Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jamaica Inn

Jamaica InnJamaica Inn – Daphne Du Maurier
Evan’s ESS = 7 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = 5 out of 10
Content = PG (Adult Content, Violence, Domestic Cruelty, Looting, Inhospitable Lodgings)

Why:  Given the fact that we LOVED Rebecca, it’s almost unforgivable to think how much time has passed between Du Maurier novels.  Fortunately, the Books to Movies Challenge came along and provided us with the perfect excuse. 

On the heels of her mother’s death, Mary Yellen sets out for her new home at the notorious Jamaica Inn.  Expecting to find the same Aunt Patience from her childhood, what she actually encounters is far worse than Stephen King’s worst nightmare.  Her Aunt is a broken woman and her uncle is a complete jerk-bag (a wide range of derogatory terms can be used here).  And then there’s the inn itself – let’s just say there’s a reason the rooms at the inn aren’t available to the public...

The book.  While Jamaica Inn doesn’t belong in the same class as Rebecca, it was still a solid read.  The setting was fabulous and established the gothic feel right from the beginning.  The characters were also unique in their ambitious personalities.  Mary’s courage was inspiring and her determination in the face of injustice made us stand up and cheer.  Aunt Patience played the part of meek and unconventional wife perfectly.  And then there’s the landlord...  Rarely does a character come along with so few redeeming characteristics as Jos Merlin.  (Actually, it does reminds us of someone else from classic literature that we loath.  What was his name again?  Oh yea, Heathcliff!!!).  Really, the only piece lacking was an ending to match the suspense and intrigue of the rest of the novel.  Unfortunately, for one of us (hint- ERIN!) this was a pretty big miss. 

The movie.  We chose to view the 1939 Alfred Hitchcock adaptation and honestly, the movie was a train wreck from the beginning.  One of the greatest features of the book was the mystery surrounding the questionable activities at the Jamaica Inn.  Using a few well placed sentences following the opening credits, the movie took all of two seconds to spoil the surprise.  Characters were changed and removed unnecessarily and the “new and improved” ending was very hokey.  It also didn’t help that the audio quality was just as poor as the overacting.  By the end of the movie one of us was playing Falldown on her IPod and the other one was starting to brainstorm the top 10 rebels in literature on his laptop...      

The book clearly won this less than epic battle.  Read the book, don’t watch the movie.  And if you happen to find yourself wandering around Bodmin Moor in Southwest England, stop by the real Jamaica Inn and have a drink – just watch out for ghosts.  Or if you prefer the Caribbean, you might want to try an entirely different Jamaica Inn located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica...   

1 comment:

  1. I'm not going to read your review until I've read the book, but I had to say that I've been to Bodmin Moor and we had "cream tea" at Jamaica Inn! The locals pronounce it Jamaiker-rinn.