Friday, February 08, 2008

Dear Diablo Cody, your movie made me want to read your book

Dear Diablo,

Can I call you that? I feel like we have so much in common what with the fact that your name means Devil and anyone trying to reach me via the call back of my building needs to press 666. Also there’s that whole humor thing, you’ve got a great sense of one—wicked and erudite—and I like to laugh. Obviously we were meant to be the best of friends even if it might take me a while to get all of your jokes. In lieu of instantaneous friendship (as well as my own descent into stalkerdom) I thought it only fitting to post this open letter to you as you have the distinction of being the first writer whose movie has compelled to seek out their totally unrelated first book.

Wizard, I know.

While the saw-the-movie-must-read-the-book affect is not new, it relies on the subject of the movie to compel the reader to search out the book for more illumination. How many copies of the Constant Gardener did I sell before the movie came out? I lost count. The Da Vinci Code? Let’s not even go there. And while the increase in book sales often proceeds the movie, I’ve also read (and sold) many a book to see if the movie measured up or to explain some plot twist the movie glossed over. I’m sure many a reader is picking up Atonement for the first time after walking out of the theatre saying, “Wait a minute, that was an epic love story?”

Juno did not make me feel this way. No, Juno left me with a wide smile as I walked out of the theatre for the second time. It made me laugh, it make me cry, and it make me tell all my friends, but at no point did I think, “Wow, I wish there was an accompanying novel to explain X, Y, or Z.” Your name, however, gave me pause. Diablo Cody just sounded so familiar—like I’d seen it somewhere before.

And I had, on the shelves of my old bookstore, in the biography section because we really had no good place to put satirical essays. I even think that I mentioned your name once, long ago and way back in these archives, on bloggers turned writers. Now, I’ll admit the whole blogger turned published writer scenario is a sore spot with me because once upon a time it seemed every other book deal you read or book that came into my store was based on a blog. I became dismissive of the books in general, and Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper unfairly got lumped in. A coworker, whose roommate stripped for a living, loved your book (as did said roommate), but still I remained unconvinced.

With so much to read in the bookstore, I committed the cardinal sin—dismissing an entire category of books without giving them a chance so that I could focus elsewhere.

My loss.

Well, here it is, one year after the official closing of my store, and I’m going to go pick up a copy of Candy Girl from Powells. Juno showed me just how funny (yet poignant) you can be, and while I don’t expect to experience the same emotions from you book, I do expect it will contain the same sharp sense of humor found in your movie. If it does, I guarantee that I’ll be recommending your book just as I’ve recommended Juno to friends.

The newly converted are always the most fervent.

6 comments:

lady t said...

I know what you mean about the newly converted-I was never a big fan of Paul Thomas Anderson but after seeing There Will Be Blood this week,I'm a believer. That movie is flat out amazing-my sister and I have been quoting from it for days(not just the "milkshake" bit-my favorite line is "I AM THE THIRD REVELATION!").

I've been reading the book on which TWBB is loosely based,Oil! by Upton Sinclair,both before and after the movie,and it's just as compelling as the film was.

Diablo Cody has a semi-regular column in Entertainment Weekly,Linsey,-she's in the current issue on the back page(which rotates between Stephen King,Mark Harris and now her). I didn't see Juno but thanks to your enthusiasm,I'll give Candy Girl a whirl:)

John Harvey said...

Okay ladies I am convinced, I am off to see it. I will pop back and give you my two pennies worth! Regards John.

ORION said...

Okay. That's it. I'm going to see Juno this week...you're the third person who has raved about it.

Jessica Burkhart said...

I have yet to see Juno, but I definitely want to! :)

The Writers' Group said...

I haven't been to a theater to see a movie rated PG-13 or R for years, the most recent exception being Space Cowboys, and we were the only people in the theater under 60. Let's not go there, however. You have broken through my parental lethargy... I only hope it is not too late!

Hannah

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

wish i had a movie, maybe it would make u want to read some of my books