Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay (Fantastic Beasts, #1) – J.K. Rowling

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-j-k-rowling

Source: Goodreads

Newt Scamander loves magical creatures and is determined to teach the wizarding world how to live in harmony with them. When he arrives in New York City in the winter of 1926, it is meant to be for a brief visit on his way to Arizona. Unfortunately for Newt, evil is afoot, and it will take all of his skills and the skills of his new American friends to defeat it before it destroys the city and exposes wizarding kind to the world.

For once, I had no expectations. This wasn’t anything like Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. J.K. Rowling wrote the entire screenplay herself. She helped produce it, and all of the directors and producers and talented filmmakers from the original Harry Potter movies were on board. I had no worries about whether or not it would be any good. I had faith. But I am not an expert on the 1920’s, and I am especially not an expert on the wizarding world in the 1920’s. So it was that I went in to see the film with no expectations except that there would be magic.

I saw the film twice before I read the screenplay, though because I pre-ordered it, the book arrived the same day that the movie came out. Because of this, I could see everyone clearly in my head as I read. I tried to be objective, however, impossible as that was.

There was a lot of scene setting included in the screenplay, despite the lack of details that were clearly added during the actual filming. I loved the descriptions of how people were standing, or what the characters might be thinking as they contemplated something. The script was full of tidbits that would help the actors get into character, and it made me love each of them more for it. My favorite part of all was that the script confirmed my thoughts on the fates of some of the characters that I had been continually worrying about since I had watched the film. Knowing from the bits of notes and descriptions what was going to happen to them between films has been an enormous blessing.

To make this book/screenplay even better, it’s short enough that you can read it in one sitting if you like, and therefore you can read it multiple times a day if you should so choose. I really hope she prints the rest of the screenplays as the films come out. I think it would be a very nice collection to have, and I love how descriptive and thoughtful the scenes are.

HHC Rating: 5 Stars

Other Reviews in This Series:
Book #1 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Book #2 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Book #3 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Book #4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Book #5 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Book #6 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Book #7 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Cursed Child – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

me-and-earl-and-the-dying-girl-jesse-andrews

Source: Goodreads

Greg Gaines is not a hero. Neither are Earl or Rachel, the other main characters. There are no heroes in this story, and that’s the way Greg likes it. Told from his point of view in a sort of personal essay that includes certain scenes written out like a screenplay, Greg tells the story of his senior year of high school, and the friend he never wanted. As Greg will tell you, this isn’t one of those sappy cry-your-eyes-out cancer stories. That doesn’t make it any less real.

This book has been on my radar since the film trailer started popping up, but my TBR list was pretty packed and I didn’t own a copy. In July, at a friend’s birthday party, I noticed she had a copy, and she was foolish enough to lend it to me. — I don’t lend books. They never come back, even from the people you trust. If it’s a really, truly good book, they will pass it on to another one of their friends and so on and so forth. — Luckily for my friend, I am a meticulous book nut who puts sticky notes on books that are not mine so they are sure to make it back to their original (or at least previous) owners. So, she lent me the book, and I read it while I was babysitting (no small feat).

I’m not usually a fan of 1st-person, but Greg managed to move between scenes seamlessly (maybe because it’s essay style, so he possibly re-wrote until it flowed like a paper?). The characters are all comically crazy. Parts of it were amusing, even. But everyone I had spoken to about the book had hyped it as hilarious, and maybe it’s not my brand of humor, but I wasn’t that impressed. To me, it was funnier in an “oh no, this poor kid, everything happens to him” kind of way that’s really more saddening than hilarious. But the writing itself and the formatting of the book were very good.

The ending was not predictable, which was refreshing. Greg, for all the complaining that he does throughout the book about this not being a story of self-acceptance and growth, sure does a whole lot of growing and changing. I still have yet to watch the film, but I imagine it will be pretty good, though the voice-over may get a bit boring.

I think if I had read this book in high school, it would have had a rather large impact on me. It may even have made me take stock of my life and possibly prevented some of the stupid things I did in college. But reading it now, I feel that much of the meaning is lost on me, having works like The Fault in Our Stars, A Walk to Remember, Eat, Pray, Love, The Paris Wife*, and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald** under my belt already. So, would I recommend it? Yes. Of course. But for me, personally, it wasn’t a stellar read.

HHC Rating: 3 Stars

* See my review of The Paris Wife

** See my review of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald