Book Review: A Simple Favour – Book or Movie?
Darcy Bell’s A Simple Favour is a psychological fiction about the disappearance of a woman after asking a simple favour from her friend, to pick her son after school.
Stephanie is a widowed mother with a blog. Emily is a sophisticated PR director for a fashion company. The only thing they have in common is the friendship of their sons which brings them closer, or at least one of them thinks so. After Emily mysteriously disappears, Stephanie asks for help on her blog for finding Emily. Meanwhile, she takes care of Emily’s son and her husband. After a body is found, Stephanie starts to take on Emily’s life, make it her own, but things are not what they seem to be.
A Simple Favour has a unique style showing different character viewpoints, as well as the two different perspectives, the inner and the socially constructed, through Stephanie’s blog. Seeing the social impact on identity through the changing opinions of the same characters under different circumstances show a depth and makes the characters more realistic, yet unlikeable. While this has a social critique, it lessens the reader’s connection with the story itself, as we cannot find anyone we root for.
Honestly, I have read this book after I have watched the movie. Some storylines felt incomplete or rushed within the film like Emily’s past and Stephanie’s oscillating character between her good and dark side. I picked up the book in the hopes that some parts have been removed and that I can find out more about these psychologically complex characters.
I do not say this frequently, but I prefer the movie over the book. Although Stephanie’s character appears to have more depth on the dark side of her character, Emily’s secrets appear to be simpler in the book. Her past life is much less complicated which to me is the ultimate disappointment, as I hoped to find out more about Emily’s past.
The endings of the book and the film are entirely different. Spoiler ahead. Although I appreciate that the book does not go with the traditional ‘evil character loses’ approach, it felt quite anti-climactic. The film’s ending is satisfactory, as well as comical, although it is not an unexpected ending. Probably, for the first time, I think a book-based movie adds something to a story rather than taking out. However, both of them feel like they have something missing. Putting both stories together make-up for certain parts, but it is still not enough.
I am not quite sure if I would have liked the book more or less if I did not watch the movie first. Perhaps I would have liked it more without the expectations raised from the movie. Maybe I would have liked it less since all my interest in it comes from the added aspects of the movie. Overall, I like the plot and the structure but I feel dissatisfied and I believe Bell had lots of interesting options she could have explored that she did not.
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