Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Lovely Bones

About a month and a half ago I started reading The Lovely Bones in anticipation of the movie. I have never been much of a reader, I go through spurts where I find something I love and read non-stop until I'm finished, but for the most part I'm a book collector and not a reader. I started The Lovely Bones in December but finals and the holidays kept me from really getting into it. This week our DVR broke and school has been especially boring so I've fallen into reading again.

The Lovely Bones is quite an interesting book. The story of a girl, Susie Salmon (like the fish) who is murdered at 14, and the struggle she faces of letting go of earth, and the struggle her family and friends face of letting her go.
In general, I'd say the story is about loss and how different people choose to deal with it, including those who are lost. The story is told by Susie as she sits up in her Heaven, or the inbetween--between heaven and earth, looking down on those whom she loved. The book suggests that those who are gone are not really gone. Even though Susie is no longer on earth, she is still connected to her family and friends.

After her death, her killer remains a mystery. Her dad becomes obsessed with finding her killer. He focuses all his attention on his own investigation that he drives away his wife who would like nothing more than to put it all to rest. Susie watches from heaven as her family seems to fall apart, all the while she can't let go of them and tries to lead them to her killer who lives among them.

I loved the book. When I picked it up today I was half way through and the second half took no time to finish.

I proceeded to dive into the movie with the book still fresh in my mind and I actually like the movie. Rottentomato hates the movie, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. The acting was superb which is evidenced in the multiple awards the cast of the movie have been nominated for.
There are differences between the book and the movie, that is a given. I have yet to experience a movie that fully does justice to the book (even Harry Potter books are a million times better than the movies which I love so much). I have recently come to accept that in my book reading/movie watching experience, creative differences and plot adjustments are expected to be made on account of a movie only being 120 minutes. The adjustments made in this scenario I can accept. Certain characters aren't well developed (like Ruth and Ray, Susie's classmates who are especially affected by her death), the timeline of the movie is a bit skewed but I blame that on the movie not having the run time to include the near decade that passed from when Susie dies, to when she can finally let go of earth, and the family drama is really mild in the movie (in the book the mom has an affair with Len, the lead investigator on Susie's case, and is absent for over 5 years time-Lindsay the younger daughter graduates high school and college while she is gone), but I believe the movie stands well on its own.
I'm torn over whether movies should be held to the same scale as the books by which they are influenced. I'm on the search to find the movie that is capable of capturing everything the book has, when that movie has been discovered I will reconsider how I judge movies to books.

1 comment:

Amanda S. said...

I view movies based on books as an enjoyable way of reminiscing about the book. It's a pretty low standard: do I enjoy how the movie reminds of my experience reading the book? If so, then the movie has served its purpose.