Monday, July 12, 2010

Bendable Barbie

Compact Disc Review

Available from Regina Carpenter at Email: $15.00 (includes shipping and handling) Recommended for teens and adults.

Reviewed By Linda Goodman

I have heard so many funny stories since the economy tanked that I have been starving for stories with meat. THANK YOU REGINA CARPENTER!

Funny is fine, but life is a serious matter, and it is important to recognize those bittersweet moments where hard lessons are learned through the suffering we endure. Carpenter softens those lessons by allowing us to view them through the eyes of innocence: A child is our tour guide through sorrows, fear, pain and exquisite beauty.

Bendable Barbie is a story in pieces, with each piece centered around a Christmas memory. Oranges Christmas introduces us to Carpenter’s mother, a woman who can fix things because she is an artist. Walnuts painted gold and red yarn adorn her Christmas tree, and engraved oranges are special gifts that make a lean Christmas seem grand.

Spaghetti Turkey Christmas revolves around a Christmas provided by Welfare. Even an artistic mother runs for cover when a father suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is shamed by the fact that he cannot provide for his family. A child witnesses her spaghetti turkey become spaghetti worms, but life goes on and loves pastes the pieces together.

Miniature O’Henry Bar Christmas is set after Carpenter’s family opens a grocery store and a Mexican Hairless Chihuahua comes to live with the family, courtesy of Aunt Marguerite, a beautician who sells dogs on the side. This particular dog likes to leave souvenirs.

Ambush Christmas details a mad rush to the Christmas tree – if you don’t get there quick, someone else will get your presents. Almost as heartbreaking is getting a “beige” present in a Catholic/Protestant town where stores are not open on Christmas day.

Bendable Barbie Christmas Features a present both “beautiful and beige,” to the delight of a child and to the relief of a father who has always been touched by war.

Thank You, Mrs. Minnick is the story of how a librarian makes the world a safer place, as a young girl learns karate from the Royal Canadian Air Force Book of Self Defense. The phrase “do not try this at home” takes on new meaning.

The Fire Dream tells of first time mothers who start the WMO (Wholly Maternal Organization). Happiness is, indeed, an illusion, but the fire we carry within us keeps us safe and warm through the obstacles life put in our paths.

Carpenter is a skillful storyteller who knows how to use her elegant voice to set mood and pauses to allow us to absorb truths that don’t need to be explained. Peter Dodge’s haunting music creates a yearning for the nostalgic archeology this CD provides. Long after the CD has stopped, the stories will be remembered and will remind us of our own struggles and the growth and strength that resulted from them. Life is not diminished by pain. Rather, life triumphs in spite of it.

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