Dolores's Reviews > Wonder Boys

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
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Jul 30, 2007

really liked it
Read in December, 2002

I read this book after I saw the movie, so I am judging it a bit backwards. I read with a vision in my head of the way the characters were portrayed in the film, and tried to envision them the way Michael Chabon wrote them. For example, in the book, Grady Tripp is a large, imposing man, and his friend and editor, Terry Crabtree, is the same age as he is, and they have been friends since college. Of course, in the film, the slender Michael Douglas plays Grady, and Robert Downey, Jr. plays Crabtree, making him about 20 years younger. But, things always change when books are adapted to film. I think the screenwriter did a fine job adapting this novel to the screen, and keeping it fairly faithful to the book.
Michael Chabon is a very descriptive writer, as far as feelings, sensations, smells and the like. He focuses mainly on Grady Tripp as narrator here, and a lot on Crabtree and James Leer. He is also more open about Crabtree's sexuality in the book, although it wasn't exactly hidden in the movie. There were also some changes, like the name and breed of the dog, which seemed kind of unnecessary.

All in all, I found this book a well-written page turner, with a very interesting protaganist, the confused, dope-smoking, blocked writer, Grady Tripp. There is much more about his estranged wife and family in the book, and the ending isn't quite as uplifting as the film, plus, I would have liked an epilogue of what happened to the characters after the novel was over. Although, the ending of the book is more realistic and ambivalent than the film.

I couldn't wait to finish the book, and then view the movie again. It's rare that a film is so accurate to the novel and so well-casted. Especially since the author himself did not adapt the screenplay, it is amazingly like the book in almost every way. I couldn't wait to finish the book, because I was really caught up in the lives of the characters. Michael Chabon is definitely a very good writer, and I want to read his other novels, so that I can read them without the pre-existing condition of having seen the film.

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Quotes Dolores Liked

Michael Chabon
“He was a fugitive, lurking soul, James Leer. He didn't belong anywhere, but things went much better for him in places where nobody belonged. ”
Michael Chabon, Wonder Boys
tags: life

Michael Chabon
“It's always been hard for me to tell the difference between denial and what used to be known as hope.”
Michael Chabon, Wonder Boys

Michael Chabon
“I knew that I shouldn’t have, but I did it all the same; and there you have my epitaph, or one of them, because my grave is going to require a monument inscribed on all four sides with rueful mottoes, in small characters, set close together.”
Michael Chabon, Wonder Boys


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