This week's dreary weather of rain and more rain is a perfect excuse to head to the local movie theaters. But be sure to stop by the South Brunswick Library along the way because many of this summer's movie releases (and some due out this fall) are based on some excellent novels. Afterwards, take a moment to comment on our blog and let us know which is better, the book or the movie?!
Two books I recently read when I heard the movies were going to be released was Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I decided to pick up de Rosnay's novel based on a friend's recommendation and now I'm spreading the word. It is a powerful, heart-wrenching story of the Jewish persecution in 1942 when the French police rounded up thousands of Jewish families and forced them to stay in the Velodrome d'Hiver under horrific conditions. There, men, women and children were separated from each other and sent to camps in France before being sent to Auschwitz and put to death.
De Rosnay's story jumps between two time periods--1942 and the present--in order to tell the the story of Sarah Strazynski, a 10-year-old who is rounded up to go to the Velodrome along with her mother and father and a journalist who is assigned to cover the anniversary of the "Round Up" many years later. When Sarah is taken away, she has no idea that anything bad is going to happen, particularly since it was their own French police who came for them. Not clearly understanding what her fate is likely going to be, she locks her brother in a secret cupboard to keep him safe, promising the four-year-old she would be back to save him. When she discovers what is actually happening, she know she needs to survive and somehow get back to Paris before it's too late.
Jump to present day France and the reader is introduced to Julia Jarmond, an American living in Paris and married to a Frenchman. She is assigned to write about the Vel d'Hiv for its upcoming anniversary and must admit she knows barely anything about this terrible time in French history. As she continues her research, she discovers that there is a connection between Sarah and her husband's family and Julia becomes all consumed in finding about what happened to this young girl? Could she actually have survived and if so, is she alive? What did her husband's relatives know about the Vel d'Hiv and young Sarah. While those around her caution her not to dig too much for the truth might be more than she can handle, Julia cannot let it go.
As a reader, I found this story so absorbing that I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it and look forward to seeing if the movie can compare to the book.
Way before news hit that they were making the book The Help into a movie, this title was hard to find in the library. The copies were flying off the shelf for months and months after its release. So this summer I finally got a copy and it was worth the wait. I recently read an article by Kathryn Stockett and she revealed this manuscript was rejected by sixty publishers before she got a yes! She was so devoted to getting this story told that despite the rejections, she kept editing and tweaking the manuscript until publisher number 61 accepted the book. Talk about coming full circle with the movie out with a stellar cast and now the book is hard to find on our library shelves again. This novel is about maids working in Jackson, Mississippi, during the 1960's for a group of white, wealthy women. They are treated so badly that the group of maids agree to secretly tell their story, despite the risk to themselves and their families. I found myself rushing through the end of this book to find out what happens to these characters, afraid of the consequences they may face for revealing how they are treated. I'm certainly glad the author was persistent enough not to give up on this manuscript!
A third movie due out in September with Sarah Jessica Parker is based on the novel by Allison Pearson, I Don't Know How She Does It. It's been a long time since I've read this book but I remember thoroughly enjoying it--a must read for every working mom! Kate Reddy juggles the life of mom and executive while trying not to fall apart doing it all. Funny and touching. (The movie trailer looks good too!)