Novel also published as “Before I Die”
You never decide to die – but you must decide to live!
I was recommended this book and film from fellow blogger belleofthelibrary when I happened across her book review. At first I really didn’t want to read another sad and depressing book, considering The Fault in Our Stars sent me into a funk for nearly a week. But, Now is Good is slightly different. It’s gritty and sarcastic. Both film and novel make no apologies for Tessa, our protagonist’s actions. Yes it’s sad, but it’s the most realistic reaction to getting sick with a terminal disease I’ve read so far.
You do go a bit mental. You do feel bipolar and swing to extremes. And you live the time you have left without abandon.
The film suffered as many screen adaptations do – sanitised to fit into a ratings category. The more risqué scenes cut or buffed over. I can’t say I didn’t mind it though, cancer is quite confronting. And so are some or the situations in the novel. The film succeeded with excellent pacing – all of the omissions from the written version, and the reveal of Tessa’s bucket list was much more poignant. The book, I found to be a little long in parts, and I nearly put it down – but believe me the last quarter of the novel is well worth the struggle. It’s raw, graphic, and a true representation what Tessa goes through (believe me, I’ve experienced most of it).
The ending of the film lacked the punch that the novel did – I’d say the film is almost melodic, where the novel is like a car horn – alarming and something you read with wide eyes.
I liked Adam (Tessa’s love interest) in the big screen version the most, he felt substantial and worthy of Tessa given the suffering she bears on strong shoulders. His written counterpart reflected a more realistic picture of teen males: slightly aloof and misunderstood and totally redeems himself towards the end.
With Tessa, however, I preferred the novel version. You really get into her head and experience her life. The movie felt a little choppy in comparison, and at times, I had trouble understanding her motivations. There is also so many more one-liners and witty observations in the book.
Dakota Fanning did a brilliant job depicting Tessa, especially given the script. I lost faith towards the end though; but due to production and make-up than Fanning’s performance. After reading the book and comparing, you’ll get what I mean. They opted for ‘pretty’ rather than the realism that plays through the novel. On a side note I kept listening for her British accent to falter… an added dimension to the film. J
The discovery of Jeremy Irvine playing Adam nearly flipped my wig! Talk about delicious! He has serious acting chops too. Irvine added a dreamy quality to Adam, where in the book he’s described as average and goofy (even though Tessa sees him as a love god). I also found out he’s playing Daniel Grigori in the screen adaptation of Lauren Kate’s Fallen, and am really interested to see how that film turns out when it is released later this year.
A bonus is the casting of Kaya Scodelario as Zoey… I don’t think they could have chosen anybody more perfect for the role.
I’d say both film and novel are on a fairly even par, but definitely prefer the book for its dark comedy and balls-to-the-wall narrative.
And yes, bring your tissues.
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