Very Adult Lessons from Beloved Children’s Books

Author: Kerrin Frappier, Entertainment

Once upon a time, parents read their millennial children stories to help them fall asleep, and to teach them about the world that they were growing up in.

At the time, these books gave us warnings about trusting strangers with very big teeth, and how pathological lying can prove fatal. Honesty and caution are important road marks for any responsible adult to follow, but even seemingly silly stories have their own pieces of advice to share. These books may not be fairy tales, but being open to their guidance as adults may make us a bit happier about our continuing journeys through adulthood.


REAL LOVE MAKES US “REAL” PEOPLE from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
At first glance, the stuffed rabbit a young boy receives as a Christmas present is not much to look at. It doesn’t move on its own, and seems rather old-fashioned. The rabbit knows that the only way he can become real to the little boy is through the boy’s love for the stuffed animal. The rabbit sees little hope in becoming real, until he takes the place of another toy lost in the nursery. From then on, the boy and the rabbit are inseparable, that is, until the boy becomes very ill. All the toys and bedding in the nursery must be burned to prevent the disease from spreading, and as the velveteen rabbit mourns the end of his life with his beloved boy, a fairy appears and leads him to the forest to be with the real-life rabbits.

Truly, there is nothing as powerful as love. Not just the word love, or crushes, or lust, but real, genuine, unconditional love. This is the love from family, friends, mentors, and partners that can be life-changing. It transforms us into who we are meant to be.

YOUR OPPORTUNITIES ARE (STILL) ENDLESS from Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
A common, yet thoughtful, gift for any graduate, the last book to be published while the author was still living is one of his most inspiring. The unnamed character in Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is leaving town and comes upon “The Waiting Place” (where people wait for things to happen) along their journeys. But the narrator makes it clear that the protagonist can go anywhere he chooses.

This lesson should not be reserved for those taking on new careers, or graduating high school or college. You can change your direction any time you want! It is never too late to embark on a new path.

EVERYONE HAS TO GROW UP from The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
Even Christopher Robin’s time in the Hundred Acre Wood has to come to an end. It seems Piglet, Pooh, Eeyore, and Christopher Robin are all aware of this reality, and in the final chapter of a book full of adventures, Christopher Robin’s friends throw him a farewell party.

Growing up can be painful. A person leaves behind all the things he or she has known about the world, and who they have been to this point. Responsibilities can be overwhelming, and life is no longer as simple as visiting old friends. But as The House at Pooh Corner comes to a close, Pooh promises never to forget his friend Christopher Robin. We should never forget the places we have been, and the wonderful memories we made while we learning to grow up.

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MATERIAL THINGS from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Sure, it’s a holiday favorite, but at the heart of How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the reminder that material things cannot make you happy, and being miserable hurts no one but yourself.

In this day and age, it is easy to see what we do not have, and compare ourselves to others. But does owning the latest iPhone give us anything but a fleeting sense of satisfaction? It wasn’t about the presents or trees in Whoville. Despite our collective desire to have it all, this is one lesson we should keep in our hearts all year long.

Lonely and perched on a department store shelf, Corduroy is spotted by a young girl, Lisa, whose mother refuses to buy him because of a missing button on his overalls. Corduroy searches the store for the long-lost button, but to no avail. To his surprise, Lisa comes back into the store the next day without her mother, and purchases him with her own money. Once they arrive home, she sews a button on his clothing, happy to have found a friend.

Our shortcomings and scars do not make us less worthy of love and friendship. They may teach us painful lessons, but people who truly care for us will take the time to make us feel safe again. Knowing you are worthy of such love helps to stitch those lost pieces back together again.


Why Millennials Should Should Watch Sabrina

Author: Kerrin Frappier, Entertainment

While Audrey Hepburn has many iconic roles to her credit, her turn as Sabrina Fairchild is largely overshadowed by the likes of Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Princess Ann (Roman Holiday), and Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady). Released in 1954, Sabrina is a story of transformation and love wrapped up in a palatable romantic comedy package. The film may be over 60 years old, but has many relatable lessons for millennials trying to navigate the world of careers and relationships. For our generation, this is a classic not to be missed.

We see that love knows no hierarchy
Sabrina’s father has worked as the Larrabees’ — a wealthy family with a powerful company, and large estate — chauffeur for many years. For almost as many years, Sabrina has been in love with the Larrabees’ youngest son — the lazy, lustful David. David’s frequent ignorance toward Sabrina’s feelings for him finally becomes unbearable, and Sabrina attempts suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning — only to be saved by David’s older brother, Linus.

We learn that true love does wait
After her brush with death, Sabrina leaves for culinary school in Paris for two years, and comes back a different woman. Gone is the uncertain, lovesick young lady, who is replaced with a refined and confident woman. And, the now-engaged David notices. Panicked that the dissolution of the engagement could ruin a profitable business deal, Linus attempts to distract Sabrina, and keep David’s advances on her at bay by perusing Sabrina himself.

We understand that people change, and it can be for the good
Upon her return home, Sabrina’s change in appearance and attitude are immediately apparent. But, throughout the film, the men interested in the new and improved Sabrina also transition into better versions of themselves. Initially, Linus only claims to be infatuated with Sabrina. Over time, he not only genuinely comes to love her, but also becomes more relaxed, and less focused on the company as his only source of pleasure and happiness. It is David who is forced to be more responsible, and think not only of his own promises to his soon-to-be wife, but also the welfare of a company he may one day control. Isn’t that what love — both love for ourselves and others — is supposed to do… help bring out the best in each person?

We learn that we’re not the only ones with doubts in relationships
Sometimes, it is difficult to know whether or not the person we are dating is a person who is good for us. Sabrina has always been attracted to David, but before acquiring her worldly culinary education, he paid her little mind. Shouldn’t the person we are meant to be with stand by us, even when we are not at our most beautiful, put-together versions of ourselves? Relationships should be more than just beautiful backdrops for our selfies, and shout outs when bae cooks you dinner.

We’re reassured that it’s not just us that hate talking about our feelings
Unfortunately, when Linus feels the stirrings of love for Sabrina, he cannot even admit to them himself. Whether it is because he is much older than Sabrina, or because of the guilt he feels for not coming clean about his intentions, Linus cannot see himself as being right for Sabrina. Perhaps an audience might feel similarly when one considers the pain it would cause both parties in real life. For millennials, internet dating has caused its own set of problems — many of which are based on a lack of honesty, and an uncertainty about what each person wants (Are we officially dating? Are we exclusive? Are we merely a hookup? Are we just “hanging out?”).

Suicide awareness is prevalent, and that’s a huge step for this time period 
Sabrina brings up suicide, in a time where the subject was very much taboo. In our modern world, where suicide games are a horrifying trend, and a young woman has gone to jail for encouraging the completion of such an act, the very mention of suicide should strike a very real chord in millennial hearts. Thankfully, Linus is there to stop Sabrina from making an irreversible mistake, and she takes her second chance at life as an opportunity to go on an adventure — and become the person she has always wanted to be. Think of all the love and heartache, support and disappointment Sabrina would have missed out on. No one will ever know what changes could make all the difference. We should continue to discuss this issue so that our generation can continue to pursue our passions, fall in love, and live the lives we’ve all always wanted.


When You Have a Sibling Who is Different From You

Author: Kerrin Frappier, Real Life Stories

I’ve never met sisters who are so different,” my mother says at least twice a week.

She says it incredulously, but she’s been coming to terms with this since my sister and I were just babies, as the differences between my twin and I were clear right from the get-go. She was a great eater and learned to talk very early, while I couldn’t have been less interested in food, or speaking in actual English.

Siblings, even twins, can have contrasting personalities — one can be confident and engaging, while another may tend to be reserved and a little bit guarded until he or she gets to know someone. One sister can be stubborn and loves to have the last word during any disagreement, while the other sister may abhor conflict and like to make jokes to lighten up uncomfortable situations. One brother could get nervous making doctor’s appointments, and another brother can talk to any stranger without hesitation. Siblings could have clashing interests in movies, television programs, and music.

But, why shouldn’t this be the case? Where is it written that people from the same gene pool must be clones of one another? Sure, siblings may have virtually the same experiences growing up, but that doesn’t mean they internalize things in the same exact way. And they don’t have to.

It would be boring to have to do everything in the same manner and never have an independent thought between two people, siblings or not. Siblings’ distinct identities can compliment one another. No one knows how to push buttons like a sibling, but perhaps, few people know better when we’re in need of advice, or a swift kick to get us into gear again.

Siblings can also use their different strengths to be influences on each other. Very often, they can talk about just anything, but also have outlets that allow for some space from one another. You don’t have to enjoy the same things or agree on everything to love and look up to one another!

Let’s hear it for the siblings who are nothing alike. The ones who struggle sometimes to understand one another, but always come back to love and support each other. The ones who disagree on everything except the fact that no one will ever love you (or get on your nerves) quite like a sibling. Here’s to the ones who put up with listening to that awful country music station on a trip in the car or are forced to watch your favorite “dumb” movie over and over and over.

To my sister, I appreciate your quick wit and your steadfastness. I love that you are my sister to bother and annoy, and I know we have learned a lot from each other. Here’s to many more fights over the TV remote and where we should go to dinner. But most importantly, here’s to many more days being each other’s best friends and confidants… even if we don’t always show it.

Life Lessons From Young Adult Books

Author: Kerrin Frappier, Entertainment

From a very early age, our educational experiences revolve around reading. We learn about our planet, our nation’s history, and get caught up in mesmerizing pieces of fiction. We are taught to embrace classic literature and find parallels between a time gone by and our modern world. But we would be mistaken if we were to believe that only George Orwell, Upton Sinclair, and John Steinbeck could present us with some literary food for thought. We may be out of our teens, but we still have a whole life to learn about, which is where these young adult books come in.

FACING DARKNESS WITH LIGHT from A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
15-year-old Vicky’s life seems dominated by illness and death. After the death of a family friend, she spends the summer with her family on Seven Bay Island, and Vicky enjoys working with dolphins while caring for her terminally ill grandfather. There, she reunites with a love interest who attempted suicide after his mother’s death. During a visit to the hospital with her grandfather, a young patient Vicky knows dies in her arms, throwing her into a catatonic state. The only thing that can bring Vicky back from despair is her connection with dolphins, and her grandfather’s encouragement to focus on positives in life.

It’s quite easy for us to list all the horrible things going on in the world and all the little annoyances that make everyday life less wonderful. On the other hand, it is much more difficult for us to recall what is going right in our lives sometimes, especially when the bad is prolonged and seemingly never-ending. This is perhaps why gratitude lists are so popular and many people see the benefit in giving thanks for health, livelihood, and love. Even in our worst moments, there are still things worth living for and experiencing.

EVERYONE HAS A PURPOSE from The Giver by Lois Lowry
In a society where pain, suffering, and unpleasantness are replaced with “sameness,” young Jonas must adapt to his new role as the next “receiver of memory.” While every citizen is assigned to their own places in this dystopian world, Jonas’ job is completely unique — he is able to experience vivid color and negative feelings and then teaches other citizens, while he spares them from a harsh reality. When Jonas discovers the truth behind his father’s job as someone who cares for newborns before being placed with families, he escapes with the infant who is marked for death for not thriving in the same way as the other babies.

Yes, it’s true, if you want to buy things and get out of debt, you will need a job. But your purpose in life is so much more than the title on your name tag. You have talents and values that make you a vital part of the universe.

LOVE IS WORTH EVERY STRUGGLE from The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer
What could be better than a vampire meeting someone whose blood makes them irresistible? When Bella Swan falls in love with the mysterious Edward Cullen, she finds out not only is he old-fashioned. but he is actually over 100 years old and a vampire who lives only on the blood of animals. Throughout the four-book series, Edward and Bella question how much their relationship puts themselves and their families in danger, and they nearly sacrifice their lives for one another.

Love requires sacrifice (hopefully, not in the life-ending, blood-spurting sense that Bella and Edward often experience). It demands patience, quality time, and honesty, and is not always the easiest thing to endure. There may distant phases and questions of uncertainty but this, like any other emotion humans go through, is normal. Love takes work, but when it’s found, it’s worth all that comes with it.

THE IMPORTANCE OF STANDING FIRM from The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
To save her sister from a likely death, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her place in an annual competition, where one winner is crowned and the rest end up dead. When she refuses to kill her ally, Peeta, she sets off a revolution, which pits outraged citizens against the privileged capital, and their cruel government. In a world where many people are treated as disposable, their deaths and struggle for survival broadcast in a grotesque reality-show style, Katniss vows to put a stop to it… even if it means killing the corrupt President behind it all.

While violence should never be endorsed, the focus in this case is the importance of keeping and advocating for your values, and always doing what’s right. In an age in which we feel our rights may be infringed upon at any given moment and the debate about government control rages on, we must be unwavering. We must continue to value our differences and what makes us human, and we must fight for each other and not against one another.

Q and Margo live in a lovely subdivision in the sunshine state, Florida. Margo is mysterious — but despite being popular and worshipped by most, she is bent on getting revenge on classmates she feels wronged her throughout her high school years. When she goes missing after a night of pranks, Q goes on a quest to find her… but perhaps only to be the hero Margo does not seem to need.

We see this on social media every day, but we would do well to remind ourselves: we see only about a fraction of people’s daily lives. We share the perfectly angled, filtered selfies, the sweet posts about a seemingly perfect relationship, and the brand new toys we treat ourselves to. We seldom reveal to the world the nights when we are lonely and frustrated and fueling ourselves solely on Top Ramen and cheap alcohol. We need to learn to accept ourselves and every one around us for the people we are — flaws and all.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE DEFINED BY ONE THING from The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
To combat the problems of a troubled world, one society separates its citizens into factions defined by positive attributes: bravery, peacefulness, intelligence, selflessness, and honesty. Upon entering adulthood, young people must take a test to determine which faction they truly belong. They can choose to stay with their families in the group they grew up in, or leave to join a different faction. When Tris discovers that she does not belong to any one faction, she takes a brave leap into the world of a Dauntless (brave) initiate, while she keeps the details of her test away from the prying eyes of her superiors.

Diversity is what makes us human. No two people will ever live in the same exact manner no matter which time, circumstance, or area they are raised in. Human beings don’t fit into a box. In our differences, we find beauty, meaning, and purpose. But we should also embrace the differences within ourselves, including our changing views and passions, and our skills that we use to help us evolve. If it is important to stand up for what you believe in, it is equally important to stand up for yourself and make no apologies for who you are.

Movie Remakes That Never Should Have Happened

Author: Kerrin Frappier, Entertainment

Over the last ten years, countless movie studios have sought to cash in on people’s love of nostalgia by producing remake after remake of some of cinemas most beloved films.

Some stray so far away from the original story line that they can hardly be interpreted as coming from the same concept, while others simply copy the first version and swap out the well-known cast for some fresh meat.

These movies never should have been remade. 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

When Brad and Janet find themselves stranded with a flat tire, their search for a telephone leads them to a strange castle holding The Annual Transylvanian Convention and meet Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

Why It Shouldn’t Have Been Remade
When you think of a cult classic, this film should immediately come to mind. Its fan base is so dedicated that screenings of the film are highly ritualized–movie-goers dress up, bring props and throw objects, and shout at the screen when certain lines are recited. In 2016, The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again was released on television to negative to mixed reviews. It should be noted that the TV-movie version pays homage to the popularity of the original by showing people attending such a viewing and including audience participation. But still, some things should be left as they are…

Grease (1978)

After a few dreamy summer nights together, Danny and Sandy discover they now attend the same high school. Sandy is poised and innocent while Danny is not quite the gentleman his summer love thought him to be. A nod to the naivete of the 1950s, the soundtrack to the film became the second best selling album of the year.

Why It Shouldn’t Have Been Remade
Although Grease Live (2016) did well in ratings and was praised by many critics, nothing can live up to the original motion picture soundtrack. When a school dance or big party needs a sing-along it is usually this soundtrack (that of the original movie) that gets people shouting “Grease Lightning” and “You’re The One That I Want.” But who can recreate the performances of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John? Answer: No one. And we’re not even going to get into Grease 2 and how that never should have happened in general.

Annie (1982)

Who knew there was so much singing in orphanages? The titular Annie is a spunky young girl growing up without love and parents in New York City. Surrounded by her best friends but tormented by the owner of the orphanage, Miss Hannigan, Annie runs into a bit of luck after a thwarted escape attempt. When billionaire Oliver Warbucks sends his assistant to select an orphan to spend a few days with him at his luxurious mansion, it is Annie who is in Miss Hannigan’s office at just the right time and is ultimately chosen.

Why It Shouldn’t Have Been Remade
Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, and Bernadette Peters steal every single scene that they are in. Although a TV movie (1999) and contemporary version (2014) have followed, both remakes have received more criticism than praise. The contemporary version’s soundtrack leaves out the hilarious and highly notable Easy Street, and Miss Hannigan turns out to actually be a nice person at the end. No. That’s not supposed to happen. 

Footloose (1984)

In a small town where dancing is outlawed, a newcomer from Chicago arrives and puts up a fight for the town’s first prom in many years after a tragedy killed a group of young citizens.

Why It Shouldn’t Have Been Remade
This film’s 2011 remake was identical to the original — except where it mattered. The iconic songs had been retooled and frankly lost much of their charm. No matter how talented the leads are (Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald are both professional dancers), it cannot make up for the loss of Eric Carmen and Kenny Loggins on the soundtrack.  Not to mention the fact that trying to put Footloose in the current era just doesn’t work — the dances work too perfectly with ’80s music and outfits.

Dirty Dancing (1987)

During a summer getaway at Kellerman’s resort, Frances “Baby” Houseman is immediately captivated by the enticing dance moves of instructor Johnny Castle. When his partner can no longer perform at a rival resort, clumsy, awkward Baby volunteers to fill in for her for the night. Baby learns the mambo but also lessons about love, honesty, and trust.

Why It Shouldn’t Have Been Remade
The 2017 TV movie “reimagining” was an utter disaster! Gone is the angry-competitive chemistry between Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. Gone is the memorable choreography by Kenny Ortega. Instead, audiences were introduced to many new elements which were received poorly by critics and Dirty Dancing fans alike. For instance, Baby’s parents are estranged in the beginning of the film, and at the end of the movie Johnny is revealed to have choreographed a musical based on a book Baby had written. The movie was also remade in 1988 as a TV series which, like this latest remake, failed.