I will not talk about the weather! It is hampering and controlling my life right now, but I am safe and okay so that is enough. However, I do feel stuck a bit in what I have for choices in how to spend my days while waiting for the warm and dry. Always books are my friends when life events close down other avenues.
Lisa Richard Claro, a fellow blogger, is close to releasing her first book. It is romance and having read a short story from the novel, I can safely say it is going to be good! Check her out over at http://www.lisaricardclaro.com/writing-in-the-buff/ to follow her writing and book release adventures. On her blog today, Lisa posed a couple of questions to readers: What books do you reread and what movies do you rewatch? And why?
My answer would be a long a list because I often reread books and rewatch movies. One book I read three times was Bridges of Madison County, but I did not like the movie. When Lisa asked me why, I thought I would answer here.
I picked up the title of Bridges of Madison County from an essay in the back of a Good Housekeeping magazine. When I went to my favorite eclectic book store of that decade, the store owner said they were giving a box of Kleenex with each purchase. Even men were crying at the story. So I had to try the book too and loved it. Was it a classic? Was it extraordinary literature? Was it cutting edge story? No. It was realistic and human with characters that seemed real and believable because the characters had foibles. Yes, it was a romance and it was a short read and the first time author made a killing.
The story is a love triangle of sorts where all the characters could win or lose. Francesca is a loving wife, dutiful mother, and good citizen, but she is bored on a farm in Iowa. Along comes a good looking and interesting man. So a torrid affair on a long weekend while the family is at the state fair could set the motion for destruction…but does it? If you haven’t read the story yet, give it a try.
So then comes Clint Eastwood turning the book into a movie and playing the lead. I have great appreciation for both Eastwood’s acting and directing. (I mean who didn’t love Rowdy Yates on Rawhide!) However, he ruined this film for me. First of all, he made himself the leading man and he was no Robert Kincaid! He was too old for playing this particular lover. Kincaid was an artist, sensitive to light and color. Eastwood did not fit. The bracelet that marked Kincaid’s arm looked like grade B prop on Eastwood. His Kincaid came across slightly sullen, a little domineering to the little farm wife it seemed to me. Robert Kincaid in the book was strong, virile but generous and sensitive.
I felt like Eastwood changed the thrust of the story from the beginning when he made Francesca appear to be a woman with the “hots” looking for some steamy moments. She seems a woman on the prowl. In the book, Francesca is bored yes, but she is not sure what she is lacking in her life. Had she been alone on the farm those few days, she would probably have restored herself with a lounging bath, maybe a glass of wine alone, a walk, a book, and just some listening to the silence. She would have grown to appreciate her family again in their absence. But Robert Kincaid comes rolling down that Iowa gravel road in an old truck, an eccentric loner and photographer of beauty. Like two semis driving down the center lane, they hit hard and fast. No one was more surprised than Francesca herself. The rest is…well, the rest of the story.
Shortly after the book was a hit, DH and I were in Iowa and went to the house used in the film, Francesca’s house. Oh, it was beautiful! The old pickup truck sat under the trees, the mailbox stood at the drive, and the country road rolled up and down the Iowa landscape. Inside the house was so interesting…the bedroom…the farm kitchen…the bathtub (you know the one)…the water pump where that braceleted man washed…and more. It was a wonderful place to see and to be.
Then in 2003 it was vandalized and set on fire, ruining the site. So sad. You can still see some of the many covered bridges of Madison County featured in the book and film though, and they are worth the trip.
So I think I will pass on Lisa’s questions to my readers and ask for your comments. What books do you reread? What films do you rewatch? And why have these stories captured your imagination, stirred your souls, embedded themselves in your memory, become some of your favorite loves? Thanks, Lisa, for your springboard!