Monday, October 14, 2013

Serena

Source: buzzsugar.com
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?

10 comments:

  1. I hate being preached to in a book when it was not expected as well. It usually pulls me out of the story. :(

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    1. I almost never see it. This was only a few lines of dialogue on one page, so I'm not sure if that was the intent, I was just proud of myself for noticing the possibility! I've been rehashing the ending over and over in my head to see if the dialogue fits with the happenings, cause then it wouldn't be preaching.

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  2. I recently bought this, hoping to make it one of my book club's next reads, in part because of the movie and in part because my bookseller raved about it so much when I lifted it off the shelf. I tend to get a little frustrated with books that inch along in the beginning, so I hope I can handle this!

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    1. I had two friends rave about it as well (also who I heard about the movie from). It wasn't horrible, just slower moving than I expected. If I want to get really analytical, I could say the pace of the book runs parallel to Serena's character. Can't say much more than that without ruining it for you!

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  3. I really don't like being preached to either! It drives me bananas! I do, however, like Jennifer Lawrence. Luckily, she's in just about everything, so I can probably skip Serena since it doesn't sound like I'd enjoy it too much.

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    1. I'm thinking it will make a better movie anyway. I want to see Lawrence pull off this strong, independent, crazy character.

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  4. I hadn't heard of this one until it was suggested at book club. You have me very curious and I love the time period and the location of France is a nice change. In terms of Jennifer Lawrence, I think she has quite the talent and I bet she can pull it off!!

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    1. It's set in America. The references to France are from the men who fought in WWI. I'm hoping she can pull off the part - it would be impressive!

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  5. I hadn't heard of this book at all until now. Thanks for covering this one!

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    1. First Ron Rash I've heard of and read :)

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