I’m quite certain there must be some mediocre book that was made into a great film but I can’t for the life of me think of one. Anyone? Can someone put me out of my misery here?
The reverse, obviously, is a commonplace occurrence. Most recently, Teenager Daughter and I were disappointed by the movie Me Before You based on the satisfying weepie by Jojo Moyes. The Martian by Andy Weir seemed like the most cinematic of books but the movie was, to be frank, shite. Gillian Anderson in Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth was abysmal. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (by Louis de Bernières) particularly broke my heart.
I wonder whether some people are avid readers mostly because they happen to be very good at imagining the characters, the dialogue and the action inside their head.Then, like playing the piano or piping royal icing, the more you do it the better you get. Is that what it means to be a good reader?
That might explain why it’s so important to start while you are young and willing to accept fairytales as reality. I remain tragically gullible. I take everything literally and believe every word that anyone says to me. I’m an easy target but I am a good reader.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the BBC make brilliant dramatisations. That is probably because they are just brilliant but also because they make six or eight or even twelve part series and they put everything in. If a dramatisation takes as long to watch as it took to read the book you are off to a good start.
I had detected recently a bit of buzz about a book called The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent (great name, eh? Go on, say it in your head and roll that last R). The interesting thing was that every review I came across compared it to a movie –Amélie – rather than any other book.
It’s a book about books, about book writers and book lovers and good readers but it’s not like any other book. The movie that plays in your head as you read it feels like a sweet, French film.
It’s also very short, short enough (I think) to squeeze the whole lot of it into a film. I’m really hoping it will be made, made in France and made in French. I think there is a good chance that this good book could be a great film.