I love a good novel. I have read quite a few this past year and I am very impressed with the quality and creativity of several authors that are out there. The kind of stories I like I suppose would be considered “chick lit” and sometimes I see them on “Lifetime for Women”, but the three I have chosen for this review, have not, to my knowledge, ever been on the big screen. On the other hand, I have seen movies that, well, should not have even been written in book form, let alone made into a movie. Gone with the Wind is my all time favorite movie and the book was great as well. Scarlett was a wonderful continuation of this classic book, and made an excellent movie also. I hope that my choices of books will be ones that you will enjoy also, and someday, may see in my local theatre.
1. Standing in the Rainbows by Fannie Flagg
What more can I say? This author is one of my absolute favorites and already has had one of her novels made into a movie. Perhaps you remember “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe”. I have read all her books, and every one of them is just as good as the other! Standing in the Rainbows is about another small town called Elmwood Springs in Missouri. The story follows the lives of several characters in the town from 1946 to the present. You are introduced to Neighbor Dorothy and her family, and you get to watch her children grow up and marry. She runs a radio station in this small town, and has a following for miles around…even into other states! Fannie Flagg weaves a story like no other, taking you down through the years and meeting some truly unforgettable people. One shy girl who hardly speaks becomes a governer’s wife and eventually the governer herself! Another little blind lady becomes an extremely popular gospel singer, and a beautician with bad luck with men and hair! This is a must read book, and must see movie if ever one is made! An ideal actress to be cast as the happy-go-lucky Neighbor Dorothy would be none other than Sally Field. She is the one person I thought of the entire time I was reading this book. Herbert Ross who directed Steel Magnolias would work this story very well in my opinion.
2. Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan
This story was very different than any other I have ever read. In many ways it has an eerie but sensual quality that made me want to pick it up every spare moment I had! Full of passion, superstition, and “I didn’t see that one coming” surprises in this book made it a tumultuous but stimulating read. You find out the main character from the very beginning had a tough upbringing. I don’t mean that in the streetwise tough way, but in the way that Meridia is constantly haunted by mists which have more meaning than she first realizes. My interpretation of the book may be different than someone elses, which is why I feel this book would make an excellent movie. There are demons, ghosts, and seers that invade Meridia’s life which she slowly pieces together with each discovery she makes. From her cold borderline abusive father Gabriel, to her sterile but beautiful mother Ravenna who rarely speaks, Meridia is pretty much ignored by her entire family. She finds out that they were at one time the toast of the town. She discovers when she marries the man of her dreams, life in another family can be just as harsh. Since the author is of Chinese descent, I got a bit of an Oriental feel to all the characters in play here. I believe a good choice for Meridia would be Zhang Ziyi with Chow Yun Fat as Gabriel. With Ang Lee directing this one, it would go far at the box office!
3. Tied to the Tracks by Rosina Lippi
A modern day love story that has a very happy ending. An engrossing tale of a town with traditions that go way back and characters that teach a young journalist a few lessons about love and loss. Angie Mangiamele is a city girl from Hoboken New Jersey that finally gets the chance to film a documentary about the life of a famous local legend from the town of Ogilvie, Georgia. What are the chances that she would run into a now engaged former lover who she hasn’t quite gotten over, and as it turns out, hasn’t quite forgotten her either! She finds however, with the help of her friend and collegue Rivera, that she actually likes her ex-boyfriend John’s current fiance, Caroline Rose. Although she tries to stay away from John, their burning passion inevitably gets the best of them and they succumb to the matters of their hearts. All the while, as they find out later, their love story is practically being “written” for them by the subject of the documentary, Miss Zula Bragg! I won’t reveal the surprise ending, but don’t feel sorry for poor Caroline Rose! She has quite gotten over John! My choices for casting would be Alyssa Milano as Angie, Gwenyth Paltrow as Caroline Rose, and the director would be Rob Reiner. This story would make a must see movie!