The biggest book surprise of the year for me (so far) has been THE BOURNE IDENTITY by Robert Ludlum. I've wanted to read this book since the movie came out YEARS ago (more than a decade!). I knew that the movie deviated from the book quite a bit, but it was one of my favorite films back in the day. I think I saw all of those movies in the theater, too. If not the first one, I definitely saw the other two.
But I didn't know what to expect, especially from a book published in 1980. The technology that they could use in the movie made sense for when the movie came out, but I had no idea how a similar story could take place in a world without cell phones. This isn't a book review, though, so I'm not going to really analyze everything for you.
What I AM going to do is say that the book was awesome! The writing drew me in, the narrative kept me going, and I got such a strong attachment to the characters that, while I loved the movie, I feel a deeper connection to the Jason Bourne of the book than I do from the movie.
I enjoy movies that good adaptations of a book. And I'm glad I saw the movie first because all of the changes may have driven me bonkers if I read the book first. As it stands, though, I can enjoy each for what they are. And even though the book was written in the late '70s and published thirty-five years ago, the writing feels modern (though the setting is obviously dated). It's paced well, descriptions aren't overly burdensome, and the characters are developed like real people.
I was surprised because I honestly expected a weighty spy novel written by a CIA enthusiast, weighed down with trivia that's interesting to other spy fans but not really to everyone who wants just awesome story and action. It didn't have that. No tedious inside-knowledge or history of the NSA, CIA, and FBI with long, droning paragraphs that talk about rivalries that have nothing to do with the plot itself.
Do I recommend this book? Absolutely! THE BOURNE IDENTITY is a great read (actually, I listened to the audiobook, but I couldn't stop, even when I was at the gym). Now I'm on to the second book, and all I can think about is how much I want to see the characters DO THEIR THING!
And, as if this were planned somewhere in advance (which I swear it wasn't), the book is a great illustration of dynamic heroes and villains, so it ties into this week's episode of the podcast! Love it when things work out like that.