Just think. I have never been able to review How I Live Now on Bookwitch, despite it being the book that launched this illustrious blog. It was published far too long* ago, but nine years on, the film is here and I went to see it yesterday for its first screening. Little did the cinema know it had HILN’s biggest fan in the auditorium.
So what did I think? I liked it. In fact, maybe I need to go again. Hmm, that’s a thought. A good one.
What I don’t know is how it comes across to people who have not read the book (AND WHY NOT?), but I can see no reason why it shouldn’t work.
It has been abridged and simplified, which is presumably necessary even for a short book. They have done away with one brother, and the remaining two have changed places (to make the sex more acceptable).
But what is so fantastic is that not only is Saoirse Ronan just right for Daisy, but they have found a house to use that is just as it should be. In the right place, with the right country lanes and everything. Even the McEvoys’ house was right. So many rights.
This is a 15 film, which is as it should be, considering how much darker it is than the novel. It is probably unavoidable that war and violence look worse on screen than on paper. And what you don’t get, and what I did miss, are Daisy’s comments on all that happens. Her voice makes the book what it is. However Saoirse is great, despite lack of running commentary. She seems to suffer from OCD rather than anorexia, but that’s fine.
How I Live Now makes a beautiful film. I’ll probably see it again. Good idea, witch.
On the way home we drove past Daisy Street. Perhaps it’s always been there, but I never noticed it before.
* I know. Old books can still be reviewed. But that feeling of pure magic when you discover a gem like HILN comes only once.