Skeptical, I was extremely skeptical. We already have a Where The Wild Things Are and I'm not sure it could possibly be improved upon. I did enjoy Spike Jonze's movie adaptation quite a lot, but this exists in book form. Why would you do a novelization when the picture book is so perfect?
by little, though, this won me over. Not to the deep level of love that
Maurice Sendak's original will ever inspire, not even close. But still.
As a novelization of the movie, Eggers' crack at writing a novel based
on the movie story is pretty good.
It is a quick read, still,
and nicely illustrates many of the movie moments that had been added, to
generally good effect. Max is still Max, in his wolf suit and raging
temper, but now he has more of a backstory.
There was one episode
that was disappointing, though - the snowball fight scene. In the
movie, I thought that captured so perfectly something I
remember vividly about being a child - how thin the line between fun and
too much is. How quickly things can go from exhilarating to
overwhelming and scary. That same scene, in the novelization, doesn't
capture that same feel, and that's a pity, because that was one of my
favourite parts of the movie.
Max goes to the island of the Wild
Things, and leads the wild revels, and is almost eaten many times, by
creatures with just as many insecurities as he has. The story is
familiar, and this book won me over into at least not begrudging its
existence. But would I read it again? Nope. I'd go back to the original.