Tossing and turning in my bed, I couldn’t sleep. I turned on the Television and there it was, a movie called “Everything is Illuminated”. It featured Elijah Wood, and a singer from Gogol Bordello; a polish band. Apparently this film was about a Jewish American man named Jonathan(of the same name as the author) who travels to Ukraine for a heritage tour. His sole reason was to find out about his great great grandfather and the woman who saved him during WWII. During his tour, he encounters interesting character, such as a dog named Sammy Davis Jr. and a grandfather who apparently thinks he is blind. He also befriends the young grandson, Alex. Directed by Liev Schrieber, it is a stunning film, the cinamatography is mesmerizing throughout the whole movie. After watching this film, I fell in love with it. It was so well written, the cast performed splendidly. So naturally I wanted to read the book that started it all.
I finally got the book around Christmas time. I don’t think I had been as excited about a book since the Harry Potter series ended. Excited, I immediately started reading. But I was somewhat disapointed. It was vastly different from the movie. What I had noticed, that it was more about the characters of a city called Trachimbrod throughout the years. The chapters were confusing, and oftentimes went back and forth between present time and the past(which was in the 1800’s). It also featured chapters where Alex-the tour guide is writing to the author himself. It was hard to keep up, I was frustrated. The way the chapters alternated in such a confusing manner made for a difficult read. I only got a glimpse of what was actually in the film which was what made me interested in the book in the first place.
In my opinion- I prefered the movie than the actual book. I don’t normally advise people to watch the film adaptation before reading the actual book. But sadly, in this case I have to say rent the movie.