When A Movie About A Book You Haven't Read Is Announced

Josh Boone announced that his next project will be an adaptation of the Stephen King novel Lisey's Story.

Boone shared this sweet story at thehollywoodnews.com:
“I wasn’t allowed to read Stephen King.  I had to rip the covers off of Christian books and glue them to Stephen King books, so that I could read them.  I remember reading The Stand under my bed when I was 12, and I hid the book in the box springs under my bed, and my mom found it and burned it in the fireplace.  I wrote him a letter when I was 12, just to tell him how much I loved his books and how much I wanted to be a writer when I grew up and that he was my idol.  I sent him a couple books, hoping that he’d sign them.  I came home from school one day and my dad said, “There’s a box here from Stephen King.”  He had written me this beautiful letter in the front covers of each of the books.  My parents were just so moved by the generosity, that he was willing to take the time to do that, that they lifted the Stephen King ban." 

I smile a bit when I hear parents who don't let their kids read Stephen King.  First, because as a parent, I understand!  But, what hooked me on reading was -- Stephen King.  In fact, I'm a little saddened that none of my kids have gotten very into the King books I've offered up (The Body, Eyes  of the Dragon and The Mist.)  But, Stephen King is my thing, so my kids chase after Twilight and Hunger Games.

The news that Lisey's Story will be adapted to the big screen leaves me reflecting on the fact that this is a big King novel that I just haven't read!  Why?  I dunno.  I tried, more than once.  I have the CD's, and the hardback first edition.  But, it just hasn't grabbed me yet.  Part of me is excited, because previously seeing a book adapted well has sent me right to the source.  In High School, I saw the mini-series IT before I read the book.  I also saw Christine, Cujo, The Shining, Pet Sematary, Thinner, The Dark Half, The Tommyknockers, The Green Mile and The Dead Zone before reading the books.  I think even the weak adaptations have the advantage of helping me know and follow the literary path ahead.  In other words -- I'm really happy this is coming to screen.  It might help me fall in love with a novel I want to love, but just haven't found the beauty yet.

On the other hand, I'm glad I read Needful Things and Dolores Claiborne before seeing them on screen.  With Claiborne, I was draw into every page, not knowing what would happen next.  The suspense was awesome!  The same is true of The Stand, which is the first King book I read.  I stayed up many a summer night in 1990 reading anxiously as the men traveled toward Vegas.

Tell me, how does seeing a movie before you read the book affect you?  And have you read  Lisey's Story?  What did you think? 


  1. "In High School, I saw the mini-series IT before I read the book."

    Believe it or not, that's exactly how I got hooked on King (along with the Shining mini-series), and it turns out I'm not the only one.

    One of my friends in high school says he saw It when he was like all of twelve back in the early 90s; he said he was afraid to go near bath and shower drains for a week after. Never underestimate the power of a good story, even if it's not the book.

    As for movies being made out of books I haven't read yet, my only experience has been when Jonathan Demme tried to direct 11/22/63.

    My overall experience of that was all positive as when I saw the first web promos for 63 I just had the fan boy knowledge that it would be a hit. It was just by pure inspiration that I sort of was vindicated.

    I started in on Lisey...and, erm, to be fair, the reason I put it down was from not any one thing in the book, I just wondered if....maybe King had written a chick-flick book....Sorry.

    I do plan to go back to it though.


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  3. Lisey's Story is actually one of my favorite King novels, but from what I have read it's very polarizing. There's something different about it that not all King fans will like, but I can't really pinpoint what. Reviews of it tout it as a 500 page love letter to his wife (which I read somewhere didn't want him to publish it? I can't find the source, sorry), and while I can see where people were drawing those parallels, I think it's like most literary analysis, interesting, but probably not what was in the mind of the author when it was written. It's still a thriller at the end of the day and legitimately scary in many places, at least in my opinion. Also, while it's not the only book he's ever written from a woman's point of view, I thought that Lisey was the most successful, believable, and admirable woman he's written.

    As a film, I'm not sure that it will make it without some changes, but I suppose that goes for most books. I do suspect that as a film it will not have a great deal of fidelity to the book. Too much of the story is told from Lisey's POV. The movie will have to pull back and might give a flatness to the story. That said, I can imagine the film adaptation will be something like Secret Window which I kind of liked, so who knows.

    I'm a little excited/a little nervous about this adaptation. My advice in this scenario is to read it first if you're going to consume it at all because I don't foresee a movie of it turning you onto the book. I've certainly had that experience, but I have some doubts that this will be one of them.

  4. I'm not excited by this prospect. I loathed Lisey's Story and think it is King's worst novel. I'll check it out when it comes out on DVD.

    I saw all of King's earlier works long before I read them. I didn't pick up a King book until 1985 (I was 19 years old) when I read Pet Sematary. Everything after that, I read the book before I saw the movie.

  5. The only other case of an adaptation of a book I read beforehand is Ray Bradbury's adapt of his Halloween Tree for Hanna and Barbara.

    In terms of how book and cartoon hold up, well, it's really Bradbury trying to tell the same story in both mediums, and both book and cartoon contain elements that compliment each version.

    I kind have would have liked to see certain elements from both book and cartoon go together into a third version, hopefully a more complete one.