselves.

I'm going to go Google....

FruitCake said...

It seems Sidney was typecast in the name of enlightenment.