30 Books in 30 Days - Day 24: A book collaboration by 2 or more authors
From comments I've read from others who have done this challenge, this seems to be a popular book for this category and given that one of the authors is one of my favourite ever authors, you might be forgiven for assuming that this would be a shoe-in as a book I'd love. But never assume anything...
I first read Good Omens when I was in my teens and was experiencing Terry Pratchett for the first time. But frankly, I was left distinctly lacking in whelm about this one. I didn't find it funny, I didn't get it, it wasn't a patch on the Discworld books. It left me feeling rather bewildered about what was going on. Consequently, it was a book I never returned to. And then this happened.
Now Martin Sheen and David Tennant are two of my favourite actors. Yes, it helps that they're both quite easy on the eye, BUT far more importantly, they are incredibly good at what they do and I've often watched and enjoyed programmes and films I wouldn't normally have considered watching on the strength of their acting. So, when we saw that they were coming together for this, my husband and I were both keen to watch it. Needless to say, it was an absolute masterpiece of television and we binged watched it over the course of a couple of evenings.
In fact, it was so good that I wondered if I'd misjudged the book as a teenager and decided to buy myself a copy and re-read it. Two days later and I knew I'd definitely misjudged it. Second time around I thought it was brilliant. What also made me happy was that the TV series had done the book justice. The casting was inspired and it was a faithful adaptation.
Some time later, I was watching a programme about Gregory Peck and it mentioned that he'd been in the film The Omen. It took me by surprise as I haven't seen the film, but knew it was a horror film and it didn't seem the sort of film I'd have expected Gregory Peck to be in. I googled the film and read the plot, thinking 'this sounds familiar' and then it dawned on me that like much of Pratchett's work, Good Omens had taken something familiar and twisted into something else. No wonder I'd not got it first time around! I asked my husband if he knew that the book was a take-off of the film. He looked confused. 'Well of course! Didn't you?'
It's not unusual for this kind of conversation to take place in our house, but even so, he was very surprised to find I had known nothing about such a seminal film until that day. (The only thing I did know was that there was a demon boy in it called Damien and even that knowledge had been gleaned from Only Fools and Horses)
In my defence, given that I had nightmares for a week after reading the Ladybird version of Dracula and it took me 2 years to read the proper version because every time I read it, it gave me nightmares, it's not surprising that I tend to stay clear of horror films. (Although my husband did recently try to get me to watch the recent BBC adaptation - I kept my eyes firmly on my book until he realised that forcing me to watch it would result in him having to try to sleep with the light on all night!) Incidentally, after years of me trying to get my eldest to read some 'classic' literature, he suddenly asked to read this and has been motoring through it, occasionally shaking his head and saying sorrowfully, 'How can you think this is scary, Mum? It's really not.'
But to return to Good Omens, it's now one of my favourite books and the beautiful hardback edition has been safely stored on the bookcase along with my other Pratchetts. Writing a book on your own is hard enough, writing one with someone else seems impossible to contemplate, but Pratchett and Gaiman did it beautifully.