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).