“Never judge a book by its movie” is one of the rules I live my life by. It’s one I’ve often forcibly reminded friends and family of when they’ve (stupidly) questioned institutions like Harry Potter, His Dark Materials and Game of Thrones (a show, I know). I’ve so far only acknowledged one movie that is better than its book – Atonement (feel free to disagree but you’d be incorrect).
I wasn’t pleased however to find out I was wrong… there is no exception that proves the rule. On a whim, a friend and I chose the first movie suggested by Netflix for our movie night. Love, Rosie is a charming British Comedy that really captures the will-they-won’t-they relationship between two best friends. We found ourselves enchanted by the story – complete with gesturing with our wine glasses and screaming at the TV. Based on Cecilia Ahern’s book Where Rainbows End, I was expecting the book to be better than the film…
Boy, was I wrong. I don’t mean that the book wasn’t very accurate – it wasn’t romanticised or even cliché. But I kind of wish it was. The book, written through emails and letters, follows the friendship of Alex and Rosie who, despite Alex moving to Boston when they’re 17, manage to stay in contact for years. Decades in fact, and you really feel them. Unlike their onscreen counterparts, this Alex and Rosie, are actually rather dull and mostly very selfish. It’s a book very easily compared to One Day by Dave Nicholls but falls short of a favourable comparison. Because, unlike One Day, these characters don’t have to grow into each other. Therefore the book loses you at why these two just won’t get together. Ahern seems to be pointing to fate, but this only carries to a couple of the book’s events. The rest is a series’ of ground-hog day style emails that spell out feelings both characters are supposedly unaware of. In the end, it felt even more of a tragedy than One Day, which is awful because it was meant to have a happy ending.
More than anything, the problem with this book is the style in which it is written. There is a reason the epistolary novel hasn’t made a resurgence. I spent most of the book thinking that this had Ahern’s hands tied – having to portray events through letters meant that anything important was either divulged in horribly verbose and unconvincing letters, or else completely skimmed over. However, having persevered to the end and endured the prologue I found myself glad that Ahern hadn’t been writing in prose the whole time. Either way, the book was too long and, had I not known what was coming from the film, I would have skipped to the end (:o and been disappointed!).
Overall, this book – just about – explored a sad waste of two lives. Failing to convince anyone that it is better to wait until love find’s you than to sleep with your best friend. I can’t believe I’m saying this… but watch the film instead.