Happy Days Question #2 ~ Why this book?

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Lady Jill
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Unread postby Lady Jill » Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:27 pm

Betty Sue wrote:"Johnny could probably leave us with a much better understanding of this... So I think Johnny chose this book out of his interest in understanding and accepting all sorts of people.


I agree Betty Sue, absolutely. . . I think he was first attacked to the oddity of Antoine, but when Johnny gets to him , questioning life and death as it is, we'll see something more attractive with that incredible Johnny touch.

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Unread postby Parlez » Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:59 pm

I agree with the humor angle, first and foremost, in that the book is hilarious, in a sort of twisted, absurd, ironic way. Someone said, or I read, years ago the line, "In the end, all that's left is irony." My work in places like Happy Days has really brought that line home. The whole setting is so outrageous, you just have to laugh. IMO, the book is a cross between "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest", "Being There" and "Harold & Maude" ~ with a touch of the Zone's fantasy film, "Watching the Paint Dry".
That combination, IMO, is rich in irony and wry humor. I'm betting that's what attracted JD to the book, at least initially.
The deeper pathos of the story is another...story.
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:14 pm

You all have said so much so eloquently! :notworthy: I can't add anything original at this point. Now if we could just ask the man himself... :-)
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Depputante » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:40 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:You all have said so much so eloquently! :notworthy: I can't add anything original at this point. Now if we could just ask the man himself... :-)


That's exactly what I've been thinking too! :blush:
Yoo Hoo ~~~ Johnny dear..... what draws you to this book?
Do speak up sweetie! We're waiting...

That said, I agree with what's been said so far. Also I remember Johnny saying that the first couple of pages of any screenplay has to have 'it' or he won't do it. So I imagine he was at first intrigued by the story line, and everything that everyone has posted so far. I think there are excellent responses, and any of mine would just be redundant.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Unread postby nebraska » Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:33 pm

In addition to the thoughts about Johnny being attracted to outsiders and unusual stories, I think he loves a book with good writing. The vast majority of the books we have read here have unusually beautiful writing in them, very lyric, smooth, wonderful to read if you have a love of words. While reading Happy Days, I had strong visuals of the scenery and the people, as well as experiencing some emotion along the way. The author didn't beat me over the head with descriptive passages, it all just seemed to flow naturally in Antoine's thoughts. His wife was kind of gray and non-existent, his children kind of blah; other characters were vividly drawn with bright colors. Really skilled writing, conveying so much more than just an objective description.

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Unread postby Liz » Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:50 pm

nebraska wrote:In addition to the thoughts about Johnny being attracted to outsiders and unusual stories, I think he loves a book with good writing. The vast majority of the books we have read here have unusually beautiful writing in them, very lyric, smooth, wonderful to read if you have a love of words. While reading Happy Days, I had strong visuals of the scenery and the people, as well as experiencing some emotion along the way. The author didn't beat me over the head with descriptive passages, it all just seemed to flow naturally in Antoine's thoughts. His wife was kind of gray and non-existent, his children kind of blah; other characters were vividly drawn with bright colors. Really skilled writing, conveying so much more than just an objective description.


Although I agree that good characters make a good story I think it has to have some sort of edge like they need to have a lot of character growth. Also I don’t really like it when they have a bunch of stories going on at once and I can’t stand bad endings in good novels. It just makes me feel all the hardships the protagonist went through were for nothing.
-Liz’s son
PS sorry if I can’t post good
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby fansmom » Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:59 pm

Liz wrote:Although I agree that good characters make a good story I think it has to have some sort of edge like they need to have a lot of character growth. Also I don’t really like it when they have a bunch of stories going on at once and I can’t stand bad endings in good novels. It just makes me feel all the hardships the protagonist went through were for nothing.
-Liz’s son
PS sorry if I can’t post good
You post just fine, Liz's son. Are you speaking in general, or did you read Happy Days? If so, do you think it had a bad ending, and do you think that Antoine went through hardships? And that he ended up with nothing?

I know, Liz and DIDHOT ask the questions, and we answer, but I can't help asking.

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Unread postby Red Shoes » Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:22 am

I agree with Nebraska about the strong visual images of everything described in the book - and the imagery and tone of the book remind me of old silent films. I'm not sure why, but Antoine seems like one of those silent-film heroes who muddles their way through various absurd situations. We know that Johnny loves those old films so maybe he sees something of that in it too.

Perhaps he was just intrigued by the strangeness of the situation, and feels that exploring it more deeply will bring more understanding.

Who knows... :-?
"It's good to be different."

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Unread postby Liz » Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:50 am

fansmom wrote:
Liz wrote:Although I agree that good characters make a good story I think it has to have some sort of edge like they need to have a lot of character growth. Also I don’t really like it when they have a bunch of stories going on at once and I can’t stand bad endings in good novels. It just makes me feel all the hardships the protagonist went through were for nothing.
-Liz’s son
PS sorry if I can’t post good
You post just fine, Liz's son. Are you speaking in general, or did you read Happy Days? If so, do you think it had a bad ending, and do you think that Antoine went through hardships? And that he ended up with nothing?

I know, Liz and DIDHOT ask the questions, and we answer, but I can't help asking.


I let my son read your response, Fansmom. His response was that he was responding to Nebraska's post in general terms. He has not read the book. But his post is interesting, considering the nature of the book. Don't you think? I plan to give him a synopsis of the book as soon as I'm done here.

I think he's been wanting to post for years. And the opportune moment appeared when he wanted dinner in the middle of my catching up on the board. So he started reading some of the posts while I was cooking his dinner. I reviewed his post before he posted it to make sure it was not inappropriate. It ended up being fine. At least I hope it is OK with everyone.

I always hope that it sparks some interest in him for reading and writing. :hope:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Veronica » Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:12 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Since Johnny seems have a great curiosity in what makes people tick, this is the passage that stood out for me.


Pg. 72
This mortifying cynicism is not as end in itself, but a necessary evil in my attempt to fathom what lurks behind our miserable human condition, an anesthesia that allows me to perform open-heart surgery on man and rummage through his guts. Searching for the human in humankind.


I found this passage sad. that he had so much trouble finding the good in people. It seems he couldnt find meaning to anything until he was really faced with death and finally saw the heart of someone.
Everything is always okay in the end,
if it's not, then it's not the end.

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Unread postby Depputante » Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:28 pm

Gramatically speaking (my grammar is awful), Johnny seems to like 'odd' grammar. Like in my Johnny quote below, in my footer. I've also seen him comment about useage of commas somewhere else also. The writing style might also have ingrigued him. Perhaps he is sort of rebellious to the idea of 'words being put into a box' ending with a period. Kind of synonymous to the novel's theme as well, come to think of it. The first real sentence doesn't do much. But then :-O really taking a look at the next sentence! Wow! Commas and semicolins galore! And very descriptive too. If you put the second sentence in to a group of sentences, it would loose it's depth of description and feeling. It does remind me of the On the Road book.

P.1:
It's a lovely autmn day.

Trees are shedding their foliage on the lawn; all bundled up, residents are strolling along the asphalt paths, shuffling through clumps of dead leaves; an ambulance is pulling up to what will be the new arrival's last home; sitting next to Alzheimer, my arms stretched wide on the back of the bench, my relaxed little smile hovering like a seagull on the breeze, I breathe the fresh air of the garden and grounds of Happy Days.


He also mentions hovering here too.
And the shuffling through clumps of dead leaves...symbolic of the residents being near death. But he is hovering.
He also seems to enjoy being BESIDE Alzheimer rather than becoming Alzheimer.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Unread postby Liz » Wed Dec 06, 2006 4:46 pm

Depputante wrote:Gramatically speaking (my grammar is awful), Johnny seems to like 'odd' grammar. Like in my Johnny quote below, in my footer. I've also seen him comment about useage of commas somewhere else also. The writing style might also have ingrigued him. Perhaps he is sort of rebellious to the idea of 'words being put into a box' ending with a period. Kind of synonymous to the novel's theme as well, come to think of it. The first real sentence doesn't do much. But then :-O really taking a look at the next sentence! Wow! Commas and semicolins galore! And very descriptive too. If you put the second sentence in to a group of sentences, it would loose it's depth of description and feeling. It does remind me of the On the Road book.

P.1:
It's a lovely autmn day.

Trees are shedding their foliage on the lawn; all bundled up, residents are strolling along the asphalt paths, shuffling through clumps of dead leaves; an ambulance is pulling up to what will be the new arrival's last home; sitting next to Alzheimer, my arms stretched wide on the back of the bench, my relaxed little smile hovering like a seagull on the breeze, I breathe the fresh air of the garden and grounds of Happy Days.


He also mentions hovering here too.
And the shuffling through clumps of dead leaves...symbolic of the residents being near death. But he is hovering.
He also seems to enjoy being BESIDE Alzheimer rather than becoming Alzheimer.


You make some interesting points, Depputante. And he seems to be indicating through his descriptive words that HE is an observer, not a participant.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Boo-Radley » Wed Dec 06, 2006 6:45 pm

Liz wrote:
Depputante wrote:Gramatically speaking (my grammar is awful), Johnny seems to like 'odd' grammar. Like in my Johnny quote below, in my footer. I've also seen him comment about useage of commas somewhere else also. The writing style might also have ingrigued him. Perhaps he is sort of rebellious to the idea of 'words being put into a box' ending with a period. Kind of synonymous to the novel's theme as well, come to think of it. The first real sentence doesn't do much. But then :-O really taking a look at the next sentence! Wow! Commas and semicolins galore! And very descriptive too. If you put the second sentence in to a group of sentences, it would loose it's depth of description and feeling. It does remind me of the On the Road book.

P.1:
It's a lovely autmn day.

Trees are shedding their foliage on the lawn; all bundled up, residents are strolling along the asphalt paths, shuffling through clumps of dead leaves; an ambulance is pulling up to what will be the new arrival's last home; sitting next to Alzheimer, my arms stretched wide on the back of the bench, my relaxed little smile hovering like a seagull on the breeze, I breathe the fresh air of the garden and grounds of Happy Days.


He also mentions hovering here too.
And the shuffling through clumps of dead leaves...symbolic of the residents being near death. But he is hovering.
He also seems to enjoy being BESIDE Alzheimer rather than becoming Alzheimer.


You make some interesting points, Depputante. And he seems to be indicating through his descriptive words that HE is an observer, not a participant.



That struck me about the book as well, that even at Happy Days the life Antoine chose for himself he isn't a participant, he exists on the sidelines watching from the bleachers. Even there he refuses to really be a part of something, outside his own sphere, his interactions with the other residents amount to little more than air passing around an object, until he meets Mireille. Now I'll stop here, I'm sure I'm getting into dangerous territory. ;-)

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Boo
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:15 pm

Thanks for stopping there, Boobaba! :lol: You can be sure we will be getting into the relationship of Antoine and Mirelle.

I like the observations about him being an observer, almost like he is conducting a scientific experiment.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Red Shoes » Thu Dec 07, 2006 6:07 pm

I agree about him being an observer. Didn't Johnny once say something like "look at everyone! We're all nuts!" - it's in someone's sig line I think.

So I guess Johnny may be fascinated by the very idea of someone dedicating the majority of their life to observing others.
"It's good to be different."


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