Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stephen King - The Green Mile

Welcome to Cold Mountain Penitentiary, home to the Depression-worn men of E Block. Convicted killers all, each awaits his turn to walk the Green Mile, keeping a date with "Old Sparky," Cold Mountain's electric chair. Prison guard Paul Edgecombe has seen his share of oddities in his years working the Mile. But he's never seen anyone like John Coffey, a man with the body of a giant and the mind of a child, condemned for a crime terrifying in its violence and shocking in its depravity. In this place of ultimate retribution, Edgecombe is about to discover the terrible, wondrous truth about Coffey, a truth that will challenge his most cherished beliefs...and yours.

Comment: When I decided to do the book challenge of this year and saw that June was the month to read a book made film or adapted or whatever I immediately thought about this one.
Why? Because in this particular case I did watch the movie before and it was stunning. I've watched it many years ago and still today I remember it, it was so great, touching, moving and poignant.
I decided I must try the book to see if, once again, filmmakers had gone to exaggeration and not fidelity.
And it actually is. So I have to say yes, the movie was a good adaptation of the book.
The facts: The book is divided in 5 sections, because at the time the author published them independently and only later they were all published together. In each section we have several chapters described from Paul's POV and the first chapter is always about Paul's current days and his memories of those times and the friends and the people that were part of his life in the year 1932, where the main action took place.
The scenes have a continuous development but the narrator - Paul - makes references and allusions to things that will happen or to feelings some things might evoke in the future like when they imagines something might happen and it did but we only see it when it does happen.
The story...well, I won't tell. I have to keep the mystery here because the story is so moving and emotional it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. There were times I actually felt like jumping into those pages and do something, specially to help avoid certain things that I felt were too much, too hard to bear, emotionally speaking.
If you can't read the book, fine. Just watch the movie because...I just don't know how anyone can't help but enjoy it, by being touched by it, death penalty opinions notwithstanding.
This is truly a beautiful story. The movie has images and strong acting to help us feel, but the book has the talent of a writer most known by his horror stories. In this case, it's simply magical what he accomplished. I just don't know how a writer can hold writing certain scenes and in Mr King's case even more so.
This is a story about believing in miracles, about helping others, about injustice and unfairness. It's about drama yes, but also beauty in the simple things. I hope someone might feel the will to try it in the future because it is, indeed, beautiful.


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