My Thoughts On. . .
The Book of Flora
Time marches on. One hundred and forty-four years have now passed for our heroines following in the footsteps of the Unnamed midwife. Flora is growing old and content at Bambrich island, a place she felt was safe enough to settle and live out her days.
But to get there?
Ah, it’s been a long, long journey. We discover what happened to Nowhere; to Jeff City; to Ommun and many other settlements like them who tried to rebuild a part of themselves in the aftermath of a devastating plague, only to fall to an army the likes of which hasn’t existed since the end of the old world.
And why is it marching?
Now that’s another story, bringing a fitting end to the Midwife chronicles.
The thing that struck me about this series is that, sometimes, the end of an era brings changes we don’t expect. Strange and frightening changes. But wondrous nonetheless.
That’s how the author, Meg Elison rounds her story off. Life finds a way . . . if we only let it.
Our story revolves around fourteen year old Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a boy abandoned by his mother when he was a little boy, and someone who has been brought up in one foster home after another ever since. The reason? He constantly runs away, having never given up searching for his mom.
Given one last chance, Billy is placed in a “family” home with foster parents who have successfully raised a wackily weird host of other children. Just the right fit you might think.
Yes and no.
Billy is adamant he’s not going to cave in and feel like he belongs. But when he stands up to bullies at school who target his foster-brother, Freddie – who walks with a brace – Billy is summoned to appear before a dying master magician who is looking for a champion to take on the mantle of his power.
The thing is, Billy knows he’s not a champion. That seems to make an impression on the wizard who transfers his power into him with the magic word – Shazam!
Whenever he says that word, Billy becomes the champion he could be. A towering, muscle-rippling hero who is super strong, agile and fast, and can fly and shoot lightning bolts from his fingertips.
The twist? He may look like a grown man, but he’s still a fourteen year old boy inside.
And therein resides the recipe for a fast paced and I must say, charmingly funny film that is way better than I thought it would be. The balance between slapstick and action; childlike glee and menacing terror is just right. Probably because Billy’s back-story of the continued search for his mother is a credible thread holding everything together.
That vulnerability, the insecurities and stigma that come with being abandoned leak over into his development from loner school kid into a real life hero who has to learn by trial and error exactly what his abilities allow him to do. Of course, Freddie’s there to help him, and the two mess about as teenagers would do, just as much as actually applying themselves to testing Billy/Shazam’s limits.
It's great fun, engaging and downright entertaining. And it never seems to go too far. When has the learning curve of grow up ever been so magical?