Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper star as the Pembertons in Serena
Whenever I hear a book is being made into a movie, it instantly moves up on my reading list. This is how I came to read Serena by Ron Rash this past week. Not only is Serena a book-to-movie (no U.S. showings yet), but the title character features Jennifer Lawrence, aka Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. What bumped the book to number one on my reading list was the fact that Lawrence has two more book-to-movie roles in the process: Cathy in East of Eden and Agnes in Burial Rites. (Burial Rites is on hold for me at the library and East of Eden will get a reread closer to the movie release, whenever that may be.) Knowing Cathy to be the bad girl of East of Eden and Agnes a murderer in Burial Rites (thanks to my fellow bloggers' great reviews), I wanted to know who the Serena character could possibly be in comparison.
Well, let's just say Lawrence may end up so typecast by the end of these three films, the likes of Katniss Everdeen may never be seen again. As I read, I couldn't even visualize Lawrence playing the part. A very telling description of Serena comes in the first quarter of the book: "When a crew foreman asked Doctor Cheney what [Serena] would want the [dead rattle] snakes for, the physician replied that she milked the fangs and coated her tongue with poison" (102). Yikes, a woman that not even a rattlesnake could kill?! I like you Jennifer Lawrence, but you may be in over your head.
While the character Serena earns her position as the book's title, the storyline itself is slow moving, even though things are happening. It wasn't until the last 100 pages that it felt like the story finally picked up speed. Consistent action picks up in the last quarter of the book, but without the rest of the story, the actions of the end lose meaning. So while it was a slow enough read that the making a movie is what pushed me forward, I am really interested in how this story will translate on screen.
And, as always, my fellow bloggers rub off on me. In recent posts, a few posted about things in stories that bothered them. I have very few of these and typically am not bothered by much. But one pet peeve mentioned was being preached at within a story...particularly if it feels like the author is doing it purposefully. The 60 page John Galt speech at the end of Atlas Shrugged is the only time I recall noticing it blatantly. However, there seemed to be a few such moments where men logging in the camp wonder at the absence of good water and animal life that had been present years before the area was logged. The stripped, stumped landscape is compared to land in France after WWI, "like there's been so much killed and destroyed it can't ever be alive again" (335). And a character who stops speaking throughout the entire middle of the book speaks up, comparing the land to an apocalypse of sorts saying, "I think this is what the end of the world will be like" (336). (Please note: I have neither an opinion of these comments and logging nor knowledge of the author's opinions. Just something I noticed. Thought my fellow bloggers would be proud!)
What do you think of Jennifer Lawrence's new bad girl image?