- Divergent – Veronica Roth
- Insurgent – Veronica Roth
- Allegiant – Veronica Roth
- The Mammoth Book of Angels and Demons
- Last Night at Chateau Marmont – Lauren Weisberger
The Green Mile – Stephen King
- Tiger Men – Judy Nunn
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion The Rosie Effect – Graeme Simsion The Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare et al
- Moriarty – Anthony Horowitz
- The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
I’ve been staying with a friend of mine for the past few days, so I’ve been sitting on this review for a while now. When I finished The Green Mile, my friend gave me another book to read because he figured that it was one of the signs of the apocalypse that I wasn’t reading anything. I calmly explained that I don’t start reading a new book until I write up the one I just finished. And then he laughed at me.
Non-bloggers just don’t understand!
Anyway, to business. Reading this book was quite an experience. See, I saw the movie before I read the book. Normally this has very little effect on how you read the book because, well, Hollywood has a tendency to mess up the original story. But in the case of The Green Mile, reading the book was exactly like watching the movie. Of course, the progression of events is a little different but each and every scene was 98% identical to the movie. And to the director of the movie, Frank Darabont, I say “kudos”. I think the director of the Hunger Games movies, Gary Ross, must be taking a leaf out of Darabont’s book. Neither director decided to change the stories that were given to them. If only more directors were like these two.
I say that reading the book was an “experience” because it was like I was recalling the movie in my head as I read. Like the movie was on super-slow play in my mind as I turned from page to page. But I wasn’t bored. I think it was King’s writing that kept me going more so than the plot, given that I knew the plot pretty well going in. I mean, this sentence is just beautiful:
“It was sweet and lovely, that smile, perhaps the more so because it wasn’t complicated by much in the way of thought.”
But the scene in which this line appears was really familiar to me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the book was predictable, but only because the directors of the movie had done such a stand-up job of keeping to King’s original vision. And this beautiful predictability did not, in anyway, detract from the emotion of the final scene. It was still just as heart-wrenching as the movie scene was.
NB: Did we find out what happened to Edgecombe’s wife in the movie? I don’t remember, but I feel like it was cut from the film. Tell me if I’m wrong, guys! Because this was one little twist that I sure didn’t see coming. So maybe it wasn’t in the movie?
Probably the main thing to keep in mind about the version of The Green Mile that I was reading is that this book was a compendium of six volumes. Originally, this book was broken down into six separate books and, as such, at the beginning of each new part (coinciding with where the next volume would have started), we get a whole lot of repetition. In fact, in a few of the beginning sections, whole pages were copied word-for-word from its preceding volume. This is jarring and more than a little infuriating but if you think of these repetitions as being the same as the “Previously On >insert your favourite TV show here<…” bits of television, then your frustration disappears a little.
The one critique I do have is that besides the women, John Coffey, and Paul Edgecombe (or Tom Hanks’ character), the characters weren’t easy to differentiate from one another. Our secondary characters of Harry, Dean, and Brutal, all kind of blurred together. I think because there wasn’t much in the way of character description. And they all had fairly identical dialogue. I think this lack of character definition is overlooked in the movie because you can physically see the differences between the men. One of the benefits of working with the silver screen, I suppose.
I feel like giving a star-rating to this book is bordering on the sacrilegious because the movie is such a classic, and King is such a prolific and beloved author. But I’m going to do it anyway. More to solidify my thoughts on this book than anything. This review was a little all over the place today, and so if you’re not sure which side I actually came down on regarding The Green Mile, my star rating is: