I finally finished the book last week and saw the movie over the weekend. I wasn’t sure what to expect. A lot of comments I’d heard and reviews I’d read were fairly harsh.
I thought it was excellent. Director Angelina Jolie took a complex and sprawling story and put it on screen to run just a bit over two hours.
A few details were changed or glossed over, but the essence of the story was true to itself
Louis Zamperini was an incorrigible delinquent in Torrance, California until he discovered running. He was a star runner for Torrance High and went to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He planned to return to the Olympics in Tokyo in 1942. He did go to Japan, but as a Prisoner of War, after floating on a life raft for 47 days across the Pacific.
Some of the book’s details were compressed. The only real change I caught was toward the end when, in the movie, Zamperini and his fellow POWs were enslaved by their Japanese captors and forced to work in the coal mines. In the book, Zamperini did have to work, but not in the coal mines. Only enlisted men were forced to the mines. Officers (Zamperini was a captain) had other work.
I understand why the screenwriter, director, and producer changed it. The image of so many skeletal men trudging up and down walkways with baskets of coal while coated in black dust was striking on screen. It was a small detail and I don’t have a problem with it. The beatings Zamperini endured were mostly off-screen but no less horrible in the imagination. There were some kind Japanese guards and they weren’t shown. Altogether, I think the small changes were understandable and forgivable.
Many book to movie adaptions lose something in the transition. The two art forms are so different.
Before we saw the movie, we watched a profile Tom Brokaw did of Louis Zamperini and the movie and Angelina Jolie. Her passion for this project was evident as was Zamperini’s regard for her. His determination and perseverance inspired her to do his story proud. I believe she did.
I finished UNBROKEN and loved it, of course. It’s on the keeper shelf now.
The next book I’m still in the middle of is Ballroom! Obsession and Passion in the World of Competitive Dance by Sharon Savoy. I checked it out of the library as research for the next book I’m working on. Somehow, in the midst of the holidays and life, I didn’t get to it and I forgot to renew it. So I have to read it in the next day or two and go pay my fine. I’ve started it and it’s full of little insider tips that I will put to good use.
Then it’s on to my Christmas books. SMALL VICTORIES, the newest by Anne Lamott. I love her. I’m sure this will show up here with a review very soon.
Jan Karon returned to Mitford with SOMEWHERE SAFE WITH SOMEBODY GOOD. I’m eager to see what’s new with Father Timothy and Cynthia and Dooley and Lace. Especially since so many of the memorable residents of Mitford have passed on.
On my Kindle: I read portions of at least three books on my reader every day. Two devotionals: BREAKING FREE DAY BY DAY by Beth Moore and MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST, the classic by Oswald Chambers. And of course, my daily chronological Bible readings. Then I always have another book there I’m working on. On my Kindle right now is MOCHA SUNRISE by my friend Julie Carobini. This one is part of her Chocolate Series, after CHOCOLATE BEACH and TRUFFLES BY THE SEA.
As usual, my TRB pile is a whole bookcase and it’s threatening to teeter over. The next few weeks will be work and reading. My favorites!
I bought this book for Stud Muffin for Christmas a couple of years ago. He loved it and couldn’t put it down.
I put it on my TBR pile and then ignored it. I knew it would be one of those books that lives in the mind long after you turn the final page, but I needed a little space in my own brain just then.
When the movie adaptation was announced, I knew I had to read it.
I started it last spring. Then I set it aside.
It was too intense. I knew the story (a WWII soldier crashes, drifts in a life raft for 47 days, then is taken prisoner by the Japanese). I also knew once I got to the part of the story where he crashes, I wouldn’t be able to put down the book. So I set it down before I got to that part.
I’m back into it now though, so I can see the movie next week. I’m not quite finished with it, but I’m far enough that I’m past the most harrowing stories of brutality. Japan has just surrendered and the POWs are being rescued.
it’s an incredible story movingly told. Laura Hillenbrand is arguably the queen of creative non-fiction. She wrote the bestseller SEABISCUIT and UNBROKEN is her follow-up book. Louis Zamperini, the unbreakable subject, passed away last summer. What a blessing that he got to talk to Hillenbrand and was still alive to see the impact his story has had.
Even when I’m finished, this one will go on the keeper shelf.
I’m in the middle of Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, the author of Seabiscuit.
Unbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini, a World War II veteran who survived in spite of seemingly insurmountable odds.
Unbroken, like Seabiscuit before it, is being made into a movie. I’m so looking forward to this one.
I bought the book for Stud Muffin for Christmas a couple of years ago and he loved it. He said I had to read it. I am. It’s gripping and amazing and will make a visually stunning movie. I’m sure of it.