A few summers ago, I found out some of my favorite classic movies were based on books. (It’s not unusual for books to become movies these days, but for some reason it surprised me about some older works.) That year, I blogged a short series reviewing the books I’d read. You can search for those under the category “there’s a book for that.” Or you can click on the individual reviews at the end of this post.
This year, my discovery has been that a bunch of TV shows I like are based on books. So, I set out to read the books that some of those shows are based on.
The first, About a Boy by Nick Hornby, was a movie, yes, but my husband and I have been enjoying the TV version (NBC) of this story as well. (I love Minnie Driver, and I’m super sad that the network apparently canceled the show abruptly in the spring. Boo!) I don’t remember much about the movie except for Hugh Grant (who forgets Hugh Grant?), which is why I’m opting to include this in my TV-from-books series. (And yes, the cover of this book is from the movie, but this is the one the library had for me to read.)
If you’re unfamiliar, the story is about Will Freeman, a pretty self-centered 30-something guy who lives off the royalties of a hit song. In the book, his father wrote the song. In the TV show, he wrote it. Either way, he’s used to a life of luxury and leisure that revolves around him. He can hardly stand to be around his friends who have children and he’s a womanizer who likes to party. Will’s life is about one thing: Will.
And then he invents a child to meet women at a single parents’ group, and then he meets Marcus, the eclectic 12-year-old son of the even more eclectic Fiona, and they reluctantly start to bond. Will’s relationship with Marcus begins to draw him out of his bubble and forces him to awkwardly and uncomfortably care about other people.
On the TV show, we see this develop bit by bit, and even when I think the show has gone too far in illustrating Will’s lifestyle, there’s usually a redeeming moment when his relationship with Marcus brings him back.
I enjoyed the book because it adds depth to the characters. And even though I think Will is incredibly selfish and lazy, I appreciate the theme that authentic relationships can change us.
Each week this month, I’ll be posting another review of a book that has become a TV show. Next week: Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie (Grantchester, PBS).
Interested in the books-to-movies I reviewed? Here’s the list and links: