Reading the Screen: Novelizations
Posted by: David Pitt
Morning Glory, the new movie starring Rachel McAdams as a television producer, is getting solid reviews. There is, rather predictably, a tie-in novelization, but here’s the surprise: it’s a good book.
“Novelization” is a sort of literary dirty word, used to describe books written from screenplays. As a general rule they’re badly written, with paper-thin characters and descriptive passages that are barely more elaborate than a script’s stage directions.
Diana Peterfreund’s Morning Glory, on the other hand, is a good read. Not just a good novelization, mind you, but a well written and engaging story in its own right — a novelization too good to be called a novelization.
Morning Glory, if you haven’t already heard, also stars Harrison Ford, which is awfully convenient, since I want to talk about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), an excellent adaptation of the movie of the same name. James Rollins, who’s written a string of best-selling novels, takes the raw material — the screenplay — and fashions it into an exciting, fast paced, and altogether thrilling adventure.
There are other noteworthy novelizations, and I want to talk about them later. But first, I want your suggestions for novelizations worth recommending (or, if you like, staying far, far away from). What do you think?