Author(s): Christine SparksDownload
John Merrick had lived for more than twenty years imprisoned in a body that condemned him to a miserable life in the workhouse and to humiliation as a circus sideshow freak. But beneath that tragic exterior, within that enormous and deformed head, thrived the soul of a poet, the heart of a dreamer, the longings of a man. Based on the extraordinary motion picture that captured the heart of America.
Some Reviews: 780 in Goodreads.com
Books that are based on a film are always difficult to craft, especially when most of your audience know what’s coming, but Sparks’ ability to accurately convey the poignancy that encapsulated the entirety of Joseph* Merrick’s life was more than enough to overcome this obstacle.
When reading, you have to actively engage with the words in order to absorb them, hence why the evocation of emotion is so much more potent in this scenario as opposed to the film, which simply requires you to sit back and passively watch. Both will inevitably make you teary-eyed, but my point is that through the medium of books you feel as if you are there with him, suffering as much as he through the incidents that we see occur.
Merrick was a man who, because of a slew of severe facial deformities (which were later conjectured to be Proteus Syndrome), lived a very isolated lifestyle due to his fear of being ridiculed and tormented. These worries were justified, however, as he spent his late adolescence through to his mid-twenties as a part of a freak-show. It was here that he was dubbed a freak for the first time, aggressively manhandled and beaten, whilst also being fed a bare minimum in his decrepit domain within the show’s grounds. Alone, cold and scared; can you imagine the terrors he must have endured throughout his short, turbulent life?
Sparks’ writing gracefully flows from page to page, allowing you to become lost within the world she so expertly describes. As a result, you feel the angst, the dread, as well as the sheer terror that Merrick has to endure; it’s rare to read a book that can evoke so much emotion. Perhaps it’s because Merrick was a real person who truly faced these abhorrent incidents that we feel so deeply saddened by reading it.
What a sad life experience. I’m glad Mr. Merrick good some light, love and peace in his life. It was beautiful, better than I expected with the book being based on a movie (though based on real life) and the emotions and experiences of Mr. Merrick and the doctor were well expressed. It made me feel sad, brought tears to my eyes during the horrible moments and i felt with Mr. Merrick – his terror, sadness and fear but also the small, or for him, big joys he got – his books, portraits, everyday things. I felt so happy with his experience at the theatre, how he was hooked and so into the play he watched and how happy he was.
A beautiful tale of friendship and how we should enjoy the life to its fullest, even those things that seems so small and unimportant.
As someone who has never watched the movie of the elephant man, I have to say that this is a beautiful, beautiful book. It really touched my heart and I fell so sorry for John Merrick (a.k.a. Joseph Merrick). The characters really touched my heart with their kindness and patience. This is book that I bought in hardcover and have now borrowed it to a friend to read. I fell in love with this book and even though it reminded me a little of Phantom by Susan Kay, the main difference was that the elephant man had a good, sweet heart that you cannot help but care for. I highly recommend reading this book, it is so worth it.
I enjoyed this book. The theme seems a bit trite, but the writing made the protagonist’s, John Merrick’s, pain real and believable. The depth of the evil in some characgers and the goodness in other characters were also made real by the author:
From the back of the book:
John Merrick had lived for more than twenty years imprisoned in a body that condemned him to a miserable life in the workhouse and to humiliation as a circus sideshow freak.
But beneath that tragic exterior, within that enormous head, thrived the soul of a poet, the heart of a dreamer, the longings of a man. Merrick was doomed to suffer forever-until the kind Dr. Treves gave him his first real home in the London Hospital and the town’s most beautiful and esteemed actress made possible Merrick’s charished dream of human contact-and love.
This is actually a book recommend by my Grandma. She is very good at knowing what I’d like.
The Elephant Man is based on the true story of Joseph Merrick (not sure why he’s called John in this novel.) I’m also not sure how much of this book is fabricated, so it has inspired me to research more into the life of Merrick. You know it’s a good book if you read it and still want to know more.
It’s truly a moving and heartbreaking story. Even more so by the fact it isn’t fictional. It shows the greatness and evil of human beings. John is such a kind loving person. People are quick to judge him due to his appearance but he constatly proves that there is more to us than our exterior.
A truly great read. Inspirational and fascinating.
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