Reeling Through Life: How I Learned to Live, Love, and Die at the Movies

Tara Ison. Soft Skull, $15.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-61902-481-6
Novelist and screenwriter Ison (A Child out of Alcatraz, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead) delivers an innovative blend of film criticism and literary memoir in this absorbing collection of 10 essays. Ison uses the films she discusses—sometimes as many as 18 in a single essay—to explore and illuminate her own experiences with death, sexuality, creativity, and other themes. The result is powerfully universal, and the author’s writing is at once intellectually razor-sharp and poetic as she delves into the most complex of emotions. “I watched my first person die when I was six years old. It was so beautiful, a lovely thing to see. And a loving thing, a moment of profound intimacy, honed by imminent loss,” she writes of seeing the 1970 movie Love Story. But what starts in film weaves into a touching personal story of her own experiences with death. Ison examines how the best films make us turn the lens inward, examining our own lives and experiences in a way we would not have without them. Patterns emerge throughout the Ison’s collection as she explores the art of writing and her own journey toward living on the page. These essays, combining cultural criticism with deeply personal reflections on love, religion, family, and the nature of art, offer brilliant analysis and food for thought for film aficionados and casual fans alike. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/24/2014
Release date: 01/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-61902-514-1
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