Switched at Birth: More Mindless ABC Family Drama

Because I’m supposed to be studying for two tests that I take tomorrow, and I have access to Netflix, I have recently been watching far too much of a show called Switched at Birth. It’s an ABC Family Drama about two girls who were switched at birth, and the ensuing chaos as both families “find out.” (There’s a reason find out is in quotation marks, but in case you haven’t seen the show & are planning on watching it, I will spare you the spoiler-y reason why.)

The Girls

The Switched

While I think it’s interesting that one of the switched girls is deaf, I find some of the situations that entails ridiculous. I cannot comment on whether ABC Family does a good portrayal of deafness, not being deaf myself – though I have a feeling the channel’s portrayal of deaf teens is probably about as realistic as their portrayal of regular teens (I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I was in high school, the knocked-up girls usually just dropped out of school, unnoticed, my peers and I were not constantly attacked and holding huge secrets, and I wasn’t stalked by some suave, ridiculously sneaky-smart psycho).

What do I mean by ridiculous situations? The deaf girl, Daphne, is kind of “deaf light.” She speaks (very well), and can usually understand you when you speak – as long as you’re looking at her, and not leading an auction (though if you’re interested in auctioneering, you can always watch this). So in the pilot, as Daphne and her non-biological mother are driving to meet their biological family members, they’re having a conversation in the car. This means non-bio mom (aka Regina) is signing and facing her passenger while driving.

It's like they're asking to get in a car crash.

It’s like they’re asking to get in a car crash.

I’ve read/heard good things about Vanessa Marano’s acting ability, but don’t really see much to praise. She’s pretty, but doesn’t really look Latina (particularly considering that her mother & father both look very Mexican & Spanish), and her emotions all seem kind of forced. I feel like her character is written well, but she feels fake. It makes sense that a rich, entitled girl would insist that her parents do DNA testing, and then get angry that she was right. It’s hard to feel for someone, though, when every word that comes out of her mouth feels like the director had to insert his hand inside of her puppet-ness and force her mouth open & sound out. Maybe she should have played the deaf girl?

It’s not necessarily worse than most other teen dramas – but it kind of should be, with a ridiculous premise like “switched at birth.” Shouldn’t it?

Writing Workshop in a Book

Back in November, B&N offered Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose for $1.99 (gotta love NaNoWriMo deals).

If you can say this title 10 times fast, you are amazing.

If you can say this title 10 times fast, you are amazing.

I finally got around to reading it, in bits & spurts, throughout my winter semester, and finally finished it today.

If you like writing, or reading about the writing process, I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. Prose has a great outlook on great books – some of which I’ve read, some of which are now on my TBR list. She points out that you probably should not write if you do not read copiously, because it is by reading the works of others that you learn how to write.

Now, you’ve probably heard that advice before. So why bother reading her book, right? Because she proceeds to walk you through how she analyzes great works. She provides snippets & synopses, so you can understand what she’s talking about whether you have read the book or not (though I cannot stress strongly enough that if you have not read the book, you will want to read it).

The best thing, though, is her positive outlook. Read the greats, and don’t feel discouraged that they wrote so beautifully in a way that you can probably never accomplish, yourself. Feel encouraged that you have the best mentors available for writing, and you can access them anytime, in an easily transportable fashion, in most locations.

Even if you can read in a movie theater, you probably shouldn't.

Even if you can read in a movie theater, you probably shouldn’t.

Here are some of my favorite, current quotes:

“It’s a good idea to have a designated section of your bookshelf…for books by writers who have obviously worked on their sentences, revising and polishing them into gems that continue to dazzle us. These are works you can turn to whenever you feel that your own style is getting a little slack or lazy or vague.”

“Literature is an endless source of courage and confirmation. The reader and beginning writer can count on being heartened by all the brave and original works that have been written without the slightest regard for how strange or risky they were, or for what the writer’s mother might have thought when she read them.”

Something I love about this book, is that I can tell I can pick it up at anytime, choose a chapter for purpose or at random, and feel energized to write as a result. And also that new favorite quotes will crop up with every reading.