Book vs Film (Guest Reviews)

Forrest Gump by Winston Groom

So this is a new monthly post myself and Liam will be doing. What will happen is Liam will review a book for my blog which I will then watch the film and review for his blog. The link to my film review will be posted at the bottom so please head over and see what I made of this month’s movie Forrest Gump.

Here is what Liam had to say on Forrest Gump.

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Let me say this: being a idiot is no box of chocolates”

I always struggle with books written in accents, but that aside Winston Groom’s Forrest Gump is hardly a classic. Perhaps my feelings towards it are marred by my enjoyment of the film, but unlike its Hollywood counterpart this story has no idea where the line is that separates the unlikely from the downright ridiculous.

The character of Gump is also quite different from what I was expecting. In the novel he is tall but well-built – hardly the scrawny Tom Hanks I imagine, which is odd considering his image features on the front cover. He also swears quite a lot, has rampant love-making sessions with Jenny, drinks beer, and even on one occasion develops a mild drug addiction. In between all of this he still has time to join the army (and win the Congressional Medal of Honour), save the life of Chinese President Mao, display an unlikely deftness for mathematics, tour with a band, and become an Astronaut. Oh, and he befriends an ape. As you do.

On the whole, it all just feels a bit too far-fetched for me to engage fully with the story. I get what Winston Groom is trying to do, and the overriding moral of the story is ‘do good to others and good things will happen to you’. Lovely. But the good deeds that Forrest does, and the subsequent rewards/consequences, are so removed from most people’s day to day lives that it becomes almost impossible to relate. Instead, Forrest Gump becomes a wonderful piece of aspirational literature, teaching us that if we think positive, do what we’re told, and always strive to do our best, then we will be happy.

It’s a very American tale about a quintessentially American character. Forrest Gump is a man who doesn’t really understand the world, or why he’s in it. He is a modern frontiersman, slowly moving westward, adapting to his environment, and carving a life for himself along the way. He has no geographical attachment, which is reinforced by his Mother losing the family home to a fire, no professional attachment, and no real moral attachment. He’s a self-confessed idiot, but his willingness to try and do the right thing combined with a keen entrepreneurialism and shameless honesty makes him endlessly lovable.

Forrest Gump is not a great book, but Forrest Gump is a great character, and for that reason alone you should give it a read.

Now to check out my film review head on over to here:


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