The Other Boleyn Girl: Movie vs. Book

The Other Boleyn Girl Trailer:After both reading and viewing The Other Boleyn Girl, I’ve definitely noticed many differences between the two.  Obviously, there are multiple details in a novel that can’t be transferred to a movie due to time limitations.  Often the most difficult part of making a movie based on a book is trying to relay the main points of the original story while keeping the whole thing moving along at a good speed.  With that in mind, I typically try to base my feelings on a movie in the same vein, accepting that not everything in the book can be covered in the movie.  Unfortunately, even with keeping these things in mind, the movie version of The Other Boleyn Girl failed to meet my expectations.

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Initially, we have to consider the title.  True to its word,  the novel version of The Other Boleyn Girl focuses on Mary Boleyn.  Although Anne is certainly more sensational and remembered by history, it was refreshing to read about Mary, who was definitely more altruistic and a relatable character.  Obviously next to Anne almost anyone would look extremely moral considering what Anne did to hold on to her position as Queen, but I truly believed that Mary was a good person who had a good heart and wanted a better life for herself outside of court.  Yes, it is easier to follow the story of Anne as it is more astounding, but I really enjoyed Philippa Gregory’s use of Mary’s point of view to tell the story.  The movie, however, skipped this almost entirely.  Mary’s history with King Henry is glossed over in favor of Anne’s tirades with the King, and we’re left to view Mary wistfully looking after Anne as she flirts with the King while she “lies in” as she prepares to give birth to her child.  To me, when the movie focused on Anne it missed the point of Gregory’s motives behind the book.  She aimed to highlight Mary, and the movie just pushes her aside in light of her sister.

Another huge point that was missed by the movie was Mary’s flirtation and subsequent marriage to William Stafford.  After all the disappointment in Mary’s life, I was glad to see that Stafford brought happiness and escape to Mary’s life.  He was exactly what she was looking for, although he was of a lower class than she.  The movie largely glossed over this relationship, and it really made me wonder about how the movie was constructed.  To me, their relationship seemed to be an essential part of the story, allowing Mary to escape from her confines in court and be truly happy.  To ignore this part of the story would be ignoring a foundation of the story.

Therefore, considering these major points, I feel that there were differences between the movie and the book that were unfortunately too large to reconcile.  The fact that Mary’s life was largely ignored in the movie was quite disappointing, especially considering how interesting of a character Mary was.  I was disappointed, as I found myself really invested in Mary’s story.  Despite this, I encourage you to definitely try the book out!  It’s great historical fiction and a great story.  You can read my review of it here!

3 out of 5 Stars

The Other Boleyn Girl
Focus Features (2008)
PG-13, 115 Minutes

My Top 10….Literary Couples (Part I)

Happy Valentines Day!! I thought it would be interesting if I sat myself down and forced myself to think about my favorite literary couples.  So, without further adieu here is part one of my list! 

(Please be warned, there could be some spoilers in my blurbs on each couple)

10.) Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman (From the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris)

                For those of you who have read the series, you know that Sookie and Eric have had a very tumultuous relationship over the 10 books that have so far been published.  Sookie is a telepath who is thrust into the world of the supernatural when she begins dating a vampire named Bill Compton.  (The books take place in a world where vampires have come out into the open to admit their existence) Sookie and Bill break up once his true reasons for being with her are revealed.  Eric, another vampire, is over 1,000 years old and un-phased by humans.  Until meeting Sookie he thinks that humans are useless for anything beyond feeding from.   In the fourth book, Dead to the World, Sookie and Eric finally get together, much to the pleasure of Sookie readers everywhere.  Eric is normally cocky, cool, and all about himself, but his love for Sookie changes him in small ways here and there.  He is constantly trying to take care of her and protect her from the evils of the supernatural world.  He tries to hide from Sookie how deep his feelings are for her because he knows she is still wounded from her relationship with Bill.  When they are together and free from the supernatural drama there is a sweetness to their relationship that is wonderful to read.  Their relationship has its ups and downs, just as real ones do, and it’s this honesty and realness that I like so much. 

9.) Beauty and the Beast (From the fairytale)

                Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite Disney movies as a child and subsequently it’s my favorite fairytale.  The fairytale is fairly different from the movie version, but the idea of Belle falling in love with the beast is still existent.  The idea that love can transcend the physical appearances of people is what draws me to Belle and the Beast.  I feel that so many people focus on the physical appearances of their partners rather than what’s on the inside.  Beauty and the Beast pushes a message that I personally wish more people would try out in their own lives.

8.) Odysseus and Penelope (From The Odyssey by Homer)

                The Trojan War is at an end and Odysseus begins his long journey back to Ithaca to his wife Penelope and their son Telemachus.  Odysseus has been gone for ten years, and in that ten-year span Penelope and Telemachus have kept a large group of suitors at bay.  Odysseus’ journey is filled with many obstacles, each one threatening to end his quest to return home.  He must deal with a Cyclops, the Sirens, and countless other obstacles.  His love for his family, his kingdom, and his people all keep his spirits up.  He knows that the relationship he has with his wife is strong enough to withstand anything.  The strength and courage they have in their marriage is admirable.  I had to have them on this list because of how much faith they have in each other and their relationship. 

7.) Noah Calhoun and Allie Nelson (From The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks)

                The Notebook is a romantic novel that chronicles Noah and Allie’s love story told through the pages of a notebook.  Stricken with dementia Allie doesn’t remember anything about her life.  Noah fills the pages of a notebook and reads it to her on a daily basis, hoping that it will bring her back to him.  He tells her about Noah, a poor southern boy, and Allie, a rich socialite, who meet one summer while in their late teens and have an unforgettable summer romance.  Circumstances arise tearing them apart from each other, but it doesn’t last.  They make their way back to each other eventually and get married.  Their relationship is indicative that even in the face of tragedy love can overcome it all.

6.)  Mary Boleyn and William Stafford (From The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory)

                Everyone knows who Anne Boleyn is, but few know of her younger sister Mary.  Before Anne was with King Henry VIII, Mary was.  It is said that Mary had two children by the king before he began courting Anne.  When Henry was done with Mary she began spending as much time as possible with her children at the family home in the country.  Mary is chaperoned out to the country by a group of her uncle’s men.  Leading these men was William Stafford.  Stafford begins interacting with Mary and her children on each trip out to the country.  Mary becomes interested in him and when she’s at court begins to secretly seek out his company.  William, knowing that Mary is too high for him socially, leaves court to begin making a life for himself as a farmer.  After a short separation Mary realizes that she has found true love in William Stafford.  Leaving court suddenly she rushes to William’s farm to tell him that she will leave everything of her former life behind if he will have her.  I absolutely love Mary and William.  Mary is willing to leave her wealth, family, social status, and position completely behind for a man who literally has nothing but a piece of land with which to grow a farm on.  If that’s not love what is?!? (For Todd’s review of The Other Boleyn Girl click here)

So there you have it folks! The first half of my top ten literary couples!  Do you agree with the first half of my choices?? Who are some of your favorite literary couples?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Check back in tomorrow for the top 5!  I hope you all have a fantastic Valentine’s Day filled with love!

Todd’s Review of The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

I’ll admit it: when I first set out to read this book I was skeptical.  I looked at the cover, depicting Mary Boleyn looking aside, dressed in full regency regalia, and thought that this was definitely not a book for me.  All I could imagine was a bad romance novel, written in the Tudor era, full of wistful love scenes and a sappy storyline.  Believe me, it was none of these things.  Adventurous, exciting, and full of backstabbing drama, this book depicted the Boleyn family as I’ve never seen them before.  The lengths to which Anne goes to secure her position as Queen of England are at times horrifying, as her sister Mary can do nothing but sit by and become enveloped in the drama as it unfolds.

Gregory begins the novel with depicting Mary’s life in Henry VIII’s court.  She intricately depicts the facade that all the players of the court undergo to ultimately please the King.  Her family’s absolute devotion to their advancement in court is almost horrifying as they become more and more ruthless in their quest to win the King’s favor.  Mary becomes the King’s mistress, as she attempts to strike a balance between pleasing him and remaining loyal to Queen Katherine, who is well aware of the King’s antics.  Above all, Mary wishes for a life outside of court, as she tires of the incessant game that they play.  She has lived the majority of her life at court, and pines to return to Hever, where her son and daughter by Henry reside.

The novel continues with Anne’s assention to power, as she supplants Mary as the King’s favorite and begins to develop an ego that grows just as large as Henry’s appetite for women and food.  As she continues on her quest to become Queen, Anne becomes more ruthless, stopping at nothing to ensure that she remains in Henry’s favor.  The pace of the novel quickens, and although Mary remains the main character, Anne becomes a central focus.  Her insensitivity to everyone around her grows until she becomes downright terrifying, battling back rumors of infidelity that rock the entire court.

Despite knowing the ultimate fate of Anne, it was still incredibly interesting to read Gregory’s take on her life and that of her sister.  I found Mary to be an interesting and strong character, who grew into an independent woman who took her life into her own hands.  The ways in which she brazenly disobeyed her family to ensure her own happiness in life were really awesome, and I actually found myself rooting for her as she tried to escape the clutches of the court.  It continued to amaze me how Anne and Mary’s parents and uncle basically used them as bargaining chips in their bid for the throne.

Although the novel is a bit long at 672 pages, her attention to detail is what held my attention through the beginning and middle of the book.  She intricately describes the politics and rules of court life, and weaves quite a bit of history into the story, expanding on the constant desire of England to conquer France and Spain and Henry’s ever-expanding breadth of power within his own country.  One thing that did get to me was the length of time it took for the book to reach the climactic end.  Knowing a bit about English history I knew what Anne’s fate was, yet it took quite a lot of escalation of the plot to finally reach that point.  How it was executed (no pun intended) was really very cool.  The way in which we see the plot unfold through Mary’s eyes was a clever twist and something I didn’t see coming.  All in all Gregory definitely kept me entertained through and through.

All in all, although I did judge this book by its cover, I’m glad I read though it.  It gave me a new perspective on the Tudor era, and opened me to the world of historical fiction!

4 out of 5 Stars

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Simon and Schuster Adult Publishing Group (2002)
Paperback 672 pages
ISBN: 9780743227445
Check out Philippa’s Website Here
To Find More Books By Philippa Gregory Click Here
To Follow Philippa on Twitter Go Here

My Favorite Ten Books of the Year (Part II)

Here is the second half of my favorite books for the year! (Part I here)

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6.) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – Todd and I were bored one night and decided to see what movies/mini-series’ we could watch on instant Netflix.  We watched a BBC version of Gaskell’s North and South and I was enthralled by it!  North and South is the story of John Thornton and Margaret Hale, and the goings-on of the working class people of the small urban city they live in.  Thornton, a mill owner, is trying to keep his mill running amidst strike and union talks.  Margaret Hale, the daughter of a curate in the South of England, is forced to move to Thornton’s home town when her father decides to leave his job as a country curate and become a tutor. Thornton becomes a fixture in Margaret’s daily life, as her father becomes his intellectual tutor.  The two are filled with misconceived notions about the other due to their upbringing and constantly argue and throw slurs at each other.  Somehow through it all they come to realize their true feelings for each other and fall in love.  I have often heard Gaskell compared to Jane Austen; while they do share some similarities, it’s their differences that I find interesting.  Austen satirized the life of the upper-class while Gaskell wrote about the plights of the middle and lower classes.  I truly loved this book because of the realism that engulfed it.  Gaskell was a truly superb writer and I cannot recommend this book enough!!

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7.) A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs – I was already a huge fan of Augusten by the time this book was published, making this book a must buy for me.  I finally got around to reading it recently and was blown away by it.  Augusten writes memoirs that just grip you.  His life is truly fascinating and with the way he writes, you can’t help but become engrossed in his story.  A Wolf at the Table focuses on his early life living with his mother, father, and sometimes present older brother.  (His older brother is John Elder Robison, author Look Me In The Eye)  His early days were strife with an alcoholic father, one who tried to murder him, possibly on more than one occasion.  This memoir is filled with deeply sad and troubling situations, situations I’m sure have scarred Augusten in his later years.  While this memoir is darker than his other ones, it’s one of his best.  It’s a no holds barred account of a childhood most people would wish to forget. For my full review click here.

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8.) Darcy’s Voyage by Kara Louise – So yet another Pride and Prejudice sequel makes my top ten list.  Shocking. HA.  Anyway, this was one of the most original retellings that I’ve had the pleasure of reading.  Darcy and Elizabeth are thrust into each other company aboard Pemberley’s Promise, a ship headed towards America. Elizabeth is off to see her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner and Darcy is picking up Georgiana.  Elizabeth gets sick aboard ship and is struggling to get better below decks with all the other sick passengers.  Darcy realizes that the only way she can get better is to be taken away from the rest of the sick passengers, and that the only spare bed is in his room.  For propriety’s sake he suggests to Elizabeth that the two marry and that once back in England he will file the necessary paperwork for the two to have an annulment, with none the wiser of their fake marriage.  As you can guess the two fall in love with each other but have no idea how the other feels, since most of their marriage is a show for the other passengers.  Upon the ship’s arrival they are separated not sure if they will ever see each other again.  It is on their return to America that Austen’s original plot begins to come into play.  As I stated earlier this retelling was so unique and I truly enjoyed the change of pace that it offered me.  For my full review click here.

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9.) The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory – I re-read this book every single year.  I absolutely LOVE it.  (I’ve even convinced Todd to begin reading it! See here)  When most people hear the name Boleyn thy think of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII.  Most don’t know she had a sister who supposedly bedded the king before her.  The Other Boleyn Girl follows Mary’s story as she finds love, loses love, becomes a mother, is used by her family, and is betrayed by her own sister.  Philippa Gregory is truly a master at writing historical fiction.  Her novels are fascinating fusions of true history, embellished dialogues, and rich characters.  You love to hate her antagonists!  I truly cannot speak highly enough of this novel.  Even if you are not a fan of history you have to give this novel a try.  Gregory writes history but adds the dramatic flare to it to make it fascinating to read.  Definitely check it out and add this to your to-read list.

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10.) Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin – This was a great, quick, fast-paced book that I really enjoyed reading!  Something Borrowed tells the story about Rachel, her best friend Darcy, and Darcy’s fiancée Dex. Rachel and Darcy have been best friends their entire lives, doing almost everything together.  Growing up next-door to each other in Indiana, they have been in a constant competitive friendship all of their twenty-five years together.  Rachel has learned to put Darcy’s needs and wants before her own to curb the competition.  Darcy on the other hand still feels the need to one-up not only Rachel but everyone she knows.  On Rachel’s thirtieth birthday she drinks too much and winds up in bed with Dex.  Rachel begins to feel guilty knowing what she did to her best friend was wrong. The more and more she thinks about it she starts feeling less and less guilty as she realizes that in fact it’s her who is right for Dex and not Darcy.  Rachel begins thinking back to her history with Dex.  The two went to law school together and became good friends.  They never dated because Rachel never thought she was good enough for him.  She introduced him to Darcy and the rest was history.  Rachel receives a phone call from Dex the day after they slept together and begins to get weird vibes from him.  He is not sorry that they slept together, nor does he feel guilty about it.  The two begin secretly seeing each other and realize that they are absolutely perfect for each other.  Rachel must decide if she is willing to risk her friendship with Darcy to be with the one she loves, or give him up and go back to being the friend in Darcy’s shadow.  Truly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it as a great beach read!  You can check out my full review here

Well there you have it my readers!  My favorite ten books for the year.  Leave me some comments below and let me know what your favorite books of the year were!

Happy Reading!

Living With A Book Addict – Week 4

Yes, it’s true; I am reading The Other Boleyn Girl.  As most of you know I’m not all that adventurous when it comes to reading.  Yes, I have diversified my reading ever since I’ve been with Kim, and yes, it’s been quite an adventure, but this is definitely a stretch.  Kim pushed me to read this book because it’s one of her favorite Tudor/Victorian era books that she has read.  Admittedly, I was pretty hesitant at first.  All I could imagine was that it would be overly romantic or flowery and wouldn’t move fast enough to keep my attention.  Boy was I wrong.  Not only is Philippa Gregory’s novel full of history and adventure, the plot moves fast and the characters are engaging.

Historically, I find it amazing that King Henry held so much power.  Obviously, he was politically powerful and the center of society, but nothing drives this home more than the power struggle within his own court.  This is personified in the Boleyn family’s ruthless quest for power.  The men of the family use the women as pawns in the chess game that is Henry’s court.  It is no matter that Mary has aspirations and goals of her own, her status as Henry’s mistress makes her an invaluable aspect to the family and therefore she is no longer her own person.  Anne, in contrast, flourishes in her situation.  She is, by nature, cold and calculating.  The extremity of the ways in which she took over her sister’s position and supplanted Queen Katherine obviously makes her more memorable in the eyes of history.  However, it is really interesting to see this through Mary’s eyes.

So, back to my original point: I would have never read this book if not prompted to.  Although I am not currently finished with it, it is totally changing my view on these types of books.  I had previously thought of this book as a romantic, washy novel that had little substance (sorry Phillipa Gregory).  Now after reading it for as much as I have, I now view it as a historical work that provides new insight into the lives of those individuals I had only read about in history books.  It has breathed new life into my interest in history.  So, I’d like to thank my wonderful better half for opening my eyes to this novel.  For those of you, who like history, or even just an exciting story, check it out!