Hi Readers, who's ready for a rambling? I am...and since it's my blog...let's get to it. I am a Studio Ghibli and always enjoy the fact that several of the movies are inspired by books. One day while looking through movies I found one I had never heard of before, and lo and behold it was based on a book called When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson. The premise sounded interesting, and I always love discovering new books...especially older ones so both the book and movie got put in the basket and onto my book shelves. As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Story - The story was good. It was a little different then I originally anticipated, as most of the blurbs tout it as a ghost story. I feel like it is more of a circle of life type deal, with family and friends being when and where they are most needed. The story made sense and other then a few overly convenient moments was well done. Combined with everything else it worked well.
Character - I really liked the characters in this story. There was a lot of introspection and growing and feeling and variety. Each character was fully formed, each character had a story, each character stayed true to themselves, and nobody acted out of character just to further the story. I also really liked how every single character felt well thought out was necessary for the story.
Editing - The editing was fairly well done. The story could have become very confusing, especially with the dream like quality that permeated the whole book, but overall the whole thing was readable and sensical. Like I said before, other then a few small overly convenient details the book read beautifully and stayed with me. Good editing.
Movie - The movie was made by the famous Studio Ghibli whom I love for their ability to translate atmosphere into a watchable movie, and this film was no exception. There were a few notable exceptions from the book to film, the biggest being that it was set in Japan instead of England which was both odd and kind of cool, it was like seeing the same story in two different views. The thing I didn't like so much is that they made Anna a bit more aggressive and almost mean, where in the book she was just withdrawn and stoic. I also felt the movie was a wee bit rushed compared to the book. Overall though the signature atmosphere, introspectiveness and sheer beauty were all there, just like I wanted.
Nostalgia - So one of the things that really struck me about this book was the sense of nostalgia it gave me. This is totally a book I would have LOVED and read over and over back when I was in the 10-12ish age. I really enjoyed reading this book now, but really wish I had been able to read it when I was younger because I can see it becoming one of my favorite. I'm not 100% sure why I am so sure my younger self would have been so into this book. Maybe it reminds me of the books I read when I was younger, maybe I can see myself pulling it off of the library shelf and curling up in my yard, maybe I can see myself forcing my siblings to act it out, maybe it was my affinity for imaginary friends, who knows. Every once in a while I will get a book like this, where as much as I enjoy it as an adult, I really want to go back in time and give myself some of these books.
Ghost Story - This book was touted as a ghost story...but it really wasn't...but it kind of was. It is really hard to really put this in any one category 'cause it really doesn't follow any rules...which I love. The mechanism of the interaction between Marnie and Anna is never fully explained. We know that they both had the same experiences because Anna remembers them, even if it is a bit muddled and Marnie records them in her diary, even if Anna's name is never actually mentioned. I don't think that this pairing needs a "scientific" or "realistic" explanation. I like to think that these two souls that were connected by blood and love found each other at their loneliest and helped each other survive. I am good with the idea that love can transcend time and space and I'm gonna leave it at that.
Overall Impression - I really enjoyed this book, it was different and surprising and atmospheric and stuck with me in a good way. I will probably reread it in late spring/early summer as it feels like it should be a seasonal book, but regardless I really liked it. I give it 8 out of 10 sand castles with gardens and recommend it to anybody who wants a story with heart or is looking for one for their kiddos with out too much of the yucky stuff. Happy Reading Everybody!