Sarah Beaudoin's Reviews > A History of Violence

A History of Violence by John Wagner
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's review
Jan 22, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: comics
Read in January, 2011

When I first saw the David Cronenberg film, A History of Violence, based on this graphic novel, I knew nothing of the book. I found the movie deeply disturbing and as a result, once I learned about the book, I was a bit apprehensive about reading it. I already knew the topic and did not feel any driving need to become disturbed again by the same material. However, I picked the book up this week on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. The things in the movie that disturbed me to such an extent are not in the book and while the book is brutal, it also gives a strong sense of what a kind, compelling man Tom McKenna is and this really helps to understand how he has such a brutal past.

I am always interested in the intersection between films and books and in this case, I really don't think the two have much impact on each other. I read recently that when Cronenberg was working on the movie, it wasn't until he saw a later edition of the screenplay that he even realized it was adapted from a book. They really are two separate entities. If I had not seen the movie years ago in the theatre, I do not think I'd have any driving desire to do so now after reading this. The book is complete and left me with no desire to see the story carried on further. The story itself is timeless and would probably be well served in any format, whether film or book, comic or prose.

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