Kathryn's Reviews > The Beach

The Beach by Alex Garland
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's review
Aug 28, 12

bookshelves: general-fiction, own, 2012-read
Recommended to Kathryn by: Trudi
Read from August 23 to 27, 2012

My immediate thoughts on finishing The Beach are this: It was pretty good. Four stars. Not the best ever I've read. Quite different than the movie adaptation.

What I liked about The Beach were several things: I really enjoyed the way Garland wrote this story. For me, it was a realistic aspect of the way someone might think, speak, feel, and act. I enjoyed the realistic quality of the dialogue. To me, it didn't really seem forced, or trying too hard. For a first novel, I'm kind of left impressed. Another thing I liked about this book was the idea. It made me think there are possibly people out there in the world on small islands, living their lives and creating their own society. For the most part, I could picture what was going on in the story with the descriptions that were given. It's almost one of those types of stories where, you can let your mind wander about what everything and everyone looks like. And despite some of the horrible things Richard, the main character did, I actually still liked him in the end. Towards the end, or even more in the middle, when things start to unravel, it seemed quite realistic. Richard had committed some severe lies which threatened life at The Beach.

What also made this more of a realistic story, and something which I kept thinking while I was reading was, "If it's too good to be true, it probably is." Life was too perfect on The Beach. Not having to pay bills, not having to pay for groceries, not necessarly having to work to think about the future, but only the immediate now, and the simplistic lifestyle. At some point, this too-good-to-be-true lifestyle will most likely come to an end in some way shape or form.

But despite the things I liked about the book, there were some things I didn't like. I guess I was hoping there would be something more to it. I get the general idea, and maybe not a lot was supposed to happen. A lot did happen, don't get me wrong. I just thought (view spoiler)

I'm pretty happy with the story, but I think something a little extra could have been added to bump it up to five stars for me. There was just a little something missing for me, and I don't necessarily mean a romance or something. Also, like I mentioned before, I liked Richard, but I also liked all of the characters. The reader only knew what Richard knew, and I think it played well for the idea: You're on an island, and you've left your past life behind. End of story. You start a new life, and The Beach is your life. Also end of story.

Great book. Glad I picked it up and read. (Thanks to Trudi, actually!)
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Reading Progress

08/23/2012 page 11
3.0% "Only 11 pages in, and I'm already sucked in."
08/24/2012 page 65
15.0% "I love the way Garland writes."
08/24/2012 page 116
27.0% "Beach Life"
08/25/2012 page 172
39.0% "Kampuchea"
08/26/2012 page 301
69.0% "Incoming: Politics"
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Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Trudi :D

Kathryn Trudi wrote: ":D"

I'm going to say you recommended this to me. I just read the first ten pages. Engrossing already...YES!!!!

Courtney Love this book!

Kathryn Courtney wrote: "Love this book!"

I have seen a lot of my GR friends have positive reviews. Your's being one of them. I actually really liked the movie, so I am hoping the book is even better. :)

Courtney I like the movie too, but the book is definitely better :)

Jason Baldwin-Stephens Hi Kathryn, glad to see you are reading this and I hope you love it.

Kathryn Jason wrote: "Hi Kathryn, glad to see you are reading this and I hope you love it."

Hey Jason! I am enjoying it so far!! I am hoping to read a lot of it today.

message 8: by Victor (new)

Victor You finished this fast!

Jason Baldwin-Stephens Glad to see you liked it!

message 10: by Trudi (last edited Aug 27, 2012 04:38PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Trudi Kathryn, great review! It's funny you should mention the utopian aspect of beach life because my first thought reading it was: "I would hate this" haha! I'm thinking: "Rice every day? Sand everywhere in all your parts? And on all those rice runs, they'd remember the batteries, but never any books? There can be no utopia without books :)

There was an emotional element missing for me too. You can't really get attached to any of the characters because we don't really know any of them. It's all through Richard's eyes and because he doesn't know any of them, neither do we.

You mention Richard and Francoise. (view spoiler)

Glad you liked it Kathryn. I am going to seek out the movie now just to see what details they decided to change :)

Kathryn Victor wrote: "You finished this fast!"

Haha, yeah, it isn't a long book. I think it was 436 pages. Plus, it's an easy read. :)

Kathryn Jason wrote: "Glad to see you liked it!"

Thanks Jason! I really liked it. :)

message 13: by Kathryn (last edited Aug 28, 2012 10:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kathryn Trudi wrote: "Kathryn, great review! It's funny you should mention the utopian aspect of beach life because my first thought reading it was: "I would hate this" haha! I'm thinking: "Rice every day? Sand everywhe..."

Thanks Trudi! And thank you for recommending it to me!

I am glad to see I wasn't the only one who felt that way about the emotional aspect. Richard's view is the only one we get, and maybe he just wasn't an emotional guy. But also, you DO get how attracted he is to Francoise. I actually thought going into this book, and you'll see once you watch the movie, there would be more of the sexual aspect in it. But you're right: This is the story through Richard's eyes. He told us what he wants us to know. I think when you watch the movie, you'll see what I meant in my review, and why I said the movie and the book are quite different. I see why they did it. I think as the book stands, I am not sure if it would have satisfied viewers, so I see why they changed things.

I hope you like the movie! It's not my most favorite movie ever, but it is decent. Again, the things they changed, actually make it a decent movie. Leonardo DiCaprio is Richard, and I thought he did a decent job. Let me know what you think of it when you do watch it. :)

message 14: by Dustin (new) - added it

Dustin Excellent review, Kathryn!

Kathryn Thanks, Dustin!

message 16: by Dustin (new) - added it

Dustin Kathryn wrote: "Thanks, Dustin!"

You are very welcome.:) I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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