By Sandra Byrd
Last night my husband and I heartily enjoyed The King’s Speech, a movie which is, in the words of Princess Margaret, splendid. I’d read that the director had asked the Queen Mother for permission to make the story and she’d agreed – but only if he did so after she passed away. We speculated on that on the way home. Perhaps she felt awkward that the movie would show her husband, Bertie (George VI) , in his moments of greatest anxiety and struggle, and reveal some of the hidden difficulties of his life.
But these very things, and his courage and perseverance against them, make him so endearing.
A constant cinematic undercurrent revealed how often many of those around Bertie – his family, his nanny, those who were supposed to work for him, even his spiritual leader (the Archbishop of Canterbury) treated him with condescension and derision due to his “weakness”, a stammer. Rather, it may be the moral shortcoming of much of the human race, as much inside the church as outside it, to turn like a pack of jackals upon the perceived weakest member of the herd.
It’s bullying behavior, and in human life, when a bully chooses a victim and uses his smooth talk to gossip about, deride, smear, harass, attempt to control, or make fun of another, all of which happened to Bertie, others around him or her often either join in or ignore the behavior, which only abets it. One supposes these silent partners or new recruits are simply glad that they themselves are not the target. But as orator Edmund Burke famously said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
I won’t share how the movie ends in hopes that you may want to see it for yourself, because although it is rated R for some language (within his stammer training) the movie is, well, splendid. The hero, both heroes, were men of ultimate humility. Those who talked “smooth” had nothing worthwhile to say while those who struggled were worth listening to. The strong, ultimately, were weak, and the weak were strong.
As for me, I will be thinking upon Jesus, who came to save the least of these – the woman at the well – and then I’ll speak up against those who use their smooth tongues and influence to inflict thousands of painful paper cuts in myriad ways upon the souls of others. We are, after all, human, made in and to reflect the image of God. Not jackals.
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Thank you to Novel Teen, for ranking Asking For Trouble as the #1 YA book of 2010!
As Listed On Novel Teen
It’s that time of year again. If you are looking for a book to give to a friend or family member, we hope this list will give you some inspiration. Click on the title or picture to view each book on Amazon.com. Merry Christmas!
#1 – Asking for Trouble
(Book one in the London Confidential series) by Sandra Byrd (A contemporary series for girls. All four books in the series are now available.)
Review by Jill Williamson:
Savvy Smith and her family recently moved to England to live. Savvy misses her best friend from Seattle. She’s trying to make new friends in London, but it seems no one has room for a new friend in their life, especially a weird American.
An opportunity arises for Savvy to work at the school newspaper. She has always wanted to be a journalist and she hopes this might be a way to make some friends. She applies for the position, but her lack of experience makes her a paperboy instead of columnist. If only she could find a way to prove that she is a good writer. But how?
Sandra Byrd always tells a good story. I love her Friends for a Season books, so I was excited to read her new series. Asking for Trouble did not disappoint. I enjoyed Savvy’s character, how she thought things out and how she struggled to understand all the differences in British culture and language. Sandra did a great job with her British accents and lingo in the other character’s dialogue. It was fun to read. I also liked Savvy’s determination and drive to make her own future, rather than mope about what she didn’t have or try to follow someone else. This was a fun read that made you think and I highly recommend it.
Age Range: 12 and up
Part of a Series: London Confidential, book one
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As they say in Jolly Old England. And I hope you have a Merry one, too, if you’re stateside or anywhere else in this beautiful world. The British have a lovely Christmas tradition to help celebrate the season, a Christingle. Each person at the service or gathering gets an orange, which represents the world. Around it is tied a red ribbon, which represents the blood of Christ. In the middle is a candle, which is lit at the same time as everyone else’s. The light, of course, represents Jesus. “I am the light of the world.” Father Christmas, too, plays an important role in my first London Confidential book, Asking For Trouble.
2011 will bring more London for your reading pleasure with my new series for adults, Ladies in Waiting. This time, we’ll be travelling on horseback to the 16th century. To Die For, is the story of Meg Wyatt, pledged forever as the best friend to Anne Boleyn since their childhoods. When Anne’s star begins to ascend, of course she takes her best friend Meg along for the ride. Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling at first, but as Anne’s favor rises and falls, so does Meg’s. And though she’s pledged her loyalty to Anne no matter what the test, Meg just might lose her greatest love—and her own life—because of it. I’ll be sending I’ll be sending out teaser postcards written “by” some of the Tudor characters featured. So if you fancy hearing from Anne Boleyn next year, check your email!
Thank you for reading my books. I wish you a blessed 2011 with friends, family, and the Light of the World.
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