Monday, February 05, 2007

A Bone to Pick with Lifetime

Just so we're clear, I've never been ashamed to be a Nora Roberts fan. I have a degree in English Lit and I've read a ton of the classics - I've even been conquering Dead Souls. If you've ever attempted this little gem, you get 20 points for strong backbone and excellent attention to detail; for this epic is riddled with Russian names that are very similar. Keeping them straight is a feat worth points. Trust me.

But Nora Roberts isn't something I'd even describe as guilty pleasure. People magazine is a guilty pleasure (read: something I'm just slightly embarrassed to be caught reading in public). But Nora weaves stories in a way that I can really get behind. She never has the plot turn into the obvious (or very rarely). Now - I must clarify that I tend to turn up my nose at her compilation pieces - the ones where they cram essentially three short stories into one book. I tend toward her full blown novels and my favorite has been, for years and years, Montana Sky. This is a story that I tend to read when I am at my lowest because its heroin is a tough cookie - the kind of gal I'd really like to be if I had it in me. She runs a ranch, lives in Montana and has a really interesting cast of characters who keep things around her far from dull. She also has a makeshift family of fiercely loyal friends. I love that kind of thing - the fierceness of family love and romantic love. The whole novel is tops with me. I think about the main character Willa when I'm being particularly stupid and weak about something and then I try to buck up. I think I still secretly hope that I'll somehow wind up in her fictional life - finally be free of New York City, finally be free of corporate life and be finally free to be at one with nature and friends and the pace of a life that is dramatically different from the one I live now. Maybe my father's life on the farm was where my heart actually longed to be. Can't figure out how I got pressured to end up in the biggest city in America - but that's another story.

So I'm a big fan of Nora's and imagine my excitement when I find out that Lifetime television is making a movie out of my favorite book and lordy, lordy ladies and gentlemen - John Corbett is going to play the dashing hero, Ben McKinnon. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. There's no way around it, he's a dream boat.

It aired tonight and I knew it would happen and it did - they screwed up my favorite story. They tried to pour 700 odd pages into two hours and they even created a freaking character who never appears in the book! They focused on all of the wrong things (I will save you from the painstaking details - Chris was not spared. Ten points to him. He also has a degree in English Lit, but does not share my passion for these novels). Anyway -

Daniel Steel's books get epic four hour movies that are so long they can only be viewed on the weekends. I suspect that with this kind of length they might act out the story page by page from the books. What the hell? Give my girl Nora her props - don't churn out a crappy two hours and make my girl Willa look soft. The coolest thing about Willa is that she's an ass kicker - not a sniveler. She takes care of her own - she's a cowgirl in a true Annie Oakley kind of way. She's the best shot in the county - better than the guys, a stunning horseman and she knows all about ranching. She works like ten men and always seems to know what's right. I love her. I just flat out think she's the kind of lady I'd like to be if real life worked out like novels. That is the book that makes me want to write! That is the book that makes me want to find a character as tough as Willa and write about her. I would be forever grateful to Nora if she'd turn Willa and the gang into a series. There's so much that could happen out in Big Sky Country to support a series. Why oh why isn't she my character???

Again, digression.

So Lifetime TV, listen up - I'll be tuning into the other movies, but just know that I'm screaming about everything you're getting wrong from the comfort of my couch.

Just saying.

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