Saturday, October 4, 2014

Book Review: The Poseidon Adventure by Paul Gallico

The Poseidon Adventure by Paul Gallico

Standalone novel
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd
First Published: 1st January 1969
Read Date: 18 September 2014
Tagged under: 0.5-2, 2014 read, why did I read this, book review, adult fiction, book to film adaptation
Check it out: @Goodreads@Amazon

Book Summary

On its maiden voyage, luxury ocean liner SS Poseidon is capsized by a massive undersea earthquake. A handful of survivors must fight for their lives - struggling to make it from the upper deck of the ship to the hull, the only part above water, before the ship sinks. Faced with rising water and the violence of desperate passengers and crew members, the group must do everything it can to survive - before time runs out. 
Adapted into an award-winning film by Irwin Allen, The Poseidon Adventure is a thrilling tale with timeless suspense and excitement.

Book Review [Spoiler-Free]

It was only recently when I visited the local library that I discovered the film "The Poseidon Adventure" was adapted from a 1969 novel of the same name written by Paul Gallico. Given that I was fairly disenchanted with some of the cliched scenarios in the film, I was intrigued to pick the novel up and see whether the usual "book is better than the movie adaptation" mantra holds true.

Boy, did I regret my choice.

The story began like any regular epic adventure style novel. Having seen the film before, I knew going into this novel that there are a lot of characters involved and that it may be initially very confusing to orientate myself. But The Poseidon Adventure doesn't even try to make the initiation process easier. Every character is introduced without any fanfare with only one or two characteristics attached to them, none of which are very distinguishing. I understand that the book is trying to set up the premise that the passengers are normal-day people but in the span of the first two chapters, you are introduced to a dozen characters and I kept referring back to the beginning to figure out which character is which.

But that was not even the most unpleasant part of the reading experience. I don't think I have ever been so angry whilst reading a book before. Even with the concessions made to the book's age, there is nothing remotely enjoyable about the underhanded way he deals with the issues of race, class and gender. I don't care if those were the widely accepted behaviour back then. The background setting is one thing, the way the characters just roll over and accept what is dished out to them is a whole separate issue. I cannot wrap my head around how the characters behaved, reacted and did what they did, especially the completely unnecessary epilogue. What the?!

Overall: 0.5/5

This is probably one of the most unpleasant books I have read this year. For those who watched and enjoyed the film, stick to the movie. 

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