Page vs. Screen: The Girl on the Train + Me Before You

I just discovered Book Blogger Hop hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addict Writer and decided that I want to join in. It's a weekly meme where you answer the question of the week in a post, link it to the host, and visit other participants' answers.

This week (May 18th - 24th), the question is "What were your worst movies based off of books?"

I can immediately pull out from recent memory these two books that I liked, with film adaptations that I did not like:

The Girl on the Train

I don’t understand why they have to take the setting to America from the original U.K. setting but then cast Emily Blunt with a British accent who looks nothing like the frumpy Rachel in the book. The film was flat for me. It was not able to translate the suspense from the book’s bouncing timeline and shifting points of view.

Me Before You
I want to disclose that I am aware that there are criticisms about the the fair representation of disability in both the book and the film. As an able-bodied individual, I feel that it’s not my place to say anything about it but here’s a link coming from a voice involved in the community.

So on to something that I think I have a say about: Lou’s character. All that charm from Emilia Clarke cannot save what the film has done in reducing Lou into a manic pixie dream girl. The film omitted Lou’s flashback in Chapter 12 which is the reason why she became the adventure-averse person that she is in the present. “I can tell you the exact day I stopped being fearless.”, she said. Before that incident she was not the woman who is content on living a tiny life in her hometown. “And I had ideas. Things I wanted to do.” She even booked a cheap flight to Australia to try to discover the world but she later cancelled because of the incident. Because of this tiny omission, the Lou in the film appeared like a shallow quirky girl who only became remarkable because of her relationship with the quadriplegic, Will.

And then there’s this line from Lou’s sister in the film near the ending, "You were useless before you met him.” And then Lou just smiled at her as if in agreement. There was nothing like that scene in the book. This line made it so so much worse for Lou’s character. It basically made Lou’s existence incomplete and meaningless without Will.

I'd love to hear from you:
How about you? What are some films adapted from books that you did not enjoy? And what made the film adaptation worse for you?

Review: The Pisces by Melissa Broder

The Pisces
by  Melissa Broder

An original, imaginative, and hilarious debut novel about love, anxiety, and sea creatures, from the author of So Sad Today.

Lucy has been writing her dissertation about Sappho for thirteen years when she and Jamie break up. After she hits rock bottom in Phoenix, her Los Angeles-based sister insists Lucy housesit for the summer—her only tasks caring for a beloved diabetic dog and trying to learn to care for herself. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube atop Venice Beach, but Lucy can find no peace from her misery and anxiety—not in her love addiction group therapy meetings, not in frequent Tinder meetups, not in Dominic the foxhound’s easy affection, not in ruminating on the ancient Greeks. Yet everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer one night while sitting alone on the beach rocks.

Whip-smart, neurotically funny, sexy, and above all, fearless, The Pisces is built on a premise both sirenic and incredibly real—what happens when you think love will save you but are afraid it might also kill you.

(cover image and synopsis lifted from Goodreads)

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Hogarth Press
Publication date: May 1st 2018
Source/Format: eARC/Netgalley
Purchase links: Amazon IndieBound | Barnes&Noble 

My Thoughts:
I am slightly conflicted with writing this review. I liked it but I have some issues. I liked that the writing is entertaining and easy to read. Lucy’s voice is casual and candid, with an ever present angst on the meaninglessness of things. So raw, so real. I liked the unique romance, although IMO Theo’s physiology could still be improved. I liked the ending of Lucy and Theo’s story of love and obsession. Heck, I even liked some of the sultry and sexy scenes.

My first problem is with the main character and her development. I don’t mind unlikable characters as long as there is some semblance of redemption or comeuppance for them in the end. As a person suffering from an addictive personality, I would want to read about a character who can give me some sort of inspiration. I would want to read about someone who can be a better person despite of his/her emptiness. There are people like that in here, Dr. Judith and some members of the support group, but they are not fully fleshed out and they exist solely as objects of Lucy’s scoff and scorn. At the ending where Lucy decided to go back to the glass beach house and into her sister’s arms, it does not mean that she is choosing to live or that she is remorseful. It is more of a coward act. She is counting on her sister’s trust and affection, with no intention to come clean at all. The book ended with Lucy still not accountable with the consequences of her wrong choices.

Next are the love scenes, hah, there are too many. I don’t mind personally but others might be grossed out with them. So consider yourselves warned: sex here are explicitly described, sometimes borderline soft porn, and one with menstruation involved. Again, I don’t mind. A girl needs some loin-stirring pages on her book. I don’t like that sex is a bit romanticized tho. Sex with rando guys are always bad (no orgasm) but sex with the love interest is always good??? It’s fairy tale-like (Lucy with her little mermaid-esque long luscious red locks, wink-wink), in the sense that the only person who can satisfy the princess in bed is the prince charming.

“The Pisces” is a pleasure but I hope there’s more to the plot and to the characters. Upon finishing the book, it slightly reminded me of “Shanghai Baby” which I’ve read when I was sixteen. I was young then so the sex scenes (there was also a period sex!) shook me to my core and now after all these years I can still remember the shock but I don’t remember whatsoever what the book was all about. I cannot say if I gained any insight from reading it or if it enriched my life in any form or way. I am afraid “The Pisces” would be just the same.

Diversity Watch:
Lucy – described with graying hair that she dyed auburn

Theo – Lucy’s love interest, described with fair skin and a wave of brown hair

Jamie – ex-boyfriend, described with sandy brown hair and deep blue eyes

Adam – Tinder rando guy, racially indeterminate

Garrett – Tinder rando guy, racially indeterminate

Chase – rando guy, described with receding brown hair and green eyes

Rochelle – Lucy’s friend in Phoenix, described with wiry hair

Diana – member of support group, described with long blond streaked hair

Brianne – member of support group, described as having too much botox and with hair in two long black braids

Claire – member of support group and closest to Lucy, described with long fiery, red curls

Sara – member of support group, racially indeterminate

Amber/Chickenhorse – member of support group, racially indeterminate

Dr. Judith/Jude – therapist in support group, racially indeterminate

My Rating:

Wandering Thoughts: Bookworm Superpowers That I Don't Have

Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash

Wandering Thoughts is where I let my mind stray, think and talk about non-routine things. This is an avenue for bookish personal stories, fun posts, musings and discussions.

Are you aware that there are highly evolved people with heightened reading abilities walking amongst us? I am here to expose them and gripe about how come I have none whatsover of these bookworm superpowers.
  1. Reading hundreds of books a year

    “JUST HOW?!”, I scream at the universe while looking at the Goodreads profile of bookworms who read hundreds of books year after year. In my effort to up my reading game last year, I did desperate things like google “speed reading” or “how to read fast”  but to no avail. Still a slow reader. I therefore came up with this conclusion: people who can read hundred of books a year have eyeballs of steel. They don’t sleep. And  I CANNOT DO THAT. I NEED MY NAPS, okay?

  2. Doing a ton of other things while reading
    Google is not useless when I asked it how to get more reading done. It actually suggested sensible things like 1.) bring a book or two wherever you go and grab every opportune time for reading 2.) listen to audiobooks. But I can’t do things like stand in a line and read at the same time.* Or do house chores while listening to an audiobook.** That’s like asking me to do kung fu.

    *Why I can’t do # 1. I can’t read that much while out in the public. First, I am a perennial people watcher. Second, I am easily distracted so I love reading when I’m alone. Preferably in my own bed where in the next pages or so, I’ll end up napping. #napislife
    **Why I can’t do # 2. Again, because I lack focus. I find myself drifting away when there are no physical words in front of me.

  3. Picking a book that I would surely like
    I encounter book bloggers who said something like the reason their review ratings on the blog are mostly four or five stars is because they know exactly what they want. That they don’t start a book unless they know for sure that they will end up liking it. And I’m like wow, that’s some serious divination powers right there.

    I also want to read books that I will end up liking. I avoid horrible books like the plague! I mean, who would want to torture themselves trudging through pages of trash?! Aside from reading the synopsis carefully, I even read excerpts before requesting on Netgalley. Or peek at the Goodreads average rating before buying my own copy. Alas, I am no Seer and fate is cruel that sometimes a book that I thought I would love would have a meh plot or an underwhelming ending or some other unforeseen horribleness.

  4. Do well in book blogging
    Three years of doing it and I still don’t know how to do it. How to book blog, peoples? How do you write reviews so fast, come up with interesting posts, have huge following, stellar stats and still have a generally fab life? Tell me, are y’all secret ninjas or someting?! SHOW ME THE WAY, SENSEI!
If I’m going to be honest here, I am envious of these people and their bookworm superpowers. But I’m not overly resentful about it. I will not go the extremes of hunting and picking their brains and extracting their DNAs, villain style, just  so I can acquire powers and be like them. I think I am okay with being a mere mortal in a world where mutant bookworms exist. I have nothing but repect and admiration for these people. It sure is hard for me to keep up with the likes of them but being a bookworm is not a competition. I tip my hat to them but I will NOT stop with my passion for books and reading and blogging about it. Rurouni Jenni Reads, HWAITING!!!

I’d love to hear from you:
So, what is your reading superpower? Or are you a struggling bookworm mortal like me?