A Book that was Turned Into a Movie
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Synopsis: The subtitle is A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies. Tita loves Pedro, but because she’s the youngest daughter of Mama Elena, she must stay home to take care of Mama Elena when mama gets old. Instead, Pedro marries Tita’s sister to be close to her. The only way Tita can express her emotions is through the food she makes.
I remember seeing the trailer for this movie a long time ago and being intrigued by it. I’m really glad I read it. It’s some of the best magical realism I’ve read. I hated Mama Elena and felt so sad for Tita. But I loved reading about Tita’s journey as she grows up. The recipes are fascinating as they are a bit of realism to anchor the magic in the narrative. I was really surprised by the ending, since Tita makes a choice I wouldn’t have made had I been in her shoes, but it’s consistent with the novel.
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Synopsis: Thirty minutes after meeting a doctor for the first time, Susanna Kaysen finds herself on the way to McLean Hospital at the age of 18. There she is treated for her diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (what would be considered a case of depression by today’s standards) and remains at the institution for nearly two years. Kaysen describes her time, her health, and those she met while at McLean.
I saw this movie not to long after its 1999 release. I don’t remember much besides Angelina Jolie’s character was much more “messed up” than Wynona Rider. I wasn’t sure whether this book was going to be rhetoric on women’s healthcare or mental healthcare in the late 1960s, but I was surprised that it was neither. By Kaysen’s descriptions, she was definitely suffering and needing specialized assistance, but the reason she began having treatment was because she was found to be “promiscuous.” Girl, Interrupted was a quick read with short chapters and fascinating people (I mean, come on, mental institution); with her own insight on why she was there. It’s crazy (yes, I did choose to use that word) to think that today Kaysen would have been given Prozac and recommended weekly sessions with a medical professional not covered by insurance.
Have you read a book that was turned into a movie? What did you think? Is the movie better or the book?
Our next book challenge is: A Book with Pictures. See what Fallon and I chose on July 14.