July 29, 2011 – There’s a great line in the movie “As Good As It Gets” where a woman asks Jack Nicholson’s character, who happens to be a best-selling novelist, how he writes women so well.
His reply? “I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.”
The scene is played for comedy, but that question should actually be posed to Wally Lamb, author of “She’s Come Undone”. He captured the essence of a young girl at 10 years to a woman turning 40 and every age in between flawlessly when he created his character Dolores Price. For a man that’s practically an impossible thing to do unless you carry large amounts of estrogen, or perhaps grew up with a lot of sisters.
Last weekend, I finished Lamb’s coming-of-age story about Price, a tough as nails (at least on the outside) but loveable heroine, although it hit bookstores almost 20 years ago in 1992. Price struggles with many issues that are common to young women, among them divorced parents, an absent father, and a strictly religious grandmother. But she also deals with rape, death and a long stay in a mental facility during her journey to find peace and emotional liberation.
I picked the book up after hearing many of my friends and colleagues sing its praises; many even touted it was the best book they’d ever read. It didn’t quite reach the pinnacle of my favorite book (for me it’s still a toss-up between Janet Fitch’s “White Oleander” or anything by Rebecca Wells) but it was definitely worth my invested time. Once I was pulled into Lamb’s world on page one, it held my interest until the last word.
Rumor has it that a movie is in the works. There haven’t been too many books that have translated well to film, and since the book spans 30 well detailed years of the character’s life, the director has a tough job. Still I’m curious to see how it will play out.
Who will play Dolores? Reese Witherspoon, according to most sources, an actress I like but can’t imagine in the role despite her fine acting chops. The role, however, would be bigger than most actresses in Hollywood today, which is why it may have been better to go with an unknown.
There’s no release date scheduled yet, but if you haven’t read the book yet – and I can’t be the only one who missed it the first time around – do so before you even consider seeing the movie.