So, it has been a fair while since the last book review. It is not that I have neglected my reading, it is that I couldn’t be assed writing any reviews. But reading Jurassic Park has definitely changed all that. Jurassic Park has inspired me to take it up again.
Pretty much everyone I know has seen the movie of Jurassic Park, even if they did it while hiding under blankets, so there is not much point in going into the nitty gritty of the plot. However, there are some notable differences. For starters, whereas the movie was based around Dr. Grant, the novel is an ensemble. There are long periods where Grant is completely ignored, as other characters play a central role, including that of the hero. Some roles are also reversed, for example the roles of the children are reversed (the girl is older and more dominant in the movie, while she is simply a distraction in the book). And several relationships are altered, for example that of Ellie and Dr. Grant. And furthermore, the movie left out or underplayed many characters completely, such as Dr. Wu. So, all in all, there are quite a few subtle differences between the movie and the book. If you have seen the movie, you will have a general understanding of the book’s direction, but if you enjoy nuance then this won’t slow you down at all.
However, it is in the detail that the novel leaves the movie far in its wake. Of course, Michael Crichton had significantly more time to go into scientific detail, than did Steven Spielberg. However, scientific detail is also Michael Crichton’s forte, and this book is directed at a niche audience. Much like the work of Pierre Boule, Crichton manages to boil down several important scientific concepts and concerns, and make them accessible and entertaining to the general reader. The story allows Crichton to delve into Chaos Theory, Palaeontology, the morality and wisdom of some scientific ventures, and even allows him to take a swipe at the motives of many of today’s scientists. Having never read a Crichton book before, I was surprised at how well he uses his story to preach his message. At that he is a talent to rival Aaron Sorkin. At making complex scientific concepts interesting and entertaining, I have yet to think of a rival.
But most of all, what I enjoyed about this book was the idea. As anyone who has read any of my other book reviews knows, I appreciate interesting ideas or angles more than I do simple dialogue. I am still amazed and stupefied at the idea of a Dinosaur theme park/zoo. It is brilliant, and carried out to perfection. Crichton is a brilliant writer, this is a brilliant idea, and it is a brilliant book. I would recommend to all and sundry. And I cannot wait for my library to restock the next in the series, so that I can read that too.
Title: Jurassic Park
Author: Michael Crichton
Pages: 416 (Paperback)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Josh’s Rating: 4/5