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By CDN on 02-19-11
An Entertaining Book
Then She Found Me is a charming book. It's funny, at times poignant, and its characters are vivid and complex. Elinor Lipman's writing sparkles. I highly recommend it if you're in the mood for something light and entertaining.
Mia Barron's narration is energetic and suits the book's tone, but I'd have liked the characters' voices to be a bit more nuanced and the pacing to be a little more varied. If I could have deducted only half a star for that, I would have.
Note to those who (as I did) found their way here after seeing Helen Hunt's movie adaptation and hoped to delve a little more deeply into some of the movie's themes: You won't find the movie here. The movie's broad premise is the same, Bernice is essentially the same, and the April of the book is vaguely recognizable on film, as if strayed into a parallel universe and driven by different motivations. The movie's plot is entirely different, with most of the other characters either absent, utterly changed, or newly-created for the screenplay. The insights at the end of the movie, which are perhaps what I value most about it, are not drawn from the book.
None of that is to say that the book suffers by comparison, no matter how much you loved the movie. In its own right, it's a lovely book with characters you'd miss if you read the book first and then saw the movie -- just as the movie is a lovely and deeply touching movie, with characters you miss if you see it first. If you're forewarned, if you approach the book as a different story, you won't be disappointed.
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