Book vs Movie, the only argument I’m willing to have these days, so I’ll jump in and give my two cents worth. In this instance, the contestants are many. The original 1978 book vs the Complete and Uncut 1990 version and/or the ’94 movie vs the ’20 movie.
When I closed the book, my first thought was, “Holy…wow…that was a long book!” Even though I’m a big fan of Stephen King, I don’t think it needed to be THAT long. There were plenty of drawn-out scenes that were awesome but didn’t move the story forward or add to character development. But I get it. If you loved the original, more is always better!
The Stand was originally published in 1978. In the introduction, King writes to the reader to warn them that there isn’t much of a change from the original, just about 400 pages that were taken out of his original manuscript at the request of the publisher because that many pages makes the book more expensive to print and therefore more costly at the retailer. They know people will only pay so much for entertainment, one of those economic principles I’m sure my son knows all the college words for.
In fact, the introduction was my favorite part of the book. I can’t help it, I enjoy King’s voice most when he writes directly to the reader. It’s why I cared so much for his memoir On Writing. Oh my…I just spent ten minutes looking up the post that I wrote about that book (because I LOVED IT so much) only to find that I never did. I read it in November of 2018, back before I regularly wrote about the books that I was devouring. Makes me think that maybe I should go back to my favorites and say a few words “in memoria,” starting with this one.
Anywho, back to The Stand!
Opening up The Stand was the beginning of a month-long relationship for me. Like I’ve said before, I’m not a fast reader, and this book went by at my average, around 30 pages an hour. But book vs movie? I’m sad to say…you’re going to kill me…I think watching the new movie on Paramount+ was enough for me, even if I didn’t like Whoopie Goldberg’s portrayal of Mother Abigail. It wasn’t a waste of time though. I did learn a few things, it was interesting, and I did enjoy my time in the story.
Sure, scenes were moved around and combined in the new movie. Some characters were switched. But the feeling was all there, the motives. I liked the new movie because of the diverse characters and women had more aggressive and independent motives of their own than the book seemed to portray.
One thing that really did make me crazy (and this is my inner feminist coming out), I cringed every time someone was referred to “my woman,” “his woman,” or “her man.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve said the same thing about my husband in jest. “My man always takes care of me!” But this use and the frequency of it felt different and it pulled me out of the story every time I read the words. Pet peeve, I suppose.
Come to think of it, one could write a whole article about the differences in the portrayal of female characters in book, the 90’s version of the movie, and the ’20 version. Someone else do that, please, but not in a nasty man-hating way. It’s just interesting how things have changed and why.
I was relieved at finally finishing this book. It’s a big fatty and I’m tired of looking at it!
If you’d like to use the Wayback Machine and see what my first thoughts going into this epic, click over to The Stand by Stephen King: A New Read, a whole freakin’ MONTH ago!