Wednesday, March 17, 2010

books i didn't like becoming movies i probably won't like either

I was surprised to learn the other day that 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog' was being made into a movie, and slightly less surprised to find out that 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' was too. The surprise came with a certain feeling of frustration- why these books? Although this was tempered by the thought that perhaps an adaptation of a book you don't like is likely to be less frustrating than an adaptation of one you do.

I'm saying right now that I have no intention of ever watching 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'- it was violent on the page, on the screen that will surely be unbearable. I've said something on this blog about it already, and while it was quite a page-turner I was glad to put it down.

'The Elegance of the Hedgehog' is a different kettle of fish (well, it is a totally different book), and something I haven't already addressed here. It's a much more gentle books, really about the inner lives of a middle-aged Parisian concierge and a 12 year old Parisian girl. I don't know if I was just in a rather irritable mood at the time, but it grated on me. I wanted to like the characters, but I found it hard, because of their calculated superiority, and the way they felt that the world cheated them, while really they were imposing limits on themselves. It made it hard to listen to their thoughts and philosophising, because at base I thought they were wrong. I may have been a bit harsh on them, and by the end I had warmed to them somewhat- motivations were explained, lessons were learned. But in a book with so little plot it seems a bit tough to leave all the exposition to the end. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it, and I wonder what kind of movie they will make of it. 

'The Slap' is looking like being the latest on my list of 'books I don't like all that much', but I haven't finished it yet... I thought none of the characters were at all sympathetic, but there have been a couple of moments which are ok. So far it is pretty much a pattern of sex, infidelity, swearing, drugs and marital strife, and that is becoming dull. If there is one thing that's probably unfashionable but I really like, it's a sympathetic character, and there are a shortage of those. You can make a cheating, swearing, drug-taking character sympathetic, I mean I'm not saying that I can't like a book with these elements, but if none of the characters are likeable I just want to throw the book on the ground and never pick it up again. Because I just don't care what any of them do.


  1. Anonymous18/3/10 21:00

    the good news is that, although they may be planning to make a film of the book, it may not get to production, or if it does, it may tank before anyone much sees it. Or it may never make it to the antipodes.
    Just a cheerful thought for you...

  2. I think they're too far along for that... I've seen movie posters and previews. But thanks for the thought :)

  3. Anonymous19/3/10 23:43

    ah well, there are worse things, and you can always spend the night in.