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Culture Watch

And Consider This

Cinema

Stephen Spielberg's smash movie, Catch Me If You Can, while very enjoyable, evokes some family history. My grandfather was a con artist, chased from one European country to another by the police authorities until, finally, with countries to escape to running out, he emigrated to the US. Once here, he continued his questionable profession, going so far as to pose as a veterinarian for a brewery and a circus, possessing no training in that field.

At times, my mother's family was financially well off when her father's schemes were going well. When they didn't, the children would return from school only to find their furniture and goods were on the street due to an eviction order. Charming, bright and inventive, my grandfather could never quite fit into society's more acceptable roles, unlike Abagnale today.

Although Leonardo de Caprio makes Frank Abagnale's life appear carefree, Abagnale is very frank about the true nature of his life as con man on the run:

Q: Do you have any regrets regarding your teen years as far as not choosing a different path in life?

ABAGNALE: Yes, I have a lot of regrets. Though some people are fascinated with what I did as a teenager and find it very exciting, I lost my entire youth, 16 - 21 running from the police and 21-26 sitting in prison. Being on the run was a very lonely life. I never got to go to a senior prom, a high school football game or share a relationship with someone my own age. Even though I know where it brought me today, I wouldn't want to have to live it over again.

BookBrowse carries an excerpt from Abagnale's book, The Art of the Steal.

Books

Bloomsbury, the publishers of the Harry Potter series, have quite rightly released some tidbits of the forthcoming fifth in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, now expected on June 21st of this year. Perhaps this enough to hold you 'til then, but we doubt it:

The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive The only person left outside was a teenage boy who was lying flat on his back in a flowerbed outside number four.

Later in the novel, J K Rowling writes:

Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses.

It is time, he said, for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry.

Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything.

Sadly, you can't order the novel to be sent to the US direct from Bloomsbury because of copyright laws but it is possible to order from online UK and US booksellers in advance of the publication date.

T.G.

©2003 Tam Gray for SeniorWomenWeb 
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