Thursday, 23 June 2011

Reading Challenge- 1st Book and Film completed

Well folks, I am pleased to say that I have just completed my first book and film  in the Two Bibiliomaniacs reading challenge.

First up is The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I love historical novels and have read many over the years, but for some reason I have shied away from books about The Tudors.This may be because so many people have written about them and I already know quite a lot about Henry VIII and his wives from history lessons at school.

However, I picked up a copy of the book in a local charity shop and after reading the blurb decided to include it in the challenge. 

What can I say but "Why oh Why haven't I read Philippa Gregory before?"  From the first page I was hooked and spent several nights reading until I could no longer keep my eyes open. At over 500 pages long, it is a meaty book, but at no stage was I bored nor did I feel that the story was too long. In fact, I slowed down my reading towards the end as I did not want to leave the world of Mary Boelyn and her outrageous family.

Ms Gregory's style of prose is, in my opinion similar to that of one of my favourite authors, Ken Follett. The story moves along at a good pace- it isn't bogged down by overly descriptive phrases or stilted dialogue. All of the main characters are brought vividly to life and I found myself still thinking about them several days after I had finished reading.

As if you haven't already guessed, I loved The Other Boleyn Girl and give it  10 out of 10. It is without doubt the most engrossing book I have read for a very long time. Highly recommended.

This now leads me on to a review of the film.

Having enjoyed the book so much, I was prepared for the fact that I may not like the film as much as if I hadn't known the story first.
However, when the DVD dropped through my letterbox this morning, I was still excited to see how the book had been interpreted and from what I knew of the cast, and the writer Peter Morgan (The Last King of Scotland) it sounded very promising indeed.

Sadly, I have to say that I was very disappointed. I understand that it must be a real challenge to condense a 500+ page book into an under 2 hour film, and that parts of the storyline will, inevitably be affected.
However, many of the important threads in the book had either been totally omitted or changed beyond recognition and this made the film seem disjointed and  hard to follow. I became increasingly annoyed by the bits that were left out and by other elements of the story, (such as Anne's trial and execution) being rushed through.
I feel that it would have been far better to dramatise the story on TV over several parts and am sure the BBC with its talent for dramatic productions would have done it far much justice.

I would score this film 5 out of 10. It is not a bad film and I am sure if I hadn't read the book first, I would have enjoyed it more.  But I don't think I will be rushing to watch it again.

Anyway, that's the whole point of this challenge so on to the next one!

Have a great weekend everyone!


  1. Good for you getting through book & movie #1! I've never read The Other Boleyn Girl & I haven't seen the movie. I'm part of the Two Bibliomaniacs challenge, too so maybe I'll add this book/movie to my list!

  2. Yea, one down! We both had a very similar experience as you. Fantastic book but the movie was lacking in many areas. Philippa Gregory did a great job with Tudor England.

    On a slightly unrelated note, what other Ken Follett books would you recommend? I loved Pillar of the Earth, but haven't known where to go next.

  3. Hi Melany
    Thanks for your comment. If you like historical novels then I really recommend The other Boleyn Girl. It is superb reading.
    Good luck with your challenge. I look forward to reading your posts!

  4. Hi
    Thanks for your comment.

    Ken Follett wrote a follow up to Pillars of the Earth called World Without End. It is set in the same city as Pillars but is 200 years later. A superb read and I think I liked it better than Pillars if that is possible. He has also written Fall of Giants which is the first novel of a trilogy. Giants is set in The First World War and follows several different families. I reviewed that on my blog if you want to have a read.

  5. I've only seen the movie (because I can't resist a Natalie Portman film), but lately I've been wondering whether or not I should read some of this author's books. I may start with this one.