Monday, April 4, 2011
Book #15: The Film Club: A Memoir
David Gilmour, a Canadian journalist, wrote this memoir about a period of his life that would have any parent shaking in their boots -- his teenage son, Jesse, was failing school and desperate to drop out. David, unlike most parents, realized Jesse was miserable and made him an offer that no kid could refuse: Drop out of school. Live at home, rent free. Don't bother getting a job. Awesome, right? This is the deal Gilmour made with his son Jesse.
Here's the catch: Jesse had to watch three movies per week with his dear old dad -- movies chosen by his dad. Also, no drugs. That's another part of the deal. So, that's how the next year or so of their lives went.
What follows is an amazing journey through film -- which leads David and Jesse to learn more about each other and about life in general. The topics covered in the films chosen by Gilmour for his son open up their conversations to cover everything from women to alcohol to camera angles. Gilmour took a massive chance on his son and found a way to connect with him in the process, which, in turn gives Jesse the purpose in life he wasn't finding in high school.
This is a beautifully written story from the heart of a father who completely, totally loves his son. I can image what kind of reactions he must have gotten when people found out he was letting his kid be a "deadbeat," sleeping until late afternoon and writing rap songs with his saggy-pants friends... But in the end, he knew what was best for his kid, and he was going to give him what he needed no matter how long it took or what strange path it took to get there. Gilmour is a wonderful father, and his words prove how much he cares about his son.
As for Jesse... The book covers his late teenage years, which is probably the most obnoxious period in any person's life, and Jesse's no different. Ohhhh my Goddddd at the draaammmaaaa. There are two main girlfriends discussed in the memoir, and my LORD, are all teenage boys that miserably melodramatic about a chick they dated for a few months? Sheesh. Cannot handle that mess. Anyway, glad he got things straightened out.
One of my favorite things about this memoir is the list of films in the back of the book. Gilmour gives us a list of all the movies he and Jesse watched during the period of time in which their "deal" took place. It's a great resource, because Gilmour chooses some stellar films to share with his son. What a film buff that guy is. Throughout the book, he gives interesting factoids and trivia about the movies they watch -- even down to the decisions directors made about particular camera angles. It was very cool to read those facts about movies I know and movies I don't. I've definitely added a few to my "watch" list thanks to this book. And you can add this to your "read" list. Yay!