Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Elixir of Life


I get it. In our day and age, looks are basically everything. We strive to look younger, fitter, slimmer, tanner, etc. But why? What has made us become so obsessed with looks? I'm not really sure. Hilary Duff's book Elixir doesn't exactly examine this question, but it is about staying young forever. Kind of. Elixir follows the story of Clea, a girl who's mom is a state senator and who's dad is a renowned doctor. Her dad has disappeared, and everyone presumed he's dad. But Clea doesn't have closure on this subject. She doesn't think her dad is really dead. Clea, by the way, has become a "talented photojournalist," or so it says on the cover flap. When she notices a strange man showing up in all her pictures, she has to figure out why. So she searches out this man, and together they go on a journey to figure out her father's disappearance. Sounds promising, right? I wouldn't get your hopes up too far. This story may sound original, but it's really just another predictable romance.

I will give Hilary Duff credit. I originally thought this book was going to be another book about faeries (there are A LOT out there that have been published in the recent years). However, faeries were not involved anywhere in the story. Instead she brings in a different piece of mythology: the Elixir of Life. A potion that makes you immortal! Now this brings us back to the beginning of my post. After reading this book, I heard an ad on the radio for a cream that makes you look 10-15 years younger! (sure it does). And it made me think, why do we have to look younger? What is wrong with looking the age you really are? Actually, what's wrong with looking the way you are in general? People are so caught up in looks that they do crazy things to themselves. And this is why we have disorders like anorexia and bulimia. We can't be comfortable with the way we look because of the images we are presented with in society. Images that aren't natural, images that aren't normal. All magazine images, ads on billboards, etc, are photo-shopped in some way. It's very rare that people look like that in real life. So don't strive to be like that. Be yourself. It's the best thing you can be :)

I actually wrote about this in my paper on Twilight for my vampire class. I said that Twilight reflects our own fears of aging, and how we're so obsessed with staying young and beautiful that we will do anything to achieve that immortality. It's crazy. And it also brings us back to ElixirThe people in this book were so obsessed with their own immortality that they were willing to kill for it. Isn't that a little drastic? In a way, this book could also reflect our society's fear of aging. The characters were so desperate for that youth, that they did crazy things to get their hands on the Elixir. Fear drives people to do crazy things. It's why our society is so messed up.

So did I like Elixir? Yes and no. It was better than I thought it was going to be, but it was still way to predictable for my liking. And it had another cliff hanger ending! Can't anyone just write one book anymore? Why does everything have to be turned into a series? You can write a book that stands well on its own, you know. Lots of people have done it. So why don't you give it a try.

Next I will be reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It was recommended to me by several people, so I decided that I would read it. Do you have a book that you think I should read? Comment and let me know! :)

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