From “Notes on a Scandal” by Zoë Heller to… “Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman.
This is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:
- Link the books together in any way you like.
- Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books are My Favourite and Best.
- Share these rules in your post.
- Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
- Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
- Share you post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
- Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.
THANKS FOR PLAYING!
This month we start with “Notes on a Scandal” by Zoë Heller!
This month (October 1, 2022), the chain begins with “Notes on a Scandal” by Zoe Heller. Now, for the life of me, I have NO idea why I never reviewed this book. I know I read it, and I know I enjoyed it, because I still have my copy (pictured here) on my shelves. I also remember seeing the movie, but I’m sure I saw it only after I’d read this book. The novel is about a woman named Sheba who comes to work as a teacher in a new school, and an older woman named Barbara who becomes obsessed with her. Barbara then blackmails Sheba when Barbara discovers that Sheba is having an affair with one of the school’s students. This is probably one of the better book to film adaptations, but they made the Barbara far too obviously insidious in the film – she was much more subtlety creepy in the book. Plus, if I recall correctly, in the movie Sheba is single, but in the book she’s married and has a daughter.
Another novel that was made into a very good adaptation of a book is “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café” by Fannie Flagg. Now, admittedly, the book was slightly better, but I thought they were both very good. However, there’s one thing that was a bit too obviously done in the movie, that was far more subtle in the book (but I’m not going to say what, because… spoiler)! Furthermore, when watching the movie, you might get the impression that the woman Evelyn Couch visits in the old age home, Mrs. Threadgoode, is actually the Idgie Threadgoode of the story, and you only find out at the end of the film that she isn’t. In the book, we know full well that Evelyn is talking to Ninny Threadgoode, telling her story of the town, that includes Idgie’s story.
Another beloved novel that was fairly well adapted into a movie was John Irving’s “A Prayer for Owen Meany.” Now, apparently, Irving was worried that the changes in the film would upset the people who loved the book, so he decided to change the main protagonist’s name to Simon Birch for the movie! The truth is, although the film mostly messed with the ending, practically everything else (besides our hero’s name) was pretty much by the book (if you will). I still think this was Irving’s masterpiece, but when it comes to adapting his books for the big screen, they’re mostly successful (I now see that I never reviewed his “Cider House Rules,” which I also loved, and also think was a perfect adaptation of the book)!
One more very faithful film adaptation of a novel was “The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger. Now, forgive me, but when I read the book, I enjoyed it up until the end and then… it just fell totally flat for me. The thing is, I was really, Really, REALLY hoping that the movie version would perk up the ending, fix a few things that I found lacking, and make it far more satisfying. Sadly, this just didn’t happen, and that’s why I think the film is such an accurate rendition of the book – they were both fun throughout, but the endings let me down. Well, you can’t have everything, right?
Moving on to a TV series that I loved, based on a book that I only just liked, my next link is to “Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout. Okay so… to be totally honest, while I did enjoy the writing in this book, I found this collection of short stories to be a bit disjointed and somehow, they didn’t fit together for me to be a cohesive novel. The TV series, on the other hand… well, I mean, it starred Francis McDormand, and I totally adore her, and appreciate how she’s unafraid to be an older woman who insists on taking leading roles, and never hiding her real age. You can’t help but admire an actor like that. So, I read the book after I’d seen the series and well… the Olive in the stories sadly didn’t live up to the one on the screen. I know, that’s not fair, but that’s how I felt, and I won’t apologize for this.
Now, if we return to the movies, but we stick with short stories, I’ll go with “Close Range: Wyoming Stories” by Annie Proulx. Ah, but you ask… what movie am I speaking about? That would be the last story in this book, called “Brokeback Mountain” which was an Oscar winning film. Now, I did love the story (even though I read it long after I saw the movie), but I do have to say that I think the screen version was more fleshed out than the short story, but both of them made me cry, and that’s something one can’t deny as being very special. Mind you, I wasn’t as thrilled with some of the other stories in this collection, but that doesn’t matter. The story in the book and the film of the story were both excellent.
Now, for this last link, I decided to watch a recently released limited TV series based on a book I loved last year. I’m talking about “Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman. The TV series (on Netflix) is in Swedish, and being dyslexic, I usually find it very difficult to read the subtitles (and I hate dubbed films), but this one was actually quite easy for me to follow. I really enjoyed remembering the mystery behind that story, and why I enjoyed it so much when I read it. Mind you, I remember laughing much more while reading the book than I did when I watched the TV series, but both were heartwarming, and touching in the same degree. (Now I’m wondering if I should try to see the Swedish version of his “A Man Called Ove” before the Tom Hanks version comes out, which I’m unsure if I want to see or not.)