Now this won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s read this blog over the years, but I am a bit of a film-fan. I’ve even mentioned before that it’s not uncommon I find books by first seeing the films based on them.
After having watched You before me a few months back and enjoyed it for a wonderful quirky protagonist and a sweet but sad romantic storyline, I thought it would be interesting to read the book. This led to my discovering they really didn’t change much between the two versions, though I liked what they pruned out for the movie.
The book though was interesting for another reason altogether.
It is a largely first person narrative with the bulk of the book in a single point of view. Where it deviates from these two things are curious. Firstly, it starts in third person. For only a bit over a thousand words of the point of view of the love interest. Then it sits in the protag’s first person for ages. Then there’s one chapter in an ancillary character’s POV, also first person. Then back to the protag for a while. Then another ancillary character. Then protag. Then another ancillary character. Finishes, finally on the protag.
Is it just me, or is that weird?
The ancillary characters are all fairly important people in the plot, but their POVs aren’t important at all. They expand on character and extend their different voices, but that’s about it. In the case of the last one – the protag’s sister – this POV change occurs at a crucial emotional and decision making moment for the protag, which I found downright jarring. The other two were harmless.
But what’s with the opening in 3rd? To me that’s really weird. Essentially it is more like a prologue without being labelled as one and, right at the start like that, you kind of forgive it.
Of course it was an interesting thing to read – a romance with an underlying social issue – after reading a literary novel that also mixed third and first. I think Hannah Kent had more justification for her choice, but it’s funny to see these kind of structures in such popular and film-convertable books.