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Big Fish

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  18,920 ratings  ·  1,858 reviews
He could outrun anybody, and he never missed a day of school. He saved lives, tamed giants. Animals loved him. People loved him. Women loved him (and he loved them back). And he knew more jokes than any man alive.

Now, as he lies dying, Edward Bloom can't seem to stop telling jokes -or the tall tales that have made him, in his son's eyes, an extraordinary man. Big Fish is t
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 9th 2017 by Simon & Schuster Ltd (first published 1998)
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Christian B "Big Fish" has a double meaning, also referring to fishermen who swear they caught a huge fish... but really it wasn't that big. In other words, tall …more"Big Fish" has a double meaning, also referring to fishermen who swear they caught a huge fish... but really it wasn't that big. In other words, tall tales, which was Edward Bloom's thing.(less)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,920 ratings  ·  1,858 reviews

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Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
You all probably remember the fantastically cheesy film Big Fish directed by Tim Burton. For me, it was pure visual and storytelling enjoyment.

But what you may not realize is that BIG FISH the novel towers over the movie. When I first bought a copy of this, just before they began releasing the movie coast-to-coast in 2003, I remember reading the back cover and thinking to myself: “Huh, a book about a man who doesn’t really know who his father is…how mundane.” O, how silly my thoughts were—this
Ahmad Sharabiani
Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions, Daniel Wallace

Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions is a 1998 novel by Daniel Wallace.

It was adapted into a film, Big Fish, in 2003 by Tim Burton. A musical adaptation starring Norbert Leo Butz premiered in Chicago in April 2013.

A young man (William Bloom), at the deathbed of his father (Edward Bloom), tries to reconcile his memories of his dad with the person he really is.

Whereas he always saw his father as an irresponsible liar, he comes to underst
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
I'm glad to read this amazing book actually more than book teach you more stuff and nothing impossible in this life but just don't give up and finally my favorite book this year ...more
K.D. Absolutely
On the day I was born, there was a big typhoon. The water was seeping through the ceiling of the hospital room and there was a dripping pan catching the falling raindrops beside my mama’s bed. I was the youngest in the family and my papa did not bother to wait and see me right after I was born. I guess he was no longer excited to see another mouth to feed in addition to my two older brothers and a sister. Three days after my mama’s caesarian operation, my papa picked us up but the streets were s ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

2.5 Stars

Big Fish had been on my TBR for eternity after watching the film version eons ago and getting completely swept up in its magic. The basics regarding the story is a man returns home for his father’s last days and is told a series of what can only be tall tales that are presented as said father’s life story. Unfortunately this is one of the rare occasions where the movie actually surpasses the novel as far as quality. That b
Diane Barnes
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a big fan of magical realism, but if it's done well, by an author who can make you believe in anything, just by the quality of his writing, it can be something special. "Big Fish" did that for me. I was under Daniel Wallace's spell from the first word. I guess a lot of people feel that way, because it has been turned into a film and a Broadway production. ...more
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
BookTube-A-Thon Challenege 2016 #3
Read a book you discovered through BookTube. (I found this over with Ashley from saidthestory).

BookTube-A-Thon Challenege 2016 #6 Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation.
Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-fiction
Please, read this book. Once in a while, like The Five People You Meet in Heaven, comes a book that is original, full of wonder, Chronicle of Narneish, so full of meaning and beauty that all must buy it, read it, and pass it on. This is perfection. Oh, also see the Tim Burton version of this. As a matter of fact, just see all of Burton's movies. How else to do such a story? Great! ...more
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
3.5 stars.

It's hard to read a book when you've been a huge fan of the movie for years, and that was the case with this book. Big Fish is one of my absolute favorite movies, so in my mind, it was just expressed and elaborated slightly better in the movie.

big fish photo: Big Fish BF4.gif

The book was still a good, quick read, and of course, I just adore the ending. <3
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ebook-owned
A book I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend. I watched the movie many years ago, and liked it (albeit I now only have very vague memories of it). The film adaptation diverged in some ways from the book, while still keeping the core concepts, concepts I enjoyed both watching and reading about. This story is about a son coming to terms with the inevitable death of his sick father—as well as trying to come to terms with the 'mythic' life of the same man and trying to make sense of who exactly i ...more
Nov 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who liked the film
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: tom - thanks
Edward Bloom is dying. But he's taking his time about it. Time enough, in fact, to have four run ups to the actual event itself and to recount the varied adventures, myths and fables which have attached themselves to the Bloom name since not long after he was born. For son, William Bloom, having a legend for a father is not easy. Firstly it's a lot to live up to but, there's also the problem that no one knows where the fairy tale that is Edward Bloom's history ends and the reality begins.

Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
I have seen the movie adaptation of this book over a dozen times and it still remains one of my absolute favorites. I was a little reluctant to pick up the book because of my love for the film, but it's shortness and urge to revisit a wonderful story changed my mind. The message is the same in the book as it is in the movie; remembrance through stories. Though the book was different I still really enjoyed it! ...more
Malcolm Everett

This book can be summed up in four words: Great writing, no plot.

Like most readers, I watched the movie adaptation first, although I don’t remember much about it now. Since I’m working on a story that has a dreamy, fabulist writing style, I wanted to read something similar, and Big Fish certainly fits that description with passages like this:

They say he never forgot a name or a face or your favorite color, and that by his twelfth year he knew everybody in his home town by the sound their shoes
Feb 15, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hana by: Mike Sullivan
Shelves: family-saga
True story. My grandfather was an incurable joker. Also an incurable smoker. He always joked to his doctors that "It's not the cough that carries you off, it's the coffin they carry you off in!"

The day after he died in the early 1960s the whole family was sitting in the living room remembering him when the telephone rang. My uncle answered and came back laughing but with the tears streaming down his face.

"What? What is it?"

"They asked for Joe. I...I said he wasn't available. They said to tell h
Jonathan Dunne
Wow, what a disappointment. One of three books I've read where the film is infinitely better. The other two being One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest and Forrest Gump. These three books have their film adaptations to thank for their popularity. Still, I appreciate the essence and feel of these three books, but are left lacking when compared to their onscreen shadows. ...more
Mrs. Elaine
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My introduction to Big Fish was through the movie over 12 yrs ago. I really enjoyed it. I remembered it as a fun and sort of lighthearted tale with an underbelly of serious lessons to be learned. While I am not a big fan of fairy tales I do enjoy folk tales. I grew up listening to my very southern grandfather tell me how he rigged up matchboxes full of dirt for large beetles to pull and how he "shot a bear off a horse". I am no stranger to a "whopper". When being told a whopper your job as the l ...more
Bluetiful Hadeel
Last book in 2018😍
Just a note: this is not my first time reading this magnificent novel.

A mesmerizing relationship between a son and his father where reality entwine with mythology. A relationship where a son doesn't know his father and gets to understand him in the most difficult times.

For me, this novel is a must read.
Susan Tunis
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My father is a fish

My best friend is a little obsessive about reading the novel before seeing the film. Not so, me. I’m a bit more laissez faire in these matters. I saw and thoroughly enjoyed Tim Burton’s 2003 adaptation of Big Fish, and didn’t think too much more about it. Fast forward a decade, and I hear that a major, Broadway-bound musical is on the way. Now I know it’s time to return to the source material.

In the past, it has occurred to me that I have an overdeveloped sense of whimsy. I’m
I had the great fortune and pleasure to have Daniel Wallace as my Intro to Fiction writing professor this spring at Chapel Hill. He was thoughtful, funny and most of all very sweet to all of us in the class. And I could feel his sentimental kinda old soul in the words of this book.

So the story is made up of vignettes or short stories, the structure has a 'purpose' that I don't know how to capture without sounding too flimsy-fantastic, and fantasy's not all it is. To me it's important not just t
Graydon Panzica
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book. Was wonderful. I started it yesterday, and probably would have finished it way earlier today if I hadn't had work. It's a very quick read, and left me feeling refreshed and ready for more, sad to see it end but feeling fulfilled. ...more
Shoa Khan
Mar 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
This is the story of Edward Bloom, who is dying, narrated by his son, who in turn takes the tale to mythic proportions (as suggested by the subtitle).
This is quite a short read seeped in wonder, legend and magic realism.
Lauren Stoolfire
I had no idea that this story started off as a novel after having loved the Tim Burton film starring Ewan McGregor. As soon as I realized that fact, I had to try it for myself - and I tackled it as a part of #TheReadingQuest. While I ended up liking the book well enough I have to admit that I absolutely adore the movie. There are quite a few differences between the book and the movie, but I'd say the changes are to the film's advantage. Overall, though, I think the film has the tone and the spir ...more
Mar 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sue
Recommended to Phyllis by: Dodie
While I was reading this book, I kept wondering if I liked it. It seems the more I read, the better it was, especially
at the end, which made me smile. It wasn't until the end
of the book, that it made sense in it's entirity. I loved
the ending in this book. All the mythology and exaggeration,
made me question the value of the story, at first I only
seemed to attend to the father/son conversations that I felt
were real and poignant. Little by little, I started to appreciate Wallace's use of mythology
Dec 07, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I think the guy who plays the main character in this movie is attractive, but I forgot his name. If that's not a good reason to read the book, then I don't know what is. ...more
Asghar Abbas
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A novel with a BIG heart; tailor-made for Tim Burton and he totally made a movie out of it.

Read it.
TW: animal cruelty, animal death, blood, cancer, infidelity, violence.
MV Mariani

"It was different with women, they were made to raise a family, they had the attention span for it.Men had to go out of the house and work, that's the way it had always been [...] Men were torn in this way; they had to be two people, one at home and another away, while a mother had to be but one"

Do I even need to say anything more?

I don't even know what the book is about. I know it's about Edward Bloom but beyond that... I didn't finish it, so maybe at the last chapter it says:

"And he was an awf
J. Bookish
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oddly enough, this book is the third incarnation of Big Fish I've consumed. To be honest, though, I don't think I would have loved it so much if it weren't for the movie and the musical bolstering it. All three pieces together create an odd but beautiful combination of story, visuals, and sound and IT IS INCREDIBLE. Absolutely love the way this story takes hold of the imagination. ...more
Mar 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beautiful book. I've loved the movie for years, never knowing it was a book first. The story is about Edward Bloom, as told through his son William's memories, while Edward lays at death's door. Edward's life is part myth, part truth and part lie, but his life in it's entirety is all charm. He was born a big fish in a little pond. His stories are all big fish stories, and William has been dragged like a fish with a hook in it's mouth his entire life, hanging on for the punchline of each o ...more
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Daniel Wallace is author of five novels, including Big Fish (1998), Ray in Reverse (2000), The Watermelon King (2003), Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician (2007), and most recently The Kings and Queens of Roam (2013).

He has written one book for children, Elynora, and in 2008 it was published in Italy, with illustrations by Daniela Tordi. O Great Rosenfeld!, the only book both written and illustra

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