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Posted December 19, 2007
Sprawling New Yorker Stuff
As screenwriter Charlie Kaufman in the movie Adaptation, Nicolas Cage is frustrated with the assignment of adapting The Orchid Thief into a screenplay. 'It's that sprawling New Yorker 'stuff'' Cage complains, yet he admires the book for its beauty and longing and truthfulness. Well, Cage/Kaufman was right on all accounts. The Orchid Thief 'not accurately represented in the movie, in case you were wondering' is sprawling, and beautiful. Orlean wrote herself into the story of John Laroche, who was caught stealing orchids and other rare plants out of Florida's Fakahatchee State Preserve, and Kaufman follows suit by writing himself into the movie. Orlean took a very minor event and investigated it as thoroughly as possible, taking several detours throughout the book to further examine the history of orchid obsession, shady Florida land deals, and the Seminole Indian tribe as well as various infamous historical figures of same. Orlean's writing style is that of a chatty but extremely well-informed friend. Run-on sentences and extremely long paragraphs -- I saw more than a few that were over a page long -- are the order of the day, thick with historical research and a wacky cast of characters that rivals anything set to print by Elmore Leonard or Carl Hiaasen. Orlean's rambling style and frequent diversions from course were distracting to me, but it was marvelous how she kept it interesting and pulled everything together with the theme of what we do in the name of passion. Like Dan Brown's celebrated efforts on Christian History, I never knew orchids could be so interesting.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 24, 2004
It's eloquent really.. I'm not much of a history buff as my friends but I was intruiged by the history of orchids and how mankind is involved with them. I would be lying if I said I finished the book but so far it's splendid. I saw the movie Adaptation and knew I had to read this book. It hasn't disappointed me.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 11, 2003
It doesn't always have to be about something big...
If you know good writing when you read it, you should appreciate this book. Framed around the eccentricities of a man you've never heard of and wouldn't necessarily ever befriend, the author reveals a cult of sorts - that of orchid growers/collectors, and along the way shares fascinating information, including but not limited to, the history of Florida from it's wild stages to it's rapid and enveloping development. She becomes almost as obsessed as her subjects, trying desperately to lay eyes on something she has been convinced is true beauty. Althoug at times long and tedious, the story is rewarding in its telling of a tale of self discovery, and not just the author's. A good read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2009
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