Book to screenplay – “Slight Trick of the Mind” and “The Enigma”

Hello again.  I did not get to the vlog yesterday, I was simply too exhausted after a very poor night sleep and attending a three hour Baker Street irregular scion society event. It was fun but ughhh. That vlog is coming soon. I decided I’d write some reviews this morning.

Do you read the books prior to seeing the movie???

I’m one of those people that reads the book prior to the movie these days. This is perhaps not always a good idea.

I finished Lord of the Rings prior to the second Peter Jackson movie release. I MAY have enjoyed seeing elves at Helms Deep if I didn’t know THERE WERE NO ELVES AT HELMS DEEP.

It just wasn’t meant to happen to poor Haldir. *sniff*

I am interested in seeing  “Mr. Holmes”staring Ian McKellen,  an adaptation of the book “Slight Trick of the Mind,” by Mitch Cullin.  On the list of must see is “The Imitation Game” staring Benedict Cumberbatch, a movie based on the book “The Engima” by Andrew Hodges.

And so, bad elven memories aside, I read them.

A SLIGHT TRICK OF THE MIND by Mitch Cullin

trick

“A Slight Trick of the Mind” is set in post WW2 Britain (and Japan) finding Holmes retired and bee keeping on Sussex Downs. While there is a main timeline to the story, the chapters jump around from one reminiscence to another and then back to Holmes’ present. Sherlock is losing his memory, and the confusion he experiences may well be experienced somewhat by the reader due to the layout of chapters.

Many previous reviews point out that this isn’t a typical Sherlock Holmes mystery and that those wanting one should look elsewhere. This is true. I was hoping, really hoping, for a good, interesting mystery, that isn’t there. However, I found myself not really minding.

WHY?

The book was rich in details and Holmes was spot on character wise. I could picture the characters in their settings and didn’t find anything objectionable about the portrayal of Sherlock. While not at all what I was expecting, I read the book cover to cover in a day, getting very emotional at times as the book’s themes were familiar to me.

Holmes’ loss of memory is not the only focus. Through the aged Sherlock, the author explores fear, abandonment, suicide, and death. Loss is a mystery we all experience, that not even Holmes can solve. If that isn’t something you want to spend time thinking about, skip it.

As far as the movie, I will see it. I am still hoping they write a little bit more of a mystery in it.

ALAN TURING, THE ENIGMA -by Andrew Hodges

turing

(mine is an older copy with a different cover)

I got through “The Enigma” only recently.

When I say I “got through” I mean it. Being 540 pages of very small print, it was conquered over weeks. Most certainly, it was not a quiet Sunday afternoon’s read like “Slight Trick of the Mind.”

It was worth it.

Alan Turing was a fascinating person with a very rich story which Hodge’s provides in the form of anecdotes from family and colleagues, letters written by Turing, and very fine detail of the time and society in which Alan lived.

Alan’s childhood, in particular tugged at my heart strings, being familiar enough to my own experiences, and traits I see in my eldest son, I felt it easy to put myself in his shoes.

(Alan Turing was not, that we will ever know, autistic. It is important to NOT jump to that conclusion. Yet he was, most certainly, different.)

I found it parts amusing, and parts heart wrenching. I found myself angry that we didn’t learn about this man in school.

My only criticism of the book is that often times the book departs away from Alan’s story into long tangents about the development of math theories, and highly technical descriptions concerning cryptology (cryptography and cryptoanalysis as well). As a person born the 1970’s, I appreciated the historical explanation of the significance of the cryptology and the attention to the intricacy of Mr. Turing’s projects. YET, I often felt lost, uninterested or confused while reading the long discussions of different theories. I think much of the book was written for people with backgrounds in maths and cryptology, not the average reader.

I hear that the movie has been criticized for not enough explanation or being simplistic but frankly, I understand the desire to not bore or hopelessly confuse the audience. The important part is Mr. Turing as a person, which I hope they get right. If early reviews mean anything, it seems they have.

I would recommend this book to someone wanting to know more about Alan Turing, while also recommending skipping the technical parts if need be.

Do you like reading books that movies are adapted from?  Any favorites? Are there any movies based on books that disappoint you? Do you know a movie that is BETTER than the book?

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