Thursday, June 24, 2010

BTRN Poll (Round 2) and LOVELY BONES

The voting is complete for round 2 of which book I should read next, and the winner is Chronicles of Narnia. I'm still reading Dial Me for Murder by Amanda Matetsky (I'm bogged down by teaching a summer course while trying to get through my reading list), but as soon as I finish it (hopefully in the next couple of days), I will begin reading Chronicles of Narnia.

I must be in a movie-watching mood because lately, I've been spending my free time decompressing by watching movies. I've gone through quite a few of them over the past couple weeks, and the other day, I watched yet another movie that was based on a book: The Lovely Bones.

I read the book quite a while ago (at least four years ago), so I didn't remember a lot of specific details about the book before I watched the movie. I remember that I didn't necessarily like the book, but at the same time, it was a book that made me think--and cry. It was one of those weird "I can't figure out how I feel about this book" kind of feelings once I finished it. From what I can remember of the book, though, I think the movie stayed pretty faithful to the overall plot while cutting out a lot of specifics (e.g., it didn't go into detail about what Susie was thinking as she watched her family go on without her) for time constraints.

After watching the movie, I had the same feelings as I had after reading the book--I'm not quite sure if I liked it or not. It was touching (I even cried at a couple points), but something is off about the story. It bothers me that I haven't been able to figure out what bothers me about it, but whatever it is, that element is in both the book and the movie.

I like the ideas that Alice Sebold explores--the middle ground between heaven and earth, what it means to move on, the pain of watching life go on without you mixed with the joy of watching those you love succeed in life, the ugliness of revenge, the potential evil in humans juxtaposed with the potential goodness... I didn't remember having a problem with writing style, and I thought Sebold had a good voice for her main character, Susie Salmon. And yet, something was missing. Any connections I made with the story and characters were purely superficial, and the book didn't have long-term effects on me. But I wanted it to.

Have you ever read a book that left you feeling like you wished you could say you loved it, but you couldn't? Can you figure out what held you back from being able to connect with the book on deeper levels?

As a side note, one outstanding thought I had after watching the movie version of The Lovely Bones is that Stanley Tucci deserves some sort of award for his acting. I watched the entire thing, thinking I should know who was playing the role of Mr. Harvey but never figuring out who it was until I watched the closing credits. He did an amazing job.


brandon curtis said...

I did read "The Lovely Bones," but I have a bit of distance between the movie and the book as well so a source by source comparison is out of the question. But a couple of things about the movie I really don't like are:

1) Everything with the grandmother and Susie's free wheeling and fun montage in the in-between. These moments are jarring shifts in tone.

2) George Harvey's death feels very live action Looney Tuney with him hitting all the cliff facings on the way down and also the way the icicle shimmers with "heaven magic" before it breaks off and stabs him. Utterly ridiculous and hilarious.

I can't think of a better time to mention this book since I just read it, but have you ever read "The End of Alice" by A.M. Homes? The main character of the book strikes me as a cross between Hannibal Lecter and George Harvey. Alice predates Bones by a few years but I wonder if Sebold found inspiration for Harvey from that book. If you've ever read the book I have some directorial choices for it that would make for an interesting discussion.

Also, Sebold's memoir "Lucky" is more emotionally resonant for me than "The Lovely Bones" is and a friend of mine gave up on "The Almost Moon."

Jessie Sams said...

I agree that the movie had some questionable sequences that I most likely would not have chosen had I been the person in charge. I think that at some points, the montages and heaven scenes were meant solely to build drama and not to advance the narrative, which began to frustrate me by the end of the movie. I felt like the heaven scenes were primarily fluff in the movie, whereas those were some of the more important parts of the book (as I remember it).

I haven't read "The End of Alice", but I'm putting it on my wish list because of your comment and its front cover (it looks gorgeous). I can't make any promises about when I'll be able to actually read it, but I hope it will be sooner rather than later.

Post a Comment