Dave and I rewatched the film, Jumper, recently, and it wasn’t particularly good. It did prompt me to read the original novel by Steven Gould, though, which turned out to be quite surprising.
In terms of premise, both book and film are about an abused teenager who discovers he has the ability to teleport. Apart from that, though, the stories are almost entirely different. Having just rewatched the film, I kept waiting for secret society bad guys to turn up in the book, and they never did. But this wasn’t a bad thing. The realistic treatment of everything apart from Davy’s teleportation ability made the book much more involving and interesting.
What I particularly liked was the great exploration of the psychological effects of Davy’s abuse and ability, as well as the more in depth discussion of the difficulties of a teenager trying to make a new life for himself after running away from home. The love interest, Millie, was much more well-rounded as a character than in the film. I really liked her in the book, and the relationship aspects were well-handled in engaging.
I was less interested in the terrorism revenge plot, but it was a better hook than the random running about in the film, so overall I thought it was a shame they changed so much in the adaptation, and I’ll be interested to see where the book series goes next.
After recently re-reading the Raven Cycle, I decided to try another of Maggie Stiefvater’s books, and listened to The Scorpio Races. I enjoyed it overall, and did finish it, but it never really quite grabbed me enough to make me eager to listen to the next bit. It’s about an island where people capture magical horses from the sea and train them to take part in an annual, high-stakes race on the beach. There are two narrators - Puck and Sean - and the cleverest bit about the book is how the narrative gets you invested in both of them and then sets up the central conflict between them as they both have important reasons for needing to win the race. The race itself when it finally arrived was exciting, and the bittersweet ending was both unexpected and satisfying, but it’s not a book that’s going to stay with me.
The Vet’s Daughter by Barbara Comyns is one of the books from my Bibliotherapy prescription that I hadn’t got round to reading yet, so I stuck it in my bag and read it over a couple of days this week. It’s about a girl named Alice, living in an unspecified time in the past, who is mistreated by her father, and has very little control over how her life will turn out. The first person narrative is very effective because Alice is quite innocent about a lot of things, but the author manages to convey information that Alice doesn’t understand but that will not be lost on the reader. There’s a fantasy element to the story, which I thought was introduced way too late and was therefore quite jarring in an otherwise realistic story. I also found the ending quite abrupt and depressing, but Alice’s plight was engaging enough to keep me reading, and it was certainly well written.
Yesterday, I went to the cinema to see Victoria and Abdul. I was concerned going in, based on the trailer, that it might be a bit silly and of the type of humour I don’t enjoy. However, I actually found the first half very sweet and funny, and the second half very affecting and sad. There were some aspects to do with Abdul’s potential exploitation of Victoria’s loneliness that were a bit troubling, but he mostly seemed genuinely solicitous of her, and the treatment they both suffered at the hands of those closest to the queen was quite awful.
Lastly, the September category for the Wordy Birds Reading Challenge was a children’s book. So, I went all the way and decided to read a series of picture books, called the Creatrilogy by Peter H Reynolds. They were beautifully presented hardbacks in a special presentation box, and each told an excellent story about creative thinking and self-expression. The Dot was about a little girl who thinks she can’t draw and how she learns to find her own unique way of creating art. Ish was about a boy who discovers the beauty in imperfection, and Sky Color was about using restrictions to see the world in a whole new way. They were all very simple stories, but carried a profound message that applies to everyone, both child and adult alike. And they were extremely well put together, with every aspect working together to add to the story. The font, the use of colour, the placement of words and pictures - all helped enhance the flow of the plot and emotion of the events portrayed. I thoroughly enjoyed all three books, and would certainly recommend them to those with young children, as I’m sure they would spark some really interesting conversations about art and creativity.