I recently* happened upon an article on Vulture.com titled, “Why Did This Movie Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper Go Straight to VOD?” I knew which movie the author was referring to right away, and I wasn’t the least bit surprised to hear of its fate! While the author of the article mentions several reasons why the movie is a flop, he seems to be missing one important reason: the book the movie was based on wasn’t very good to begin with!
Let’s venture back in time a bit. Over a year ago, I posted about my reading wish list and how I was attempting to read books from BuzzFeed’s 14 Books to Read Before They Become Movies list.
- Gone Girl. Check.
- If I Stay. Check.
- The Maze Runner. Check.
- Divergent. Check.
You get the idea. A list of hot books that everyone seemed to be reading. So when I saw Serena, a movie that would be starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, I assumed I was in for another good read. I requested the book digitally through my library’s access to Overdrive. When it arrived, I started reading Ron Rash’s PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction-winning book and was…bored. Let me give you a summary of the novel: George and Serena Pemberton are ruthless timber barons. It’s constantly dark and dreary in the Carolina woodlands. A bunch of guys work really hard logging timber. There’s a terrible accident and someone dies. Serena Pemberton is intimidating. There’s more logging, another terrible accident, and someone dies. Serena is more intimidating and a little crazy. There’s some more logging, a terrible accident, and someone dies. Serena is upset and sends her lackey to kill someone, because obviously, there haven’t been enough deaths yet.
When the book’s loan was up, I hadn’t finished the book- strange for me at the time. I contemplated just forgetting about the book, but again, I thought of the future movie. Jennifer Lawrence. Bradley Cooper. Beautiful period costumes set in the late 1920s. A fierce female character. Danger and intrigue in a logging company. Murder. Maybe I didn’t give the book a fair chance, I thought. Maybe I hadn’t gotten to the good part yet. Maybe if I just kept reading…so, I did. I requested the book again and read the rest of the novel. Sadly, it was still boring. The story continued with a lot of misery and destruction. There was no redeeming quality about the characters or the plot. I would not recommend this book to anyone I know. The author of the movie review had similar ideas about the film, stating, “Serena is not an interesting or particularly enjoyable movie, and I cannot in good conscience recommend that you watch it. But it is a useful object lesson in moviemaking in the 21st century — and an improbable tale of how something can go terribly wrong even when everything seems to be going wonderfully right.” That being said, read or watch Serena at your own risk!
*The article is dated March 11, 2015. I wrote this blog post a long time ago…