From Page to Screen: The Outcast


From Page to Screen

The Book choice today is:

THE OUTCAST

By Sadie Jones



This book was adapted for the screen as a TV mini-series on BBC. It aired in early August and I loved it. I had to read the book afterwards and I am very glad I did.

The BBC cast included:

-      George Mackay Lewis Aldridge

-      Greg Wise Gilbert Aldridge

-      Hattie Morahan Elizabeth Aldridge

-      Jessica Barden Kit Carmichael

-      Nathaniel Parker Dick Carmichael

The story is set in the 1950s and revolves around Lewis Aldridge. Originally a happy-go-lucky 10 year old, he witnesses the death of his mother by drowning and forever is changed and becomes the titular ‘Outcast’.

I’ll start with the book, even though I read it after watching the mini-series.


Book Review

 
As soon as the show had aired I had to read this book, and I completed it within a train journey to and from Brighton and loved it. I didn’t want to put it down.

The writing is incredibly simple in places but it’s also extremely moving. The gripping atmosphere and the need to understand Lewis who, as he grows up, is a very strange character in the sense that he is so human.

He witnesses the death of his mother and yet the 1950s society rules dictate that he should be fine. He should go to university and become a rising star in business or law.  He should be polite and witty.

Yet the Lewis that the story revolves around is a troubled boy who struggles with the death of his beloved mother and the lack of loving attention he receives afterwards.
 
The character of Kit Carmichael, the tom-boyish, clever and brave girl of the story is not your typical romantic character. She is much younger than Lewis, is treated as such her entire life even though she is perhaps more intelligent than all the adults of the novel.

I would say that the story revolves a little too much around her ‘first-love’ feelings when the person she is in love with is away for most of her childhoodbut she is an extremely fascinating character nonetheless.

 
Overall the characters of the book are what make it so intriguing to read. They are the typical cluster of 1950s stereotypes but they are also so human that they could be my neighbours.

The story has some dark themes including: incestuous seductions, alcohol, sex, self-harm, abusebut this is more realism than Game of Thrones, and none of the themes really drag you away from the humanity of the story.

 

TV Review

When the show aired I thought there was little publicity for it. I saw and advert and I thought I’d watch it as it had one of my favourite up and coming actors (George Mackay) in it and I was very glad I did.

The series was set over 2 episodes which aired within a week of each other. The first episode deals with the death of Lewis’s mother and the return of his father from the Second World War.


We watch the decline of Lewis from a happy-go-lucky boy to a steely-eyed and jazz-loving teenager who makes everyone uncomfortable by barely speaking and staring a lot.

The audience witnesses his dissent into jazz, alcohol and sex with an older women all the while the 1950s cluster of neighbours see him as a disturbed young man who may have possibly killed his own mother.

You want to shake the horrible neighbours and scream at Lewis’s father played by Greg Wise with such a lack of empathy it is disturbing. He practices saying ‘My wife is dead’ in his dining room before talking to his neighbours about it all of these characters make for enticing viewing as we watch Lewis’s dissent into the second episode.

 
The second episode focuses more on Lewis’s relationship with his stepmother and Kit Carmichael Jessica Barden excels as Kit. She is a very watchable actress with her vulnerability/strength and incredibly young looks even though she is 23!
 
The answers you get in the TV show are the same as the book but because the issues are so personal and based on thoughts you don’t really get the whole picture. Merely the outline within the film.

But the acting is superb. Besides from a few under-written moments and slightly drawn out scenes the second episode was just as good, if not slightly, better than the first episode. The last 10 minutes will have your emotions going topsy turvy!

 

Overall I loved both of these works and I think they both deserve recognition but I would say that the book is slightly better, only slightly. The TV adaption is perhaps the closest adaption I have ever seen to perfection of the book the writing, the scene set-out, the character portrayalsetc. They all just fit.

But the book gave you those details that were missing slightly from the TV adaption, all of Lewis’s thoughts and his needs that aren’t being met. What he is thinking when he is silent or drunk in the TV adaption. This just tips it over the edge.

I would highly recommend both, and in either order.

Happy Reading Folks!

 

 

Book Haul


 
I was going to wait until the end of the month for this post but I had to write it soon as my book haul this month is huge!

I mean massive! So I’m going to jump straight in!

1.   Girls Under Pressure by Jacqueline Wilson (University Course Book)

2.   Junk by Melvyn Burgess (University Course Book)

3.   The Year of the Rat by Clare Furness (University Course Book)

4.   Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

5.   Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

6.   Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

7.  The Ravens’ Head by Karen Maitland (Review from Headline)

8.   How to get into Publishing

9.   The Sea Between Us by Emylia Hall (Review from Headline)

10. Me Before you by JoJo Moyes

11. The Isle of the Lost by Dela Cruz

12. Back Home by Michelle Magorian

13. Sweeney Todd: The Barbar of Fleet Street

14. Peter Pan by J.M Barrie

15. The Women with the little dog & other stories by Anton Chekhov

16. Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

17.Peter and Alice by John Logan

18. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean Dominique Baudy

19. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

20.  The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

21. A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney (University Course Book)

22. Hello Goodbye by Jennifer E Smith (Review from Headline)

23.  Birdsong (the play) by Sebastian Faulks adapted by Rachel Wagstaff

So many books and so many more on the wayI don’t know why this has been such a large book buying/reviewing month for me but it has! And I love it!

I got most of these books used and for bargain prices, so I didn’t break the bank and I have got around to reading quite a few already so that is good!

Let me know if you got any good books this month.

Happy Reading J

Top 5 Bookish Pet Peeves


Top 5 Bookish Pet Peeves

We all have pet peeves, but as a book blogger my peeves are specifically book-related.

Let me know if you have any of these bookish pet peeves also, or if you have any I’ve either forgotten about or just don’t bother me.

1.   Dog-Eared Pages
 

Oh God, I hate these! I used to be extremely guilty of doing this but then again I used to read books and then give them away almost as soon as I had read them. But now, of course, I keep them because I love books! So you can imagine how much this irritates me upon reading these books again.

2.   Broken Spines
 

Another hateful truth of book reading. I, once again, was guilty of this. In fact I used to enjoy cracking the spines of a book, but now simply for aesthetic reasons I detest this! It’s irritating to hold a book that keeps flopping over to the same page, not to mention the way it looks on bookshelves!

It may be a sign of well-enjoyed/good book, but it does not look great!

3.   Size Difference

You’ve just read a great book and you can’t wait to read the sequelbut when it arrives the book is the wrong size to the other. Not only do they look really odd on the shelves but they’re difficult to get into.

Example: Outlander I really enjoyed the first book and couldn’t wait to read the second but when it came it was tiny! Now it is sitting, looking odd and unread, on my shelf!

4.   Discoloured Books
 
 

This is not something that happens often but books I get from charity shops are often discoloured. I don’t understand how it can happen so drastically sometimes!

5.   Film Covers vs Book Covers

 
Sometimes I love film covers and sometimes I hate it. I really like the movie cover of ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls, I like it much more than then original book cover, but most of the time I hate the ‘movie poster’ look of some books!

There are my top 5 bookish peeves! Let me know about yours.

Happy Reading J



Play Recommendations


I am a writer as well as a book blogger, I have written novels (check out my Publishing Experience to learn more about that) poems and plays and I enjoy reading all kinds of writing.

Plays/Screenplays are things I read when I just want to curl up in a corner and get immersed in a book. Unlike novels they do not require too much thought because normally plays simply consist of dialogue with occasional instructions as to where the characters should be standing and what they should be doing.

As such reading a play is often like listening into a 1-3 hour conversation.

I have a small collections of plays and screenplays and I thought I would share some with you, for any that are interested in reading more diversely than fiction and non-fiction.

1.   Peter and Alice by John Logan

 
This is my most recent buy and I read it in one-sitting. The story revolves around the meeting of Peter Llewelyn Davis and Alice Liddell the inspirations behind Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland respectively. This is based on a real-life event with use of magical realism to express how the two ‘inspirations’ felt about their portrayal as fictional characters.

2.   Electra and Other Plays by Sophocles

 
For anyone interested in Greek Tragedies, these plays are for the more practiced reader I would say mostly because of the language and the confusing characters but the stories are so in-depth and clever for writing of over 1000 years ago that they are well worth the attempt! Very dramatic, some are gory and tragic, whilst others hold comedic elements.

3.   Peter Pan and Other Plays by J.M. Barrie

 
Originally Peter Pan was a play and I think it is good to re-visit the original versions of TV/Films/Books that we all know and love just to get a taste of what it must have been like to experience something magical for the first time! (Also a good read alongside Peter and Alice)

4.   1984 by George Orwell, adapted by Matthew Dunster

 
On another noteit is also good to visit adaptions. I have never actually read and work by George Orwell as I struggle to get into his writing style so I cheated a little and bought the play. This is an interesting adaptation and it will, hopefully, help me into reading more of Orwell’s fiction as well as gaining a grasp on the story of 1984.

5.   Sense and Sensibility (The Screenplay) by Emma Thompson original work by Jane Austen

 
So most people will know of Sense and Sensibility, and hopefully of Emma Thompson’s fantastic adaptation of the book into film. It is a fantastic film and Thompson did a great job of adapting it, the screenplay is short and concise but it is very much a close adaptation of Austen’s work unlike other adaptions of said author’s novels

6.   Shakespeare in Love by Marc Norman & Tom Stoppard

 
You’d think writing a screenplay about Shakespeare’s life and re-working Romeo and Juliet into it would be a stupid piece of writing but actually it is great! The best thing about this screenplay, and the overall film, is that it does not take itself seriously but at the same time gives plausible thought to true love and ‘literary genius’ and how both are ‘really just glorious accident’s.’

7.  Downton Abbey (The Screenplay) by Julian Fellowes

 
For anyone interested in TV series writing you should definitely check out the Downton Abbey screenplays by Julian Fellowes. He is meticulous in his research and work and so by reading these books a book for each series with Fellowes own narration and advice throughout, is a great way to start to think about your own writing.

So there are 7 recommendations which I hope you shall check out! Let me know if there are any plays/Screenplays you’d recommend I’d read! I’m always open to reading more diversely in genre!

Happy Reading Folks! J



Letters in Books



So in a recent trip to my hometown I had a bit of a charity book shop! This month has been really been a book-buying month for me and it’s been wonderful!

But this post is not about my shopping experience, it is about a little book I found in an Oxfam shop.

I found a book called ‘Ways to Live Forever’ by Sally Nicholls. The story itself revolves around a young boy who is dying of cancer, who collects ‘stories’ and tries to find answers for questions before he dies.

I have been interested in reading this book before but I have never actually picked it up, so when I saw it in the charity shop I opened it and what I found just got me thinking:

Inside was a letter written by the previous, or one of the previous, owners who explains why she has given away the book and her hopes for the reader.

The letter goes as thus:

“Dear Reader,

I am unaware as to how this book came to be in your hands. Perhaps you bought it for £1.50 in a charity shop, or borrowed it from a friend. Whatever the passage, I could not be more excited for you right now. At this very moment you are about to embark on a literary journey that potentially change your life.

Since finishing this book 12 years ago, I have read it a total of 15 times. I am now 20, and it’s time for me to part with Sam. I am doing this partly to cut down in my ever-growing book collection, but also because I want someone else to get the same amount of joy and inspiration from Ways to Live Forever as I did.

Live every day as if it is your last, love endlessly, and stay young.

All the best on your journey!”

 
Upon reading this I couldn’t not buy the book. I do aim to read it also, but the letter just got me thinking What a nice gesture and what a nice story too.

Imagine where all your books have come from, all the previous owners and the previous thoughts.

Did the previous owner cry when reading this book? Did they love or hate it? Did they get it as an unwanted/wanted gift? Did they read it in one sitting? Did it gather dust for years? Etc.

It’s easy to forget sometimes that books have more stories than just the stories within.

It’s also easy to forget how much joy other people can get from reading, I certainly enjoy it I wouldn’t be writing this blog otherwise but this letter made me appreciate the written word all over again.

Slightly cheesy, I know, but there we have it. I hope to return this book to a charity shop upon reading it, perhaps with my own little note inside it. I may also write a letter in a favourite book of my own and drop it off in a charity shop and hope someone, somewhere, picks it up and experiences the same feelings and thoughts I got.

Until then,

Happy Reading Folks! J

Booktubers/Bloggers Recommend: 3 Books to Read This Summer


Bloggers and Booktubers Recommend

Summer Reading!

So recently I contacted some booktubers and book bloggers and asked them to take part in a new series of blogposts I am doing: ‘Bloggers and Booktubers Recommend’ The first post is all about which books these Bloggers and Booktubers would recommend to read this Summer!

So far I have had three lovely responses from:

v Jen Campell, the author of Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, who can be found at her booktube channel or her blog,

v Sanne, aka Books and Quills who can be found on Booktube and her blog,

v Jo, from her blog Once Upon A Bookcase.

Here are there 3 recommendations:

Jen’s three choices were:

1.   By Night the Moutain Burns by Juan Tomas Avila

2.   No One Here is Here Except All of Us by Romana Ausubel

3.   Poems from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory by Simon Barraclough

Jen also has a video on her channel of her recommended summer reads so check it out!
 
Sanne’s three choices were:

1.   Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - I really need to reread this one before the final film comes out I’m sure it will be heart-breaking all over again and I'm excited to fly through it like I did the first time.

2.   Nimona by Noelle Stevenson - It's a beautiful graphic novel by one of my favourite people on the Internet. I discovered her through her hilarious Hunger Games comics and was really intrigued when I heard she had written/drawn a full graphic novel.

3.   The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness - Have you ever wondered what happens to all the other characters that live around the 'chosen one' in Young Adult novels? I can't wait to read my first Patrick Ness YA book.

 
Jo’s three choices were:

1.   The Awesome by Eva Darrows A really feminist and sex positive novel with a wonderful mother-daughter relationship.

2.   The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge A Historical novel with a fantasy elementthe main character looks into her father’s scientific work after his disappearance at a time when it wasn’t acceptable for girls and science to mix.

3.   What was Never Said by Emma Craigie A book about a Somali teenager that deals with female genital mutilation.

(Jo was inspired by reading Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill to read feminist YA fiction this Summer)

 
So there we are. Three recommendations for summer reading from established book bloggers/booktubers.

There is a great variety of choice here and these book bloggers have certainly given me some new suggestions for my TBR!

See any books that like or want to take part in this new series of blogposts, comment below or message me on Twitter @ElliePilcher95.

Thanks again to Jen, Sanne and Jo for taking part! J

Happy Reading Folks!