Thursday, August 28, 2008

"The Same River Twice"

Many weeks ago I finished "The Same River Twice" by Alice Walker. It is her opportunity to reflect back upon the making of the movie version of her book "The Color Purple." Alice Walker is a favorite author of mine, with "The Color Purple" being my favorite or next to favorite book (right next to Walker's "Temple of My Familiar.")

I fall into the group of people who love both the book, and the movie but know they are both the same, and yet two different entities. Steven Speilberg did a good, but not great job of adopting "T.C.P" for the screen, but even in the face of all the mistakes he made, the truth of the story shone through.

Speilberg failed the book in many ways, but after reading Walker's own screenplay (which was never used), it is clear that even she was unable to capture the magic of the book, leaving out some major scenes and creating new ones that did not exist in her book.

One place of disappointment for me was realizing the wonderful "voice" Alice Walker gave to her characters was actually reflections of here own voice and at times she could be taken to almost cosmic-self-indulgent-babbling that makes her sound not in the best state of mental health...and yet, so many bits of wisdom and insight pop up.

For Walker, as for any fan on "TCP' these characters really are alive. She notes that Celie was indeed a lesbian, Shug a late-in-life bisexual who was freed from her fears after nearly facing death (page 140). She clearly states the redemptive qualities of Mr and Harpo. That Squeak's voice need not "be 'pretty' but sincere. This sincerity comes out of the life lived and the struggle endured. Period."

There is so much more to comment on, too much in fact. Sadly, I would not recommend this book to anyone except a die-hard fan.

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