The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - F. Scott Fitzgerald

(Adapted by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir; illustrated by Kevin Cornell)
I was, along with much of the world, intrigued by the premise of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" when I first saw the trailer for the movie starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. I saw that it was based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald and made a note to look for that at some point, and then found this at a bookstore and decided to get it on a whim.

It's a comics adaptation of the story based on Fitzgerald's original text, and as it's a short story to begin with this is a fairly short book. Still, the illustrations are good and I think they did a pretty job. I've been told that the movie version strayed quite a bit from the original story (and having read this version, I can see why it wouldn't make a great Hollywood picture) so it's fun to see this version of it first.

For those of you who don't already know, Benjamin Button is born old and gets younger as he ages. When young, his father insists on dressing him like a child and giving him toddler toys, despite the fact that he needs to shave and would prefer to sit smoking cigars with his grandfather. He is mistaken for his father's brother, and then later as his son's brother, and then his son's son. The reactions of the public to his odd situation are amusing, particularly those who seem to think he's doing it on purpose: "If you've made up your mind to be different from everybody else, I don't suppose I can stop you. But I really don't think it's very considerate."

The book is certainly trying to capitalize on the current popularity of "Benjamin Button"—in the afterword, they even mention the movie—but they also explain the history of the short story and why Fitzgerald didn't end up writing much more fantasy. It's a shame, though, that "Benjamin Button" didn't enjoy commercial success in its day. I'd be very interested what Fitzgerald might have written instead of The Great Gatsby if his satirical fantasies had been in higher demand.

Fed to jonathan's brain | February 15, 2009 | Comments (0)


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