Kisah nyata seorang ayah yang mengizinkan putranya berhenti bersekolah—asalkan putranya itu mau menonton tiga film seminggu.
Ketika anak laki-laki David Gilmour yang berusia lima belas tahun, Jesse, mulai keteteran dalam semua mata pelajaran di sekolah, ayah yang satu ini menawarkan perjanjian yang tidak lumrah: Jesse boleh berhenti bersekolah—tidak bekerja, tidak membayar sewa rumah—tapi dengan satu syarat. Dalam seminggu, Jesse harus menonton tiga film yang dipilih ayahnya. Maka, minggu demi minggu, ayah dan anak duduk bersebelahan menonton film-film terbaik (dan kadang terburuk) di dunia—serta mengobrol tentang film dan kehidupan. Kemudian, ketika klub film mereka hampir mencapai akhir yang membahagiakan sekaligus menyedihkan, tapi tak terelakkan, Jesse membuat keputusan yang membuat semua orang terkejut, termasuk ayahnya....
“Hangat... potret yang indah dan nyata tentang ayah dan anak laki-laki—labil, tidak sempurna, sarat akan kesedihan dan pengharapan.” —Newsweek
“Sebuah memoar yang cerdas.” —USA Today
“Menuturkan hubungan ayah-anak yang begitu dekat dan membangun, yang mungkin membuat banyak orangtua yang memiliki anak remaja merasa iri.” —San Jose Mercury News
“Mengharukan... lebih dari sekali saya menitikkan air mata.” —Douglas McGrath, New York Times Book Review
“Cerdas, menggelitik... keterbukaan yang menyegarkan... menginspirasi lewat penggambarannya tentang figur ayah yang berbeda dari biasa... buku yang sangat memukau." —Sunday Oregonian
“Sebuah memoar yang lucu, tajam, dan tidak menonjolkan diri; sangat berbeda dari semua pedoman pengasuhan anak yang pernah kita baca. (Buku ini juga memuat banyak ulasan singkat yang cerdas tentang film.)” —www.salon.com
Gramedia Pustaka Utama 2011
Cathleen: I quit. I cannot stand to read any more. I had been looking forward to reading this and was very much hoping to include it in the library's blog, but I can't do it. I kept pushing and reached the half-way mark, but no more.
A father allows his teenage son to drop out of school on the condition they together watch three movies (of his dad's choice) a week -- no job required, no pretense of schooling. The movies themselves are only cursorily discussed, which seems one of the biggest flaws both with the plan and with the book.
Yes, I get it that this was more about the two spending time together and building communication, but when the father condones heavy drinking, smoking, and sex in the house, and he just waits for his son to have a random epiphany about moving forward in life, he loses huge points in credibility, to say the least. The father himself is self-congratulatory in the worst way and more than happy to excuse even glaring faults in himself; I neither liked nor could sympathize with him, especially when he chooses Basic Instinct for the second film. This isn't even well-written. I just feel sorry for all connected to this book, including those who read it.
Jen: There is a limit to what you can force your child to do, especially once they've reached the age of 16 and are taller than you. David Gilmour recognized that fact and (bravely) let his son Jesse drop out of school on the condition that, together, they watch and discuss three movies each week. A former film critic for the CBC, Gilmour makes his movie selections with the intention of teaching his son as much as he can in the time they have left together.
Being neither a father nor a son myself, I marvel at the picture Gilmour paints of this extremely complicated relationship. These two make mistakes, get angry and disappoint one another, but they never shut each other out for long. I was pleasantly surprised (and a little awed) by the candor of their conversations and the range of topics they discuss, many of which I imagined to be off-limits to a teenage boy.
I'm most impressed by Gilmour's faith in his son, even in the wake of some horrible decisions and dangerous mistakes. He clearly understands Jesse in a way that many parents don't -- as an individual with completely separate (and sometimes incomprehensible) motivations. This understanding is what allows him to push through his feelings of fear and failure, and keep trying to forge a relationship with his son.
This book was an honest and unflinching look at the father-son relationship, both funny and bittersweet. I came away with a new understanding of why sons need fathers in their lives, and what it means to let your children grow up.
Courtney: I couldn't get through this one. The first thing that bugged me was the language. It was one of those "hey! I can swear!" books that was just for shock value. But that doesn't surprise me coming from this author who does seem to want to be "hip". Gilmour said that he wasn't trying to be cool, but actions speak louder than words. If you are letting your teenager drop out of school, have sex, smoke, and top it off by requiring him to watch rated R movies, then sorry, but I think you're trying to be cool.
I'm coming from a place where I am actually trying to educate my daughter myself because she does not fit into that public school mode. I get that. I guess I just don't understand why he set the bar so low... infuriated, I am not one who feels the need to finish a book just to say that I did.
I skipped to the end to see that he went back to school (good-- and I'm sure that this Film Club idea helped him, I just don't like the book!) and curiously, the last line of the book reads:
"You're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool."
Was this about making a kid cool?