This year, San Jose has concluded its 23rd Cinequest Film Festival. For the past 23 years, the festival has highlighted a distinguished artist from the film world through its Mavericks Spirit Award. This award has been presented to the likes of Directors, Actors, Writers and Screenwriters such as; Werner Herzog, John Waters, Kevin Spacey, Wes Craven, Ian McKellen, Edward James Olmos, J.J. Abrams, and Deepak Chopra. This year’s honored recipients were Harrison Ford and Chuck Palahniuk. Naturally - I decided this would be a good year for me to attend the film festival since I had not yet attended one, and wouldn’t miss an opportunity to hear one of my favorite authors, (Chuck Palahniuk), speak about a short film which was being premiered based on his short story, "Romance". Palahniuk would also be speaking about his influences behind his contemporary classics Fight Club, Lullaby, Choke, and various other great books he wrote - some of which have been adapted into hollywood films or are currently in production to become films.
Some avid readers scorn at the concept of movie adaptations of novels. I personally enjoy the perspective some films bring to a novel. However, not all hollywood interpretations amount to the same expectations or quality - Palahniuk made a good point in his response to the question the moderator presented on the amount of influence he himself has in the movies that are made from his novels. Palahniuk mentioned that the most direction he would have given in any film created from his novels, was only to have a few words with the screenwriter for edits he would have liked to added to his novels. He expressed a fascination in the change his fiction took within the hands of another artist. He used the analogy of his novels being his children in which he didn't want to hold hands with throughout all its endeavours, but rather let it take its own form with anyone else influenced by it. It was a humble opinion Mr. Palahniuk presented to the many fans in the theater that day. He also presented NEWS that 3 more of his novels had been signed for production deals. One of them, I am personally excited to hear coming to theaters soon - Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey.
For those who haven't seen or read Palahniuks breakthrough title, Fight Club - reading the synopsis for Rant, may make you think twice of considering delving into such a morbid book full of Palahniuk’s humor. However, if you enjoyed Fight Club, you will be equally satisfied to know more of Palahniuk’s chaotic imagination has made its way to hollywood. The other two novels he announced would be adapted into movies are; Lullaby and Haunted. These two other novels are sure to be a treat for the fans of suspense. Palahniuk also added that he is currently working on the sequel to his most recent novel Damned. The book is to be titled Doomed and will be released October, 2013. For those adjudicated readers - you should not be intimidated by merely one of Palahniuk’s novels, but instead keep an open mind to his unconventional plots. Yes, most of Palahniuk’s wit feeds from violent and/or grotesque forms. Nevertheless, his underline of human nature insights the reader into contemplating the bigger picture of such raw emotion. Accompanied by his stirring content, is Palahniuk’s unconventional writing style. Something he often changes up in each novel for the sake of aggregating the protagonist characteristics for the reader to apprehend. In his novel Pygmy, the plot of young spies sent to America as exchange students to execute a terrorist plan - Palahniuk adds a harsh accent to the protagonist throughout the entire narrative to emphasize the cultural contrast of the invaders. In Rant, Palahniuk switches to a biographical narrative from the testimonials of the friends and family of Buster Casey - a self-destructive individual who spawns a pandemic sickness that nearly wipes out half of the American population.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher explores the social effects of suicide. In the story, Hannah Baker, who had killed herself, reaches out to her friends and acquaintances through the mode of a tape recorder, where she speaks to them and explains why she did what she did. Her friends and acquaintances, devastated by the result, can not believe the things they hear and are guilt-stricken by her words. She takes them on a journey to death, both, literally and figuratively, as they wander through the destinations on her map which she planned for them to visit, all the while, hearing her gut wrenching tale of how she felt and what she saw. The story is at once touching and haunting, sure to absorb you.
My own reactions to the book at the outset were: "I do not want to read the book" because I already knew what it was all about, but once I started, I could not put it down. After I finished, I could not forget the characters and the story, for it reminded me of my own high school experience--the petty fights, the naivete of youth, the idealism, and the fears and hopes we had for the future. Thirteen Reasons Why is so beautifully written that it haunts you. Now, I know why so many people are talking about and requesting this book.
Smart and sassy Paris doesn't know what to do with Tanaeja, who picks on Paris's older brother, Michael, for no apparent reason. It wouldn't be a problem if Paris were older than Michael, but the problem is that Michael is three years older than she, in eighth grade. What would people think of Michael if his younger sister defended him? Her older brothers advise her to do nothing for fear that others would label Michael a "wussy" next year in high school, but can she watch her brother getting beat up from one day to the next? While Paris must find her own way out from her troubles, the reader will find her story amusing and entertaining. There is no end to her wisecracks and funny remarks. Vive La Paris by Esme Raji Codell is a must read for smart sassy girls. Also, this title qualifies as an award winner, having received a Sydney Taylor Honor Award, if you are looking for an award winning book for school.