Back in university we were given a list of books to buy and read for our Writing For Young People module. It was a real mixed bag – from Where The Wild Things Are upwards in age range and variety.
One of these books was How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff. It was infuriating.
In fact, I have read a few of Rosoff’s books and they are all infuriating – but none so much as How I Live Now.
Yesterday the film version was released and I am torn between not wanting to touch it with a barge pole and bullying Caius into taking me to see it.
The book was very nearly almost brilliant. If you could overlook the incest and obvious, public underage driving going unnoticed and were capable of not wanting to throw things as you ploughed through a book WITH NO SPEECH MARKS in.
Not one. Until, that is, the weird last chapter where Daisy, the main character, suddenly regains the use of punctuation.
It is only a little thing but it is amazing what a difference it made. Important scenes lost their impact and you had to re-read pages over and over again to get it straight in your head.
Speech marks exist for a reason and this book is a great example of why.
Films don’t use speech marks though, so if they have handled the other issues well enough, it may just be a brilliant one. The story itself was fantastic, it was (mostly) just the presentation that let it down – so perhaps the movie adaptation will be better than the book. Not often something that happens in my opinion but this time I think it might just manage it.
Whether I go see it at the cinema or wait for it to be released on DVD however remains another matter. We shall see.