Joy H.'s Reviews > Nobody's Fool

Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, watched-film-too, favorite-book, read-a-while-ago, adapted-to-film, a-good-read

I enjoyed reading _Nobody's Fool_. As I was reading it, I couldn't help but picture Jack Nicholson playing the part of Sully. In fact, to me, the rascally Sully *was* Jack Nicholson. This idea popped into my mind, spontaneously and unbidden. In fact, I expected everyone who read the book to have the same idea. A short survey proved me wrong. That puzzled me because I was convinced that the choice of Nicholson would be obvious to everyone. So I was a bit disappointed when Paul Newman was chosen to play Sully in the movie. Even though I love Paul Newman, it seemed to me that he portrayed Sully in a quiet, low-key manner. I had pictured Sully as more of a lively and lovable rascal. To this day, I wish that I could see how Jack Nicholson would play Sully. I'm still looking for someone to agree with me.

BTW, this was the first and only time, while reading a book, that I imagined a specific actor in the part of the protagonist.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
June 23, 2008 – Shelved
March 5, 2009 – Shelved as: fiction
March 5, 2009 – Shelved as: watched-film-too
March 5, 2009 – Shelved as: favorite-book
March 5, 2009 – Shelved as: read-a-while-ago
March 12, 2010 – Shelved as: adapted-to-film
May 21, 2017 – Shelved as: a-good-read

Comments Showing 1-17 of 17 (17 new)

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message 1: by Ruth (last edited Jun 20, 2009 11:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth While I don't think I would have thought of Paul Newman, I do know I can't imagine Jack Nicholson. That manic leer just doesn't work for me as Sully.

I did love the book, though, and thought it lost a little in the film.

Joy H. Hi Ruth - At the time, I didn't think of Nicholson's expression as a "manic leer". He seemed to develop that leer later on. When I imagined Nicholson as Sully, I was remembering Nicholson's devilish look from "Terms of Endearment". I wasn't yet familiar with the other movies in which he certainly did have a manic leer. BTW, I love the way you put it. (lol)

After reading _Nobody's Fool_, I tried reading Russo's _Mohawk_, but couldn't get into it. The town of Mohawk seemed too much like Sully's town and the story didn't create any interest for me. It seemed a poor imitation even though _Mohawk_ was written much earlier than _Nobody's Fool_. Perhaps it took Russo a few years to develop his stride. I'm only guessing.

I wonder which book of his first made him famous and became his first best-seller.

Scott W. I enjoyed your review Joy! I haven't read the book yet but I've seen the movie three times, it's a favorite. I'm interested to see how different Sully is in the book vs. the film.

Joy H. Hi Scott. Let me know how you liked the book. Now that you've seen Paul Newman's interpretation, you may not be able to imagine Jack Nicholson in the part. I prefer imagining Nicholson even though I like Paul Newman as an actor in general. Enjoy the read.

Scott W. I really enjoyed the book! I admit it's hard not to see Paul Newman as I read the book, but I can definitely understand Jack Nicholson as Sully, especially since it seems the Sully of the book is a bit rougher than he's portrayed in the film. During the times when he was harassing the bartender or the car salesman's wife I thought about Jack Nicholson filling the role and it fit really well!

Joy H. Thanks for your comments, Scott. Glad you saw what I meant. Yes, the Sully in the film was different from the Sully in the book.

AmyAmy I saw Nick Nolte as Sully

Michael O'Neill Jeff Bridges gets my vote. Paul Newman was way too good lookin' and charming for the part. I like both Jack Nicholson and Nick Nolte as contenders. But Jeff Bridges is my nominee and I'm stickin' to it.

Joy H. Funny how everyone's mind works so differently! What's obvious to one person is strange to another.

AmyAmy I just finished reading 'Nobody's Fool' on Friday, and saw the movie last night. You all are right -- Paul Newman, while a fantastic actor, was just too mellow. Sully needed more spit and vinegar, don't cha' think? Also, I pictured Rub a skinny little young twirp, not fat and older, like how they cast him. And I pictured Mrs. Peoples WAY differently, more round, more of a Mrs. Pruit. Bruce Willis was good as Carl. The son (Peter) I pictured more "coy", less nerdy. Clive Jr. was cast WAY wrong, IMHO. I *never* picutred him that old! And Hattie looked 20 years too young!

Thanks, Joy, for getting us on the "which author" roll, ha! I never realized how I had distinct pictures in my head until I saw the movie, lol!

Joy H. AmyAmy wrote: "... I never realized how I had distinct pictures in my head until I saw the movie ..."

Amy, that's a good way to put it... "distinct pictures in my head". Funny how the pictures come up, unbid by us. They just pop into our minds. I'm tempted to get the audio version of the book, How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker. Maybe it will increase my understanding of the workings of the mind. At the following link, you can listen to a clip from the book:
It seems to get complicated unless you pay close attention and focus on what Pinker is saying. Not sure I'd understand it.

message 12: by Nina (new) - added it

Nina Joy, I didn't get my goodreads discussion email this morning. Could you send this back and maybe it will work for me.

Joy H. Sure, Nina. Here goes...

Sally Yes! I imagined him as Sully from the beginning.

message 15: by Joy H. (last edited Aug 02, 2015 05:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joy H. Sally wrote: "Yes! I imagined him as Sully from the beginning."

Hi Sally. So far, you're the only other person I've found (besides me) (and Scott*) that has imagined Jack Nicholson in the part of Sully. It took me a long time to find you! :)

* PS-Also see Scott's post in Message 5 above. He said: "During the times when he was harassing the bartender or the car salesman's wife I thought about Jack Nicholson filling the role and it fit really well!".

message 16: by Judy (new)

Judy Mcgough Absolutely Jack Nicholson

Joy H. Judy wrote: "Absolutely Jack Nicholson"

Ah, another person who can see Jack Nicholson as Sully!

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