The only thing I love more than reading is television.  OK, that’s probably not true.  I love my family and running and theatre and teaching, and I might even love one or more of those things more than I love television.  But I REALLY love television.

So when I heard one of my favorite recent reads 11/22/63 by Stephen King was being made into a mini-series I was pumped.  The novel tells the story of Jake/George Amberson who finds a wormhole and time travels back to 1959 to try to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy. My husband recommended the book and I read it, all 700+ pages of it, during my maternity leave.  And while it didn’t seem like the kind of book I’d like (I don’t get time travel.  I just don’t get it.), I loved it.  My husband and I have had several conversations about it since I finished it, and we were both looking forward to the mini-series.

My one word review?  Eh.  It’s good.  It’s probably doing the best job it can adapting an epic book that is full of backstory and internal monologue and emotional nuance.  The book is great.  The mini-series is not.  It’s good.  But definitely not great.

Which made me wonder about book adaptations.  I have seen some that I’ve loved.  I’ve loved all of the Harry Potter movies.  I love any version of Pride and Prejudice you put in front of me.  I liked Hunger Games, and Catching Fire, but didn’t feel compelled to see Mockingjay.  The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books and I loved the recent movie adaptation even though I don’t think it’s a great adaptation, just a good movie.

I think, maybe, the key is that a good adaptation, for me, has to stand on its own.  It has to be a good movie or television show, not just a good version of its source material.

Still, it’s nice sitting down once a week debating with my husband the finer points of assassination history (read Assassination Vacation if you haven’t–you won’t regret it!), and whether these time travel rules are better or worse than those in Back to the Future (verdict: they’re different, but not better).



Filed under Books, SOL16, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Adaptations

  1. I agree – I’m either totally captivated by a movie based on a book (HP! Divergent!) or totally disappointed. I am curious about 11/22/63 – maybe I’ll get to read it this summer.

  2. Darlene Andre

    I love to read too. When a book I love becomes a movie it needs to be true to the book as well as creative and intriguing to get my vote for great. Many of the Harry Potter books did well as movies, some fell a bit short. I always remind my students to “not judge a book by it’s movie.”

  3. Well I am totally intrigued by the book you mention but I can see where television would just not be able to cut it with the adaptation. I figure if the book translates really well into film, than it will be on the big screen! I read some books (The Martian and The Help for example) and I just know someone already has the movie in the works!

  4. I really liked the way you distinguised between an adaptation and a good movie based on a book. I am often frustrated when a book doesn’t translate to the big screen the way I had hoped. Once in awhile, though, I can appreciate the movie on its own merits and look past my own expectations. Great post!

  5. Movies that are book adaptations always feel flat to me. Sometimes this is improved if there is enough distance between when I read the book and when I saw the movie. It sounds like the book is great- I have not read any Stephen King in so long- maybe I will pick this one up (like you not a time travel fan, so we shall see).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s