Two of the books I’ve read to start the New Year have been adapted in the media. These are Emma Donoghue’s novel “Room” and “Bill O’Reilly’s Legends & Lies” written by David Fisher.
The first movie I saw this year was “Room,” the gripping drama starring Brie Larson and up and coming young actor Jacob Tremblay. After reading the book, I have to say the movie was as good as the book. The strong bond between Joy (Larson), who was kidnapped and held prisoner in a soundproof shed, and Jack (Tremblay), who was born two years later, is established early on, and it further plays out in their daring escape, and beyond. This made for some very poignant scenes in the movie. The book is equally effective as it was told from Jack’s point of view, and portrays a realistic perspective of a young child isolated from the outside world for the first five years of his life.
I equally enjoyed “Bill O’Reilly’s Legends & Lies,” as stories of the American West really excite me. I came upon this book from viewing its companion docuseries and decided to listen to the audiobook. The book profiles ten legends of the American West and also provides much in-depth context to these storied lives. Narrator Tom Wopat’s pacing and cadence seem to be spot-on and bring out the strong narrative structure of these stories, which make them engaging and accessible to readers.
Glaring similarities in the lives of these legendary characters can be seen in fictional characters, such as The Lone Ranger, which is thought to possibly be based on the African American lawman and sharpshooter, Bass Reeves. Interestingly, as described in this compilation, many of the action-packed events of the time came to inspire the stories depicted in “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” traveling show. The movie “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid,” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, analyzes what might have gone on in the minds of two fabled outlaws of the West that are brought to life by Wopat in this collection, too.