MOVIE + BOOK REVIEW: To All the Boys I Loved Before, Jenny Han

It’s been a while, friends. Work is busier than ever and my free time is now mostly spent catching up on my z’s and conquering my towering stacks of unread books. But last Friday (after a 12 hr workday), I knew I had to do something else before I turned in for the night: watch the TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE movie on Netflix.

And it was so perfect, I really have no complaints at all.

I’m super late to the party and only read the trilogy within the past year—but I loved it immediately. An Asian protagonist, love triangles galore, healthy family dynamics…what is there not to love?

A little 411 for those out of the loop: TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE centers on Lara Jean Covey, a teen who writes secret love letters to her crushes but doesn’t send them. Until they mysteriously get sent. Among the recipients include the boy-next-door, Josh, who also happens to be her sister’s boyfriend and Peter Kavinsky, the most popular guy in school.

Ok. So I am a complete sucker for the “childhood friends to lovers” trope. I will read and watch  everything and anything that includes this plot line. When it comes to love triangles, I rarely side with the wildcard or bad boy/girl. I am almost always exclusively on Team Good Girl/Guy or Team Best Friend. (See my love for Dawson Leery and Jem Carstairs) And I will admit to starting this series completely on Team Josh. Even midway through the first book I was still firmly Team Josh. But then something wonderfully unexpected happened to make me switch sides. And that wonderful thing is Peter Kavinsky.

Oh Peter. Peter K. P. Kavinsky. You perfect human being.

I love me some angst and heartache so book two and three both made me cry. And Netflix, if you don’t pick up the rest of the series, I will storm your headquarters…or write some very impassioned tweets. Ok, maybe I’ll just shake my fists.

<—— LOOK AT THOSE CUTIES. I NEED THEIR ENTIRE LOVE STORY, PLEASE.

Minor spoilers below for the movie 🙂

But this film? Five sugary sweet stars. Lana Condor. Your career better blow up after this. She is the absolute perfect Lara Jean and was so damn endearing the entire film. In fact, all of the casting in this movie was SPOT. ON. I loved Kitty. I loved Margot. I loved that John Corbett was the dad. And, of course, Noah Centineo as Peter K made my entire year.

As is typical of most book to movie adaptations, it doesn’t precisely follow the narrative but does a pretty damn good job. The most striking difference to me, was the almost complete elimination of love triangle element—but it didn’t bother me a bit. And I LOVE love triangles.

I’m going to jump on the bandwagon with all the Asian Americans who are teary over the representation. One of my favorite new authors, Akemi Dawn Bowman, said this on Twitter recently about POC’s in lit: “They deserve a chance to learn, ON THE PAGE, that they are worthy of being the love interest. That being a person of color does not make them less desirable or beautiful or WHOLE than the people who get to be love interests over and over and over again.” And I felt this down to my core.

Jenny Han, thank you for not letting production companies whitewash Lara Jean and the Song sisters. Thank you for showing the industry that a young, Asian woman can be the focus of a successful film. Seeing this movie as a teenager would’ve meant the world to me—and it still means a lot at 28. Along with the recent release of CRAZY RICH ASIANS, I hope this trend only continues an upward trend.

If you haven’t read these books, they are super quick, adorable reads that will warm your heart. If you have access to Netflix, start streaming/downloading now. I’ve watched the movie three times now and my heart is so full.

Dear Doctor Friends, Please Stop

Whew. It’s been a hot second since I’ve had a good rant. Did you miss me? And this one has been brewing for a while.

I have a lot of friends in the medical field. Nurses, doctors-to-be, researchers, pharmacists…I’m often the odd one out at parties and large groups of friends. As you all know, I’m also tv fiend. Medical shows aren’t my go-to’s, but I enjoy watching them: Grey’s, The Resident, House, Private Practice, just to name a few. The medical field is also a popular profession for main characters in movies—and why not? They save lives. They’re rich. They’re typically unnaturally good-looking. AKA The Perfect Leads.

So, it will inevitably happen that I’ll be enjoying a beautiful declaration of love from Ashton Kutcher outside of a hospital (No Strings Attached), when the moment is ruined by my friend saying, “That’s such a parking violation. You can’t do that at a hospital. Last week at work….” STOP. You’ve ruined the moment for me.

On Grey’s this season, April had hypothermia and was without a heartbeat for 5+ hours and yet, still woke up fine and without brain damage. Just because I didn’t go to medical school, doesn’t mean that I can’t differentiate between what’s possible and what’s not. I didn’t need the 45-minute diatribe against Shonda Rhimes and the Grey’s writing staff.  What matters is that April DIDN’T die and I’m upset they missed this opportunity to axe her character.

I know that hospital personnel do not frequently bed each other in the on-call room. If a doctor comes to work drunk, they obviously aren’t given a banana bag and told to wait around until their blood work is clean. If a nurse walked in on a doctor screwing a patient, they wouldn’t jump in and make it a threesome. (Ok, SOME might. But let’s be real.) That’s an HR issue. That’s highly unethical. I’m not stupid.

In conclusion, to my “Smart Friends”: Let me have this. From what I can tell from your work stories, your average work day has the potential to be just as boring as mine. I want to watch a show that makes me suspend my disbelief just a little. I want weird medical cases. I want unnecessary drama. I want to watch desperate doctors cut l-vad wires to move their boyfriend up the transplant list.

I love you all—but please shut up. Let me spend an hour gazing at Matt Czuchry in peace.