Sunday, September 2, 2007

Big Fish - Daniel Wallace: A Review

Title: Big Fish
Author: Daniel Wallace
Date Finished: September 1, 2007
Pages: 180
Rating: 3.75/5

This doesn't happen very often, but I prefer the movie to this book. This is the story of Edward Bloom who is on his deathbed after living a full and unusual life. His son, William retells the stories of Edward's life (well, mostly. Some are prefaced with "they say" not really knowing who "they" are). For me this was a little reminiscent of my freshman comp days when I would ask my students, WHO ARE THEY?? They got really tired of me asking that over and over, but it is something that really bothers me!

Anyway, the stories are fantastical - from the woman in the water, to the giant that Edward befriends, the witch with the glass eye, and Edward's purchase of the town of Specter. The bigger story, though, is that of Edward and William's relationship as father and son. At the beginning of the book the relationship is sparse, but as William gets deeper and deeper in the humanity of Edward, their relationship forges in real life. The biggest story is of Edward himself and his evolution of a character beyond the realm of humanness.

The movie really is beautiful (as are most Tim Burton flicks). I missed the circus scenes which are only in the movie and the dynamics of Jenny and Edward which are only touched upon. The movie was magical, and I think reading the book after made the tales seem less magical. The ending of the book, however, was more powerful for some reason than the movie--which for me is usually how it goes. Redemption at last...


Ana S. said...

I remember that the first time I read this book, not long after being introduced to the movie, I preferred the movie too. But the second time around I was completely seduced by the beauty of Daniel Wallace's writing. He has now conquered a firm place among my favourite authors.

Still, I can't exactly say I prefer the book - I love both, each for its own reasons. One thing for sure, as far as adaptations go, this one is outstanding. It is not faithful, but it captures the tone of the story beautifully and it expands upon it. Can you tell it's also one of my favourite movies?

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

Nymeth - it is one of my movies as well, which is why I think the book paled a little in comparison. The further and further I got into Big Fish, the more I was captured by it.

I remember your review of Watermelon King, though, and I'll eventually pick that one up as well. I guess the book was just too short for me--I only got a taste instead of a full meal.

Stephanie said...

I never did read this book. But I LOVED the movie. I went in with no expectations at all...not really a big fan of Ewan McGregor anyway. I thought it was exceptional!!

Still, it may be worth a read! Glad to have you back!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Thanks Stephanie--good to be back. I'm feeling much more settled and there are no trips planned for a while, so that's even better (in a sense). Still job searching, though.

I loved this movie as well. The book is short, so it wouldn't take more than a couple of days to read it, but it just didn't have the same spark (considering a lot of Burton's magic is visual anyway). Oh well!