Groundhog Day Revisited

I’m one of those people who never wants to see a movie until I’ve read the book first.  Such was the case when “One Day” hit theatres.  They had me at Jim Sturgess. My crush on Jims began with him singing in “Across the Universe” and is what fueled me in selecting this novel for my book club monthly pick. (No, I don’t mean because he was on the cover.) There were actually times I pictured him singing his sarcastic, cocky comments through Beatles lyrics (watch the movie), and even though that may not have been what Mr. David Nicholls intended, I personally felt it made the book better.  Usually I hate already knowing what the big screen version of the characters look and sound like because I like to let my mind wander as I’m reading and piece together eyes, mouths, and hair until  I’ve personified the hell out of the description and come up with my perfect cast.  But in this case, I didn’t mind.  I love both Anne Hatheway and, as I’ve already mentioned and no doubt will again, Jimbo, and thought the film’s casting director deserved a pat on the butt.  (Did I say butt? My apologies, still thinking about Jimmy. ) The movie stars selected fit my imagined version of their book counterparts to a ‘T’. “Twilight” Directors, take heed.

Since it was my choice, I really only have myself to blame for reading yet another chick lit book. Me and the Sturg. And it seems I’m in a bit of a chick lit funk. A chunk, if you will. I’ve always been a fan of this type of read but lately I’ve been craving more from the words on the page. I mean, I haven’t had to ask Josh what a word means in over 3 novels now. I’ve been wanting some drama besides the stereotypical “he loves me, he loves me not” drama. Then, all of a sudden, I’m hit with it.  Like a mack truck. Unexpected. Everything was finally working out for this couple, the novel was winding down, I was downloading an illegal copy of the movie with hopes of a nude scene, and this author went and delivered me a punch to the throat. I know it’s what I said I wanted, but what girl ever really wants what she says she does?! Come on!

The situations in this novel all take place on the same fateful day each year over a span of 20 years. They follow the repeated screw-ups of Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew a la a spin on “Groundhog Day”, but with a way hotter, British, Bill Murray.  They don’t repeat the same day over and over but the same failed relationships, careers, breathalyzers, and all the while (minus a few sketchy and frankly, less entertaining, years) they have each other to fall back on. Duh. Anyone can see where this is headed, right? Especially someone currently in a chunk. What takes us 20 pages to realize, takes them 20 years. But the anticipation is half the fun and the supporting cast of never-ending not-so-significant others weaves a tale that leaves us hungry to find out what happens in the next year/chapter.

When my fellow secret book club members and I met this month to discuss my amazing ability to select a novel (after our token hour of  workplace/family/friend gossip over cheese, chocolate and wine… no, you still can’t join) we also watched my illegally downloaded copy of the Hollywood movie. (PS. There is nudity! Full backal?… posterior?..you get to see his butt! Hallelujah!) Because it was unanimous that we all liked the book, we were relieved that the movie was so closely scripted from it. Scenes were delivered exactly how we pictured the conversations taking place and a huge kudos to them for aptly portraying the hairstyles, techy gadgets, and clothes through the different years, bringing up deeply harbored memories of our 80’s childhoods. It just all went by in a bit of a blur with 20+ years crammed into 107 minutes. If I hadn’t just finished the novel 36 hours before watching the movie I think I would have been a bit lost. But not as lost as the book club member currently on my shit list for not finishing the last 50 pages. Unfortunately I can’t single her out by name because that goes against the core rules of SBC. Know what’s another core rule? Reading the book.

Regardless, I recommend both.  But start with the book. The book’s always better. No offense, James, I still love you.

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