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Ok, this book was hell. And I totally mean that in a good way.  I mean, I read the book first. I just watched the film yesterday. And the book made me scared to watch the movie. But I'm glad I did. Here are my thoughts. Won't you share yours too?

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By hell, I mean that this book was the hardest "easy read" I think I've ever read. Really.  It was a constant string of hardships painted against a beautiful tapestry of words and strong soaring imagery. It was little flecks of salt in a sea of black pepper. It was life, hard, unrelenting, difficult.

The book was real. Organic. The no-holds-barred version of life.  So true that half way through, I would have been exhausted enough to walk away had it not been for the depth of the connection the author had created between myself and the characters. Surely I couldn't abandon them too?

What a story. A story of joy, pain, loyalty, guilt, culture, connection and coming of age.

I'll be honest: after reading this book, I needed a break from all those very difficult emotions. I needed time to process the story. I contemplated how I'd ever make it through the film. I though about how on earth I would adapt it if given the task.  

In the end I enjoyed the film and was glad that they left so much of the endless tragedy out. That said, the movie necessarily also lacked the depth f the book, the character development and the relationships. It did a good job of sticking closely to the story. I liked the pacing and was glad for the "relief scenes" with the gorgeous kite flying imagery. I felt as if the kite flying was also my only respite from pain and tragedy. So good job. I was fully identified with the characters.  Though I'm not sure how much of that identification was left over from the connections that started with the book version, ya know?

I missed the women from the book. I didn't miss the suicide attempt which was like a final belly blow to me toward the end of reading the book. I was set to be in the clear and BAM, right in the hope-and-relief spot. Right there at the end when I was ready to wrap things up nicely in a bow. God, I have to admit, I'm glad it was left out of the film. I just didn't have the strength to endure to again, especially on film.

So. What did you miss? What would you have done differently? What would have made the book or movie better for you? What are your thoughts?
_________________________
NEXT TIME: INTO  THE WILD by Jon Krakauer This will be an interesting discussion because the book by Krakauer was a best seller. Sean Penn adapted it for the screen and won an Oscar for best adaptation (which admittedly is NOT the same as best screenplay, but still). Yet the film tanked.  What's that all about, anyway?! Read the book, watch the movie and if you're so inclined read the script for freeand let's meet back here on FRIDAY JUNE 3rd at 9 p.m. talk about it. Bring a glass of wine.JUNE 3rd
Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Fri May 13, 2011 at 06:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.

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