Friday, August 10, 2012

October Baby, by Eric Wilson (B&H Books)

I'm sure October Baby the movie is wonderful, but, having read Mr. Wilson's novelization, I feel no overriding need to see it.  Experience has shown time and time again that the written page can attain a multidimensional property, depth of insight and characterization, richness of viewer/reader involvement, that the silver screen struggles--often in vain--to achieve.  Don't get me wrong, I can immerse myself into a great movie as much as the next guy.  But the film version would require a near-magical quality to approach what the author delivers in October Baby the book.

For those not yet acquainted with the story, Hannah, a high school student with aspirations for the stage, falters during a prime performance.  In fact, she passes out in the middle of one of her lines.  Attempts to discover the source of this and other niggling maladies that plague the otherwise seemingly healthy girl lead to a stark revelation.  Not only is she adopted, but she's the survivor of a botched abortion.  This knowledge sends her on a quest to find her birth mother, despite the protestations of her adoptive parents and the cautions of her best friend, Josh.  Still, Hannah, ultimately with Josh's help, embarks on her journey under the guise of taking a spring break trip to New Orleans with a group of friends; a trip that just happens to take her past the city in which she was born.

A cast of unique supporting characters colors the storyline with grit, hilarity, and poignancy brought to their fullest brilliance under the skilled pen of best-selling author, Eric Wilson.  It's quite apparent from the characterization and dialog that Mr. Wilson is very much at home with this genre.  He pulls you from the softness of your sofa onto the bumpy back seat of a dilapidated van trundling down the interstate toward the Big Easy, sharing the sights, smells, and sensibilities of teenagers on a lark.  Transports you from the comfort of your own existence into the troubled world of a young girl whose life has suddenly been turned upside down and now has no idea what part truth plays in it.  It just grabs you and doesn't let go at the turn of the last page.  If it doesn't grab you, you might want to check yourself for a pulse.

This tale relates one of the realities of abortion smothered by politcal correctness.  Those on the pro-abortion side will dismiss it as lopsided propaganda (as has already happened in reaction to the movie).  Those on the pro-life side will laud it for its honesty and fearlessness in addressing such a heart-wrenching issue.  Those in the middle, those who don't want to care...well, they'll continue not to care.  Maybe.
Sound heavy?  No, not really.  The journey is often painful, but the destination is emotionally satisfying, like most great novels.  Highly recommended, especially for those in the middle.

Oh, and yeah, I'll see the movie.  I mean, you know...

And another 'oh'.  October Baby is due for release on September 1st.  Get in line.


Joanie's Quilts said...

You did a great job writing this review! I sent my friends an email directing them to your write-up!

Bruce Judisch said...

Thanks, Joanie. This really was an excellent book.

Cheers! Bruce