Sunday, September 28, 2008

Smart Remarks: The Host

::podium lowers a good 5 inches::

::ahem:: Good morning, brothers & sisters, fristers & frousins. ::nervous laugh:: I wore my highest heels this morning hoping that, for once, when I got up to speak that they would have to raise the podium….but I am now thinking that is dream that will never come true.

::audience courtesy laughs at lame “ice breaker” joke::

Anyway, I am so grateful for the opportunity to speak to you today. The subject I’ve been asked to speak on is the novel The Host by Stephenie Meyer. You may be wondering how The Host fits into a talk of this nature. I hope I can share with you some of the insights I had while reading it although I am sure I learned much more preparing this review than I will ever be able to share with you today.

I remember as a youth in the church we would oftentimes discuss the War in Heaven. We would discuss the two sides of the argument: Satan’s Plan and Christ’s Plan. In Satan’s Plan, of course, none of us would have our free agency. We would all have come to earth, lived perfect lives due to the fact that we could not choose otherwise, and then return to heaven having had no hardships, poor decisions, or growth. Christ’s plan, however, would involve us deciding things for ourselves, making wrong choices, reaping the consequences & learning and growing every single day.

I often thought how nice it would have been if Satan’s Plan would have been the way to go. How easy would that have been? No wrong choices? No trials? Plus, everyone else would be making the right choices as well—life would be so peachy!

This is how the entire “Alien Earth” seemed to me in this book. Everyone going around, doing what they are supposed to be doing, no questions asked. You don’t have to pay for anything. You need to see a Healer for some No Pain? Maybe some Clean? You walk in (having cut yourself with a knife first, of course) and get treated. No insurance cards, no co-pay, nothing. You simply exist. You trust everyone because, well, why wouldn't you? If your host body seems to take a liking to some other host body then you pair up. It’s as simple as that. Everyone is cordial. Everyone is … well, peachy. Everything is honkey-dory.

Cut to where the “wild” humans are… some stinky cave out in the middle of the Arizona desert. Emotions run high. You can punch people whenever you want. There is some guy walking around with a rifle yelling out “my house, my rules” whenever he senses trouble a brewin’. People make mistakes. They inflict pain on others and have pain, sometimes, as a result. They experience true love & happiness. They experience the depths of despair. Their skin burns where someone touches them. They grow. And that was just Day One.

Believe it or not, this is how it is supposed to be.

The alien way is creepy. The pleasantries they exchange mean nothing. It seems to be a pointless existence. No one learns anything. No one steps outside of their comfort zones. No one takes chances. I much prefer the labyrinth cave way of life. I guess what I’m saying is, I’m now so glad Satan didn’t win (k, I’ve been glad for a while, like, since adulthood but I thought that would sound really poignant if I just came to that realization as I was preparing my talk). I like being human.

As far as the writing went, I thought Stephenie stayed true to form. Some things were so over-the-top melodramatic and other things were right on. I think she spent a little too much time in the desert with Wanda/Melanie near death. Then there was way too much time with Wanda curled up in that weird hole while JARED! kept watch over her. I also could have done without the incessant descriptions of Wanda’s other worlds. I swear this book could have been 309.5 pages rather than 619 if she would have consulted me first. The overused word of this book was “flinched.” Everyone flinched at what everyone else said all the time. Someone walked in a room and people flinched like crazy.

On the up side, I loved the inside conversations Wanda & Melanie would have. I kept thinking how it might be nice to have a little voice inside your head giving you inside information on everything and everyone. That is, if you were an alien who had been transplanted into another body and if the former tenant of that body was still kinda around. I wouldn’t want the kind of voices that require medication though. And I hearted Uncle Jeb like you would not believe. I have a soft spot in my heart for crazy, old, level-headed gize who are full of wisdom & have beards.

Major disappointment? The body they chose for Wanda at the end. Who wants to be some fragile, dainty, wimpy girl with a “high, reedy voice?” No one, that’s who. Especially after you’ve been running around in Melanie’s athletic body kicking everyone’s butt at soccer for the past however-long-this-book’s-time-frame-was. I thought they should have found someone who was strong but drop-dead gorge for her. I was extremely let down, as was Miss Wanderer. She didn’t let on too much, but I could feel it. Lame choice, Jamie. Lame choice.

So in closing, I’d like you to know that Stephenie Meyer basically plagiarized parts of the Gospel for this book. She still needs a thesaurus and she needs to create a leading female character who isn’t so “Bella” for once (Melanie doesn’t count). To recap: I’m glad Satan didn’t win. And you could not have paid me enough to take a bath in that weird inky pool thingy where you couldn’t see anything. Oh, and a little Edward thrown in wouldn’t have hurt anyone. I mean, I'd love to have seen what happened when the aliens tried to cut open the back of his neck. Am I right or am I right?

PS THIS is who I pictured as the Seeker.



Cristin said...

You mean you don't have a voice in your head that may or may not be alien?....crap!!!!

Your soooooo right!!! I have to admit I almost expected Edward to come flanking in to help Wanda/Melanie.

I have this huge fear of creepy water wholes, I REALLY need to be able to see and make sure Jaws isn't in my bath water. That goes for swimming pools too.

quesetescapa said...

I agree with most everything you said but certainly the body part. She totally should have gotten a self-sufficient bod in order to do her service to mankind. It was annoying.

Also, the beginning was mucho confusing and took me awhile to get into it but overall a great read and much less cheesy than the vamp stories. Which I love.

Memzy said...

Soo is she^^ saying she loves the vamp stories or loves that this one was not so cheese?

Anyhoo, I flinched reading this.

And I really wanted to see the Seeker tortured or something. I hated her. HATED.

Amy Thurston said...

Yes, torture the seeker. I couldn't stand the shy giggle of the new Wanda.
That would have totally burned those aliens if Edward was there.
This book was less wholesome than the Twilight. There was some pre-marital stuff going on. A lot of sleeping together. I guess cavemen aren't as galant as vampires.
I wish I could have listened to your talk in person.

Amanda said...

Ok, so you have never left me a comment on my blog before and I usually wait for that to go and check someone else's blog and start commenting on it. But I've come to the conclusion you are never going to do it. I will humble myself and make the first move.
How in the heck did you make that Host book cover like that! Wow.

Markie23 said...

Did you wait to break your fast until after writing your review? I loved that comparison of the alien/host existence to Satan's plan. That was some of the "thought-provoking" stuff I mentioned in my review, but didn't really go into.
So do you think that the alien infected people will get an automatic "buy" into heaven, like the 'tards, and under 8 crowd?

Amy Thurston said...

Ooohh, Markie! Don't worry, we'll all come down to visit you in the next life.

Landee said...

Sorry Amanda. Thanks for biting the bullet and heading on over! And THANK YOU for noticing my book cover! I spent a good portion of my day yesterday creating that. Yes, SOMEone has a lot of time on their hands.

Mark, I wrote my post LAST NIGHT and had it scheduled to post at 12:01am. I don't blog on the Sabbath. Wait, it's Fast Sunday?

And, the alien infected people definitely do NOT have a free pass. Their bodysnatch is the same as their death (unless they are Melanie or the Seeker lady) so if they were going to nudie clubs the night before then sorry, the gates are closeth unto them. << I read that in the lastest Ensign.

sarastrasser said...

I found out it was fast sunday AFTER I gave all my primary kids chocolate cookies. They were all laughing at me afterwards saying "haha it's fast sunday!" BRATS!

As soon as the podium lowered I instantly felt tired. I chuckled at the ice breaker joke but just could keep my eyes open long enough to get a spiritual high and absorb it with every fiber of my being. I did feel a burning in my bosom when I found out this book at a love-squareangle and a DESSERT scene. I may just read it.

Our Family said...

Your latest book review was point on as always. I think they should totally make this one into a movie and you should try out for the Melanie/Wanda roll. You are quite the actress in all these pictures! What more experience do you need?

Markie23 said...

LOVE the seeker choice! I may have to read it again just to have that picture in my mind. You should consider a career as a casting agent.

Cristin said...

Sara, are you ever going to forgive me for misspelling Desert/ Dessert...whatever???? This IS Sunday you know.....

Markie, you really have a way with words.

Landee, that is EXACTLY how I pictured the seeker.

ajesplin said...

Please tell me those are your pores on the cover.

I agree with you about the Satan's plan V. Christ's plan comparison. And I'd like to add the comparison of Capitalist society V. Communist society. We all know the Commies are bad. grimace. flinch. hiss. punch. quiver. fit into a hole.

What's with all this talk of torturing the seeker? You gize are SO human(<--insult). I'm more peaceful, like an alien who commits mass-murder of an entire species.(<--self righteous)

ajesplin said...

Oh I forgot. Keening. That was her most used word. Keening. Keen. Keening. Who says that?

Landee said...

Totally my pores. Please tell ME that for at least a hay-second you thought it was the actual cover.

And I don't know much about history. I only study the Gospel. <<--self-righteous.

Amy Thurston said...

I think you deserve best-fake-book-cover award.
I didn't notice keening, I was so focussed on noticing FLANK. And picturing Ian.

Memzy said...

I have to give a major PROPS here to Landee onnacuzza I did not even notice the diff until Amanda said something up there.

Clever girl, clever girl.

ajesplin said...

I noticed the cover right away. It's been acting as a coaster beside my bed for months so I'm pretty familiar with it.

And every time Wanda cried (which was every three pages) she was "keening and wailing". Talk about ugly cry.

ajesplin said...

::fitting the small of my back into the corner where the wall meets the floor for martyr purposes onnacuza I'm a Saint::

Landee said...

Srsly... if I never hear about the small of Wanda's back again I'll be so happy.

There was that one part where she dove into her her hole with all those supplies in there and, I swear, I read it at least 10 times and still could not imagine the position she was in. It was like Stephenie's cat had gotten up on her keyboard and typed some words and they kept it in the final draft.

Markie23 said...

holy smokes! I was reading these comments about a fake book cover and wondering what they were talking about. Finally I took a close look at your cover! THAT'S AWESOME!! You got major Photoshop Skillz.

Now I'm starting to wonder if maybe those pic's of Cinaburn in China and Italy are perhaps fake. I don't know what to believe anymore.

Landee said...

The book cover was fake, our travel pics with Burny are totally real. Srsly. We had an awesome time globe-trotting together (just remember, if you ever have the privilage of getting him, he is NOT a light packer).

Also, Gty was worried that my book cover looked so similar to the original that no one was gonna notice. He was almost right. Again.

Cristin said...

i thought something was different about the book cover and then I thought it's probably just a different cover. You know how some books have multiple covers? ANYWAY, I agree you have awesome SKILLZ

cyndi said...

SO agree on the seeker thing. Actually as I read the book she IS who I pictured so SAD. Okay I am blog stalking you, but good grief I see your name EVERYWHERE so I had to come and see the famous Landee. :)