Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Adapt This

My latest random book read was The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean (1998). This is the book that was loosely adapted by Charlie Kaufman into the 2002 Spike Jonze film Adaptation. I really liked Adaptation, and I was curious to read the book that had inspired such an unusual, well... adaptation.

Orlean's book serves as a excellent mirror of the movie, although the two only intersect in a small sub-section. While the movie focuses on Orlean's relationship with John Laroche, the titular orchid thief, and a fictionalized Kaufman's struggle to adapt their story to film, the book uses Laroche as a jumping off point to explore the world of orchid collecting, passion, Florida, and Orlean herself.

Orlean does an excellent job of turning what started as an article for the New Yorker into a book-length piece of journalism without stretching the story too thin or straying too far from the focus of the book. Plus I learned a lot about that strange state that is Florida, and the odd world of the orchid.

1 comment:

Krouchdog said...

Yeah, reading that book made me see Florida in a completely different light. I always figured the state was pretty much all like C.S.I. Miami. Who knew?