East of Eden – January’s Book and Movie Review (And Giveaway!)
Quick Book/Movie Summary:
Novel – 1952 – by John Steinbeck (Summary From Amazon): Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.
Movie – 1955– Directed by Elia Kazan – Screenplay by Paul Osborn (Summary from IMDB): In the Salinas Valley, in and around World War I, Cal Trask feels he must compete against overwhelming odds with his brother Aron for the love of their father Adam.
Book/Movie Club Set Up:
Our group (women ages 23-47) pick a book that has been made into a movie. We read the book and then get together for thematic food, to discuss the book, and then to watch the movie.
On the menu:
Each of us are to bring either a drink, dessert and/or appetizer and it is fun to use the story for inspiration. This month, we changed it up a bit by doing a wine & cheese theme. Below is the spread.
Appetizers: We ended up with ten different cheeses including, Gouda, Asiago, goat cheese, Fromayer D’Affinois. Plus prosciutto, salami, sesame crackers, pita chips, crostini, fruit, and more.
Drinks: assortment of red and white wines
Dessert: French twist, brownies, cookies
Thoughts about the Book:
At 600 pages I was a little afraid of this book. But as it turns out, after the first chapter, it swept me away – however, it did take me up to the day before we met to finish reading it. And furthermore, only one other person in our group made it through the entire thing. A couple of people made it half way through, one made it to 100 pages, and one person couldn’t get very far at all because she kept falling asleep –
The two of us who did finish the book, loved it. Steinbeck is a master story teller. He created very vibrant characters on both ends of the good/bad spectrum. The story of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel were woven throughout the book and came full circle in the end. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel and highly recommend it.
Thoughts about the Movie:
The movie was only inspired by the last part of East of Eden – One main important character, Lee, was removed and his inspirational speeches were given to other characters. The beauty and monstrousness of Steinbeck dynamic character Cathy/Kate was watered down. I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to the movie.
The highlight of the movie was, of course, James Dean. Although we all respected his acting because it was so James Dean (And the character he played in this movie was compared to the one in Rebel without a Cause), we also made fun of his overacting – his erratic movements and teenage angst were a bit amusing. So, you know, there was a lot of laughing during this drama.
It was the only film (major roll) that was released during James Dean’s lifetime. And he was nominated for best actor, academy awards 1956.
Other’s considered for the role of Cal (James Dean’s character) were Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Paul Newman.
There may be a new movie in the works and it will star Jennifer Lawrence as Cathy/Kate – There is word that it will be two movies so that it will have both generations – so excited to hear this! I will be waiting on this movie – I’m wondering who will play Cal – What big shoes to fill …
The Girly Discussions:
James Dean, James Dean, James Dean …
We didn’t care for Abra’s bangs – (I didn’t care for Julie Harris as Abra at all.)
The actors who played the Trasks Twins (James Dean and Richard Davalos ) looked more like brothers than they were portrayed in the book. In the novel, they were complete opposites.
Some thought Aron was pretty handsome himself.
Was James Dean’s hair grey in this movie? It looked grey in several scenes.
The Group’s Average ratings:
Book: 4 glasses of wine out of 5
Movie: 2 glasses of wine out of 5
The bottom line:
Read the book, and, if you love it and decide to watch the movie, just be aware that it is not the same story, but I think it is still worth watching – the cinematic classic of the 50s won a lot of awards and James Dean’s performance is what made him a star.
Next month’s Book and Movie:
I have decided to giveaway (US only) my copy of East of Eden (The middle book in the pic above) so someone else can experience this classic tale. If you would like to read it, comment on this post on my blog, and I’ll draw a name from all who commented on January 31, 2016 – I will post the winner on Feb 1st.
Love and Laughter,