There is this tumblr account I follow (mostly because I enjoy the perks of being publicly ironic) called: Problems Of A Book Nerd. Each day (or sometimes twice a day if I’m really lucky) Cecilia (the girl who runs it) posts little ecards with nerd quips on them. For example today’s (#378) was “Claiming to be scared of the dark so having a nightlight doesn’t seem odd which you then proceed to read next to for hours after you were supposed to come to bed.”
Anyways, a while ago (you’ll understand how long when I show you it’s number) she posted a quip that I considered to be the cream of the crop. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, this puppy was on the money. So I saved it to my desktop, in hopes that one day I’d be lucky enough to use it for this exact purpose.
This is what it said:
#83 – When I say “I wish they would turn this book into a movie” what I really mean is “I wish they would turn this book into a 17-hour-long spectacle that includes every single solitary detail and doesn’t deviate at all from the storyline and has perfect casting.”
Now, most of you (at one time or another) have had the “book to movie” conversation with me, and learned that (while I’d be impressed if they didn’t) I have no big issue with movies taking liberties with adaptated work. Why? Because I am scary good at separating reality and expectations. I know that the movie will never live up to the book, so I just don’t expect it to. Instead…I enjoy it for what it is. Someone else’s interpretation of a book I really enjoyed. Like a visual book club if you will. So when I decided it was imperative that I purchase a copy of Brian McGreevy’s “Hemlock Grove” (after watching it’s Netflix adaptation – which I loved with the passion of a thousand caged succubi) I wasn’t expecting the exact same story. A phrase here. A reference there. Tada…a collaboration is made. Instead…I got as close to a #83 as I have ever seen. Which I have to admit is pretty freaking awesome.
For those of you that have had to opportunity to watch the TV version of Hemlock Grove, you are (at this point) probably accustomed to it’s odd cadence. For everyone else…let me explain.
Unlike traditional novels (especially those dealing with supernatural/paranormal elements) HG is not easy to read. It is written in “conscience thought.” What does that mean? Well…let me think. Ok, imagine for a second that there is a man sitting at a table. On that table are roughly 5 thousand fortunes (because obviously this dude has a weird obsession with Chinese food.) The man, he loves these fortunes, doesn’t want to throw them away. So he comes up with an idea. He will write a book, and use the fortune cookies as his guide. Punctuation will not deter him. Fragments, and vague references will cower in his glory…because this is his calling. To unite forward thought with the grotesque beauty of Gothic realism. That is the writing base for Hemlock Grove. Stunted but informative.
Straying way outside of the lines, McGreevy adds poetic justice to not only the world he builds for his characters to tromp clumsily through, but also the characters themselves. Judged/spoiled/forgotten/mistreated/sacrificial/and evil incarnate only tip the ice berg when delving into such a uniquely tortured cast.
Peter (the werewolf) struggles with perception. Roman (the umpir) with loneliness and expectation. Shelley, acceptance. Each has a distinct place in the story, and each deliver in a way that can be considered either stunning or beautiful, depending on your point of view.
I will be the first to admit that this book (much like the show) is not for everyone. As a matter of fact, it’s not for most. The writing style alone with bother at least 80% of you. Another 5% will be irritated by the blatant disregard for traditional “supernatural” rules. (aka what a vampire/werewolf is “supposed” to do according to every other book on the planet.) For the last 15% you will be swept away in a fantastic (original) Gothic tale, that breaks barriers and sets new standards. Something I am VERY happy to have realized early on.
And (as a side note) for those of you who are deciding whether or not to purchase this book for a little “show clarity”…good luck with that. The show follows the book (with the exception of a few small things and a couple of pages of illustrative detail) if the show confused you, the book will not help you.
Overall…it’s not what I expected, but exactly what I wanted. Two thumbs up for off-beat books!
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: sometimes it’s good to step outside of your comfort zone.
A look at the Netflix series…