Tag Archives: P.D.James

Book Windup: The Children of Men

Finished!!! (warning: may contain spoilers)

Novel Cover
Novel Cover

So happy to have finished this book! I’ve felt like I’ve been slacking in the reading department the past couple months, final papers and exams happening, so this felt so nice to be back in a rhythm of reading. This book I’d give a 6/10 which may seem severe but it’s not because I didn’t like it, but because the climatic scenes didn’t feel climatic enough. Let me explain, because this novel it written in narrator form, first person. Theo’s character himself, the novel’s pov, has a very skewed perception of life at this point because it’s been 25 years since the last born child and his cousin has taken up the dictator role of “Warden of Great Britain” enforcing vary degrees of inhumane treatments of Britain’s citizens and incoming “Omegas.” This picture of a cynical, isolated, defeatist mannerism of a man is with which the author chose to create this novel’s pov and in turn the energy level throughout the entire novel with. So even when Theo joins up with the renegade group “The Five Fishes” there is some sense of self-containment in his thoughts, he even admonished himself on many occasions for having a natural emotional reaction any average person would have but because it’s not in tune with his own nature of feelings it must be stomped out.

On the back of the book along with a synopsis are a few review clips from various news publications The New Yorker says, “As scary and suspenseful as anything in Hitchcock,” which I’ll kind of agree with. I mean, nothing will ever replace Hitchcock, but combining scary and suspenseful will give you a thriller which I feel is closer to the mark. I’ll just round up this book review as simply describing it as an adult dystopian worth reading!

Now I feel the need to be kind of picky and point out some major differences between the novel and it’s adaptation into film.

Movie Poster
Movie Poster

#1: 2021 vs 2027

Why? Too soon? I don’t get it unless it has something to do with 7 sounding nicer than 1.

#2: Jasper Novel vs Jasper Movie

In the novel he’s quite an irrelevant character otherwise known to the reader as Theo’s former professor and now a major paranoid senior with an vegetative state wife whose only purpose in the end was having a secluded home with a large store unit for himself to be self-sufficient. Before the second time Theo visit’s him he committed suicide. Movie Jasper on the other hand seems like fun character that has made best of a sorry situation.

#3: Julian N vs Julian M

Julian in the movie is presented as Theo’s ex-wife and is killed early into the movie. Julian in the novel is a complete stranger who Theo falls in love with (and vice versa) and has him try to help the Five Fishes initial cause by approaching the Warden.  Julian is also the pregnant character instead of Clare from the movie, who doesn’t exist in the novel. The baby’s father is Luke not the leader Rolf’s aka her husband.

#4: Xan vs Nigel

In the movie Theo’s cousin is just a high ranking government official whose power extents to recovering art work. In the novel Xan is the leader of the country and his power is omnipresence in a sense. It almost feels like a game of chess the way Theo helps the group evade Xan, and Xan trying to find Theo. Xan even has the Royal Family become obsolete and wears the coronation ring himself as a symbol in his words “familiarity.”

#5: Revolution vs Peace

In the novel for the most part, there is very little room for any revolution or acts of crime to occur without any immediate action against the persecutors being shipped off to the Isle of Man, a self-governed prison where death, starvation, and abuse is a common occurrence with no intervention from the Warden’s council. The Warden’s slogan being; freedom from fear, want, or boredom. Xan’s council member’s follow up with; protection, security, comfort, and pleasure. With the general population accepting those in turn for obedience there isn’t any sort of revolution that occurs in the book. The novel ends with the baby’s birth and Theo taking on the leadership role of Warden. Hence the Hitchcock reference because of the lack of conclusion or epilogue.

Movie Poster
Movie Poster
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BIP: Books in Progress

Ever come across a book you’ve wanted to read so badly but it’s just a challenge to open the book knowing the hard road that’s about to come your way? It’s not a leisure read, but it’s definitely rewarding to close that book and think, “YES!!” throw that book onto the bed and do a celebratory dance then proceed to kitchen to enjoy that well earned glass of wine.

Well no wine for Emma just yet, she’s got some books to finish.

Book #1: Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

This book is a challenge to read for me right now because of my sense of accomplishment towards book 1 & 2, along with the Hobbit has me all J.R.R. Tolkien out. I had a very good reading pattern for this series going, 1 hr 3-4 nights a week. This initially did start out as a leisure read however; I do get distracted easily by the young adult section (knocking out 4 YA books in a month with no sweat). Regrettably this book has begun collecting dust and my bookmark is my sole indicator and reminder of just where I am in the book (with Pippin exploring Minas Tirith and seeing day become swallowed by darkness from Mordor). I’ll make a mental note to finish this before the year has ended… or at least January 3rd. That happens to be both Tolkien and myself’s birthday.

#2: Children of Men by P.D. James

Novel Cover
Novel Cover

If this sounds familiar to you, its because it was adapted into a movie back in 2006 staring Clive Owen. That was my first exposure to this story, and it took quiet a few years for me to finally get around to buy this book and find a set time to sit down and read this story. Before I continue I’ll say SPOILER just in case this should reveal anything for anyone who might choose to read this book. I’ll start with this; I’m a book over movie type of person. No matter how visually exciting a movie may be, I’m crazy for the small details and background information characters would have that films don’t have time to inform the audience about. Which this book does, in very wordily detail your given amazing information and imagery about Theo and his relationship with minor characters and societies attitude towards their demise and how governments (mainly Britain) have seen to proceed life with as much structure (oligarchy??) as it can possibly enforce with a world mixed with “who cares?” and “what’s the point?” also, jobs/careers that become moot in this sterile world are discussed as well. This books a challenge for me right now because of how dense of the novel has been. Contained in under 200 pages, I’m only a quarter way through yet it feels like I’ve made little progression in the plot. I feel like Yoda is whispering in my ear “Patients you must have.” I’M TRYING YODA!!

#3 A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin 

I don’t need to elaborate very much on why this book is a BIP. It’s over 1000+ pages! Holy crap I’m on chapter 26 of 64! I’m not beating myself up over my slow progress over this one. Each chapter is a different character so it’s more like 8+ books in one. The only complaint I have is I wish Arya had more chapter’s in this book. I understand Feast of Crows is in the same timeline as A Dance with Dragons and she had many chapters in FoC. Doesn’t stop me from wanting a book solely on her adventures in Braavos. How amazing would that be! George has released an Arya chapter from The Winds of Winter and my reaction? I just felt like I was at Eminem’s first ever Rap battle backing away from the computer screen, arms up in the airs, making inaudible noises from shock and excitement. WHAT!! WOAH!! OH NO HE DIDN’T!!!