Thursday, March 08, 2007

OMG, I read a book:
What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal]

This was REALLY terrific. One of my favorite novels. I'm sure the film won't do it justice, just as Todd Field's Little Children lost much of the book's magic in the transfer (though I'm aching to see Judi's performance).

What really clinches the greatness of this book is the way it's all told through Barbara's "manuscript." What an ingenius device. We know more about Barbara through the way she described herself and others than we ever could have learned through some neutral narrator. And of course, the whole manuscript itself is really a great call for help, a way to attempt to escape her loneliness, which says so much. And I love that there's a twist on the idea of the "unreliable narrator" in that Barbara tries as hard as she can to BE reliable and tell the truth as cleanly as possible; she says as much many times. Her narrative is a plea for intimacy. But ironically, the way she compromises her truths ultimately says more than straight truth would have.

This book really has a lot to say about women, relationships, loneliness and desperation. And it says it SO entertainingly. The prose is allowed to be totally terse and bitchy, and also strangely tender and personal, all in the service of Barbara's character. It's a win/win.

Highly recommended reading. Unfortunately my long-delayed (though recently accelerated) completion of the book caused me to miss the film version while it was here. Sad. I'll probably have to catch it on video. But seriously, everyone read this book. It's SO good.

I will include in the sidebar, from now on, a log of recently read books (fiction, nonfiction, and drama) in hopes that keeping a log here on the blog will prompt me to read more. I like to be held accountable to how I spend my time, and if I see no books on my sidebar at the end of this year, I'll feel like a loser. That should be ample motivation.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Kamikaze Camel said...

Judi was a firecracker.

I wish I had the patience to read books. I really do. But after a few pages my mind wanders to what it would look like as a movie.

I'm so uncultured like that.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Lorena (Goldfinger) said...

I have actually been giving it some thought if I should read the book after seeing the movie. I enjoyed the film a whole lot and Judi Dench was awesome.

What I'd used to do was that I would pick up the book when the movie was announced and I liked the cast. For example I read Cold Mountain when I heard that Kidman, Law, and Minghella were involved in it. The same happened with The Tailor of Panama when I heard that it was a spy thriller and that Brosnan was involved. So I read them both before seeing the movie.

Right now I don't have the time to do that any more so I just wait to read the book after seeing the movie. Right now I'm reading Pride and Prejudice for example and I want to read The Hours next.

12:29 AM  
Blogger adam k. said...

I generally do the same thing - read the book when the movie's announced, and then see the movie later - for books I think I'll like. That's why I read Notes, Little Children and The Hours (the movies are never as good).

I definitely recommend reading Notes. I'm sure the book's much better than the movie.

12:35 AM  

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