Monday, November 24, 2008

Secret Life of Bees

I read Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees last year while my wife and I were in England. I'd heard about it over the years, because Kidd's name was well known to me from when I managed a bookstore, but I'd never read it. (I'd enjoyed an earlier book, When the Heart Waits a lot, but found the following book, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter too feminist for my tastes at the time.)
Anyway, The Secret Life of Bees has hit the big screen now, and Dakota Fanning is the star. Fanning is one of those extraordinary child actors who seems to be able to take on any role and invest it with an intensity that's beyond the ordinary. She's been in movies (or TV) most of her life; in fact, they've been her life. How's she as down to earth as she seems is quite a miracle. She has the ability to be very ordinary, and yet continue to move us. She even managed to make the nasty movie, Hide and Seek, watchable.
I'm not sure that I'll go and see The Secret Life of Bees. Even though it wasn't one of my favourite books, it left memories behind that I don't particularly want overlaid by a movie version. This has happened a few times, with The Shipping News, The Horse Whisperer, and, worst of all, the TV version of Middlemarch, in which the main role was miscast - at least as far as my reading of the book was concerned. (The main role of the TV version of Bleak House was similarly miscast, but it's all a matter of perception - these actors weren't the way I'd imagined the characters, and they spoilt my imaginative version.)
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