When there’s a book and a film of the book or when there’s a film and a book of a film… I’m always confused. Bet you are too now. What I mean is… is it better to read the book first or see the film?
I just read The Rum Diary by Hunter S Thompson (pictured above) and now I don’t know whether I should see the film or not. Will it spoil the book? I think, in this case, I probably did right reading the book first because it’s seen as a bit of a minor classic and it’s unlikely that the movie will achieve classic status (although I haven’t seen any reviews yet so it could be a masterpiece for all I know). On the other hand, no-one would recommend reading one of those cheesy ‘books of the movie’ before seeing a screen classic. So which should come first?
The Rum Diary involves a journalist named Paul Kemp, who moves from New York to work for a major newspaper in San Juan,Puerto Rico. Set in the late 1950s, it is a tangled story of jealousy, treachery and violent aloholic lust among the Americans who staff the newspaper. The book is written in the kind of everyday language of a diary and so is a quick and easy read in that sense but its subject matter is anything but. There’s a lot about the fear of growing old, climbing the greasy career pole and drinking (there’s a lot and I mean A LOT of drinking). It’s interesting to read the parts about the fear of getting old because Thompson was only 22 when he wrote this book and it was evidently an issue for him even then. He actually committed suicide in 2005 at the age of 67.
I enjoyed the book and now I’m wondering how well the story will transfer to screen. Johnny Depp is playing the main part and was apparently a friend of Thompson’s so hopefully the movie will do justice to the novel.
Generally speaking I think it may be best to see things in the order of creation. If the book was written first, read it before you see the film and vice versa. I suppose seeing a terrible adaptation of a great book doesn’t actually spoil the original work but it does make for a irritating couple of hours at the pictures and every couple of hours counts when you’re getting old. Ask Hunter S Thompson.
HAS ANYONE SEEN THE RUM DIARY YET? IS IT ANY GOOD? DO YOU AGREE THAT IT’S BEST TO SEE FILMS/READ BOOKS IN THEIR ORDER OF CREATION?