It definitely is a book that needs to be read around the same time as watching the film, just so you can understand each one better. While the book is clever, detailed, and superbly constructed, the film brings the characters and setting to life, interweaving the stories and characters to make the links between the six different stories more explicit.
Neither format is easy going.
The film jumps from story to story, and it is difficult to work out what is going on, and how the pieces fit together, while the book is split into six sections, with half of each story at the beginning, one after another, one full story in the middle and the second half of each of the other stories played out at the end, one at a time. The thing I found with this format, is that I missed the characters and settings as they finished.
I prefer the way the narratives were interwoven in the film, even if it was confusing at first.
There was something quirky and lovable about each of the stories: the belief that even one person can make a difference in the Adam Ewing story; the beautiful setting, and descriptions relating to music in the Robert Frobisher story (which are not found in the movie); the fight for survival in the Luisa Rey story; comic elements in the Timothy Cavendish story; a stark and curious dystopian future in the Sonmi 451 story; and the contrast of technology and primitiveness in the post-apocalyptic story.
The message underlying each story is that you should fight for what you believe in, even if it means your life.
In each story there is a romantic link between two characters, which helps them to be stronger and more able to hold onto their shared beliefs. As these characters rebel against prejudices, their fighting spirit is inspiring and powerful, and their love stories, heartwarming and heartbreaking.
I definitely gained more from the movie, with its moments of quiet contemplation and determination to remain true. The stories were all visual feasts, and the diverse characters were played by highly skilled actors, including Jim Broadbent and Tom Hanks.
It is quirky though, and one of those movies that is better to watch on your own.
This week I'll be picking up Blood of Dragons, the fourth book in the Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb.
I'm pretty excited, because this is the final instalment of the story,
and there are always some amazing surprises in her final chapters. I can't wait!
Now I'm off to visit my reading friends over at Book Journey: