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John Irving's memoir begins with his account of the distinguished career and medical writings of the novelist's grandfather Dr. Frederick C. Irving, a renowned obstetrician and gynecologist, and includes Mr. Irving's incisive history of abortion politics in the United States. But My Movie Business focuses primarily on the thirteen years John Irving spent adapting his novel John Irving's memoir begins with his account of the distinguished career and medical writings of the novelist's grandfather Dr. Frederick C. Irving, a renowned obstetrician and gynecologist, and includes Mr. Irving's incisive history of abortion politics in the United States. But My Movie Business focuses primarily on the thirteen years John Irving spent adapting his novel The Cider House Rules for the screen--for four different directors. Mr. Irving also writes about the failed effort to make his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, into a movie; about two of the films that were made from his novels (but not from his screenplays), The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire; about his slow progress at shepherding his screenplay of A Son of the Circus into production. Not least, and in addition to its qualities as a memoir--anecdotal, comic, affectionate, and candid--My Movie Business is an insightful essay on the essential differences between writing a novel and writing a screenplay. The photographs in My Movie Business were taken by Stephen Vaughan, the still photographer on the set of The Cider House Rules--a Miramax production directed by Lasse Hallström, with Michael Caine in the role of Dr. Larch. Concurrently with the November 1999 release of the film, Talk Miramax Books will publish John Irving's screenplay.


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John Irving's memoir begins with his account of the distinguished career and medical writings of the novelist's grandfather Dr. Frederick C. Irving, a renowned obstetrician and gynecologist, and includes Mr. Irving's incisive history of abortion politics in the United States. But My Movie Business focuses primarily on the thirteen years John Irving spent adapting his novel John Irving's memoir begins with his account of the distinguished career and medical writings of the novelist's grandfather Dr. Frederick C. Irving, a renowned obstetrician and gynecologist, and includes Mr. Irving's incisive history of abortion politics in the United States. But My Movie Business focuses primarily on the thirteen years John Irving spent adapting his novel The Cider House Rules for the screen--for four different directors. Mr. Irving also writes about the failed effort to make his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, into a movie; about two of the films that were made from his novels (but not from his screenplays), The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire; about his slow progress at shepherding his screenplay of A Son of the Circus into production. Not least, and in addition to its qualities as a memoir--anecdotal, comic, affectionate, and candid--My Movie Business is an insightful essay on the essential differences between writing a novel and writing a screenplay. The photographs in My Movie Business were taken by Stephen Vaughan, the still photographer on the set of The Cider House Rules--a Miramax production directed by Lasse Hallström, with Michael Caine in the role of Dr. Larch. Concurrently with the November 1999 release of the film, Talk Miramax Books will publish John Irving's screenplay.

30 review for My Movie Business: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    This book resembled a cosy fireside chat with John Irving on the conversion of novels into screenplays. Although The Cider House Rules is the main subject under consideration, there are detours into his other novels that ended up as films, notably The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire, and the one that, try as he might, never made it to the cinema, his first novel, Setting Free the Bears. I wondered why the eminent novelist had considered writing this memoir of his dabbling in t This book resembled a cosy fireside chat with John Irving on the conversion of novels into screenplays. Although The Cider House Rules is the main subject under consideration, there are detours into his other novels that ended up as films, notably The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire, and the one that, try as he might, never made it to the cinema, his first novel, Setting Free the Bears. I wondered why the eminent novelist had considered writing this memoir of his dabbling in the movie business. When I realized that this book was written on the eve of the release of the film version of The Cider House Rules, I wondered whether the author was trying to absolve himself of any responsibility for the finished product. Why? Because movies do not reflect their book versions. They are slices of the novel, where scenes and characters come and go or are replaced depending on the director, the studio and audience tastes. The Cider House Rules had four directors during its journey to being filmed, and the screenplay, written by Irving, changed radically with each one. This is to be expected, for when compressing a story, some characters and scenes will be compromised or eliminated, and others created anew to compensate for the gaps in the story. Voice-over (narration in the novel) is a frowned upon device in the movies and is used sparingly. And yet it must have been a labour of angst for Irving to whom this book is close. He comes from a privileged medical family, and the book’s central character, Dr. Larch (played by Michael Caine in the movie), is modelled on the author’s grandfather. One thing that became clear to me when reading this “how to make a screenplay” book, was how contrived movie scripts are. Effect, marketability, timing, and resolved endings are more important than moral and political issues that the author makes central themes in his novel version. So while Irving the author would like to make abortion and it’s representative, Dr. Larch, the focus, the movie deems a romance between the orphan, Homer Wells, and the temptress, Candy, more important. A good read if one is interested in screenplays, and also for novelists who do not ever want their novels converted into movies.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Liisa

    I thought this "memoir" might help me to get back into John Irving`s writing, as I haven´t been enjoying his novels lately. Unfortunately, if anything, it steered me farther away. I did however like learning about the movie business and the surprisingly complicated process of turning a book into a movie, but the text is just really dry. I couldn´t help being bored even though this is quite a short book. My Movie Business didn´t even make me want to watch the movies it discusses so unless you´re I thought this "memoir" might help me to get back into John Irving`s writing, as I haven´t been enjoying his novels lately. Unfortunately, if anything, it steered me farther away. I did however like learning about the movie business and the surprisingly complicated process of turning a book into a movie, but the text is just really dry. I couldn´t help being bored even though this is quite a short book. My Movie Business didn´t even make me want to watch the movies it discusses so unless you´re a dedicated John Irving fan and adore the movie adaptations of his novels, I can´t really recommend this.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    The main gist of this book was to explain how some of his books were made into movies with the main one being "Cider House" because he wrote the screenplay for years. It touched on all his novels and it helped me remember something about the books I had read a long time ago but the most interesting and the one given the most information was "Cider House". He explains that his grandfather was an OB/GYN who graduated from Harvard in 1910 and wrote 3 books. One his books was published in 1942 and ga The main gist of this book was to explain how some of his books were made into movies with the main one being "Cider House" because he wrote the screenplay for years. It touched on all his novels and it helped me remember something about the books I had read a long time ago but the most interesting and the one given the most information was "Cider House". He explains that his grandfather was an OB/GYN who graduated from Harvard in 1910 and wrote 3 books. One his books was published in 1942 and gave clinical details of the early days of obstetrics and gynecological surgery and our laws about abortion that go back to very early days of this country and how they have gone through numerous changes. Many of the stories in "Cider House" were based on real cases his grandfather had written about. Assuming that the information here is correct (and I would guess that it is), it was very informative but just adds more to my conflicted thoughts on the whole abortion issue; doesn't give me an easy out-just more food for thought on an issue that will probably never be settled.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Fionnuala

    Repetitive, dull and self-aggrandizing. Can't believe this is the same JI who wrote Garp, Owen Meany etc. I learned nothing about movies, nothing about JI and nothing about the process of adapting novels to the screen. One of the laziest books I've read in a long time. At least it's short.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Richard Jespers

    I don’t believe this is one of Irving’s best outings. Ostensibly, it is mostly about bringing three of his novels to the big screen: The Cider House Rules, The World According to Garp, and The Hotel New Hampshire. A Son of the Circus gets some attention, but then it ultimately is not made into a film. For almost 170 pages (along with a large number of photographs), he tells the reader about the experience of writing the screenplay for The Cider House Rules, getting his son cast for a minor role, I don’t believe this is one of Irving’s best outings. Ostensibly, it is mostly about bringing three of his novels to the big screen: The Cider House Rules, The World According to Garp, and The Hotel New Hampshire. A Son of the Circus gets some attention, but then it ultimately is not made into a film. For almost 170 pages (along with a large number of photographs), he tells the reader about the experience of writing the screenplay for The Cider House Rules, getting his son cast for a minor role, and tells about his relationships with four different directors, right up to the end, when the cast wraps the film about an hour from Irving’s home in Maine. Having read six of his novels and his book of essays, I believe Irving usually swarms the page with important detail: sensory detail, historical detail, emotional detail, whatever is required to bring alive the scene or the chapter. However, here he seems to shorthand a lot of that information. Anecdotes that could be opened up are not. Arguments with others on the set could be brought alive; mostly they are not. He is privileged to be on the set of a major motion picture (Miramax) with access to everyone from the best boy to the seamstress to someone in charge of mess. And yet he doesn’t seem to want to share the finer details of that experience with the reader. If he had, the book could easily have been 250 pages or more. Disappointing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Cosby

    This really should be called "The Making of Cider House Rules." While Irving does discuss Garp and Hotel New Hampshire a little bit, you can tell that Cider House was top of mind when he was writing this. (The simplest explanation being that Cider House was his most recent movie effort at the time.) Because this was a toilet book for me, I heartily enjoyed it -- the chapters are small and easily consumable in a single bathroom session, and Irving's blunt, sentimental language shines through in t This really should be called "The Making of Cider House Rules." While Irving does discuss Garp and Hotel New Hampshire a little bit, you can tell that Cider House was top of mind when he was writing this. (The simplest explanation being that Cider House was his most recent movie effort at the time.) Because this was a toilet book for me, I heartily enjoyed it -- the chapters are small and easily consumable in a single bathroom session, and Irving's blunt, sentimental language shines through in this memoir. However, as a solid, full-attention, straight-through-read, this book is simply not enough. It is really more of a series of quick conversations with Irving, as opposed to a well thought out narrative. So, as long as you approach it as such, this book can augment your knowledge of Irving and his movies, but only as an add-on to your other experiences with his writing. And, if you don't know Irving very well, do not start here.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Keen

    This is a very short memoir/long essay of sorts about Irving turning his novel “The Cider House Rules” into a screenplay. I have not read the book or seen the film, but after reading this, there are enough spoilers and details to extinguish most of the mystery within both. The author also gives us some insights into many of his previous experiences in trying to adapt some of his other novels onto the silver screen, with some predictably mixed, though entertaining results. There is some interestin This is a very short memoir/long essay of sorts about Irving turning his novel “The Cider House Rules” into a screenplay. I have not read the book or seen the film, but after reading this, there are enough spoilers and details to extinguish most of the mystery within both. The author also gives us some insights into many of his previous experiences in trying to adapt some of his other novels onto the silver screen, with some predictably mixed, though entertaining results. There is some interesting historical background information in here, particularly in relation to abortion and medicine within the US. But this is also, in part a pro-life essay/novel/film and Irving himself says, “Politically speaking, if I were to make a list of people who should see ‘The Cider House Rules’, two groups would go to the top of the list: politicians who call themselves pro-life (meaning anti-abortion) and twelve year old girls.” He recalls one story when he was doing a book signing and a pro-life woman cut in line to tell him, “We just want people to be responsible for their children.” as she patted his hand. He patted her hand in return and quoted from his own book, “If you expect people to be responsible for their children, you have to give them the right to choose whether or not to have children.” With this basically being a promotion for the film, we get plenty of script excerpts and even small passages from the original novel. There are also many run of the mill images and stills from the movie, including three of the author himself, who plays the role of ‘the disapproving stationmaster’. This is sprinkled with some colourful detail about his rather snobbish sounding, yet highly talented grandfather, who was a doctor and Harvard graduate whose stories informed many aspects of the novel in question. There are some interesting insights into Irving's writing process but owing to the nature of the subject it can get a little tedious and self-indulgent. And yet this does possess a quirky, understated appeal. Some of Irving’s various digressions can often give it the feel of sitting down with an old timer by an open fire, recounting really interesting old war stories, which really come to life nicely.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kevidently

    John Irving is one of my favorite novelists, but I haven't read much of his nonfiction. He might not HAVE much available nonfiction, but I always enjoy his forewords and afterwords to his novels. I like novelists with introspection. I had passed this slim book by more than once, and even now I don't know why. My journey with John Irving began with The Cider House Rules. The film was coming out in fewer than two weeks, and my friend Tracey and I challenged each other to finish the book before we John Irving is one of my favorite novelists, but I haven't read much of his nonfiction. He might not HAVE much available nonfiction, but I always enjoy his forewords and afterwords to his novels. I like novelists with introspection. I had passed this slim book by more than once, and even now I don't know why. My journey with John Irving began with The Cider House Rules. The film was coming out in fewer than two weeks, and my friend Tracey and I challenged each other to finish the book before we went out to see it. I had never read a book like Cider House Rules (likely because I'd never read any Dickens), but I immediately fell for the author's way with words, his dialogue, his semicomic situations. I plowed through Cider House ... and then was hugely underwhelmed by the movie. I was mad about every change, especially the wholesale elimination of Melony (a hugely important character) from the whole thing. I didn't think Michael Caine deserved the award for Best Supporting Actor (I was holding out for Haley Joel Osment in Sixth Sense, Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile, or Tom Cruise in Magnolia). Now, looking back, I may have unfairly maligned the film. Reading My Movie Business, that seems all but assured. I loved hearing the behind-the-scenes stuff about movies based on Irving's books, even the stuff that kind of makes him seem like a jerk (one insight: Rob Lowe was a hot teen actor; Jodie Foster was not). My biggest wish is that the book didn't end with the wrapping of the film. I wanted to see how Irving reacted to the popularity of it, winning an Oscar, etc. etc. You always try to rate art on what's there rather than what isn't, but this seems like a missed opportunity. (Caveat: there is some fictionalized discussion of this in Until I Find You, but it's not the same). All in all, I liked this book a lot, and it's always good to "discover" a work by a writer you love that you haven't yet dug into. Which reminds me, I've never read Setting Free the Bears. Time to jump in to that pre-Garp world!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan Olesen

    I love John Irving's books - he's one of my top 5 authors - and I was hoping this was going to include some background on Garp, my favorite of his works, both the book and the movie, but 90% of the book focuses on The Cider House Rules, a book I read when it first came out and a movie I've never seen, tho I would still like to. Sort of. Cider House Rules was, for me, one of those books that sticks with you so much, you never need to reread it, or see it on the screen, because it was so vivid an I love John Irving's books - he's one of my top 5 authors - and I was hoping this was going to include some background on Garp, my favorite of his works, both the book and the movie, but 90% of the book focuses on The Cider House Rules, a book I read when it first came out and a movie I've never seen, tho I would still like to. Sort of. Cider House Rules was, for me, one of those books that sticks with you so much, you never need to reread it, or see it on the screen, because it was so vivid and intense and detailed you didn't need a movie. And it sounds like the movie was drastically different, due to the condensing of a huge book into 120 minutes. Remember, a page of dialogue generally equals a minute of screen time, so a 560 page book cut down to even 130 pages is a huge loss of storyline. And Irving does explain the how and why. it took him 18 years to manage to get the movie to screen. This book was okay, but really, it's a book about the difficulties of turning a novel into a movie. It was nice, but nothing special, nothing I'd hoped. It was nice information to know - what a killer cast Cider House Rules had! - but I'm not into writing screenplays, so the book had little to offer me outside of a nice little aside. Thankfully, it's short and reads very fast. It's not a bad book - not at all - if that's your thing. Sadly, it's not mine, and I found it rather blah because of that. C'est la vie.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Could anyone feel more self-important than Mr. Irving? There is nothing of note here. It is a sanitized, glossing-over of both novel writing and filmmaking. A reader unfamiliar with either will learn absolutely nothing. I'm still baffled as to the point of this book at all. I'm sorry to say that the most interesting and memorable points in the 'story' are in the beginning. Once Mr. Irving abandons his remembrance of his grandfather, you'd might as well stop reading. Indeed, I'm inclined to try a Could anyone feel more self-important than Mr. Irving? There is nothing of note here. It is a sanitized, glossing-over of both novel writing and filmmaking. A reader unfamiliar with either will learn absolutely nothing. I'm still baffled as to the point of this book at all. I'm sorry to say that the most interesting and memorable points in the 'story' are in the beginning. Once Mr. Irving abandons his remembrance of his grandfather, you'd might as well stop reading. Indeed, I'm inclined to try and find his grandfather's book, and if I do that will have been worth reading this one. I picked up this book because I love 'The Cider House Rules', and really did not love the movie. As odd as it seems to dedicate and entire book to one book to film adaptation, I thought it might shed light on why that might be. In other words, what were they thinking? In some ways that question was answered, so I suppose that's why it felt worthy of three stars and not fewer.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    Mostly stories from the lengthy process of turning his novel 'The Cider House Rules' into a movie with little detours into details of his other publications and their movie versions, this book provided a perfect entry into John Irving's world for me. I must admit that after a good friend and bookseller warned me that 'his books might just be a little too distasteful for my tender age' (which, back then, she was certainly right about) I never showed any interest in one of Mr. Irving's books or th Mostly stories from the lengthy process of turning his novel 'The Cider House Rules' into a movie with little detours into details of his other publications and their movie versions, this book provided a perfect entry into John Irving's world for me. I must admit that after a good friend and bookseller warned me that 'his books might just be a little too distasteful for my tender age' (which, back then, she was certainly right about) I never showed any interest in one of Mr. Irving's books or their movie adaptations anymore... until a colleague I often share books with lent me this one. Talking about what he was trying to say in the novel 'The Cider House Rules' and where and why the plot needed to be changed for the movie adaptation in a calm but humorous conversation tone that made him seem a nice enough person, Mr. Irving now has me quite curious about the movie... and I might at some point need to pick up one or two of his novels, too.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Martha Schwalbe

    As with all of Irving's work, the interesting stories make the writing more interesting. I read Cinder House Rules when it was first published and saw the movie when it was released. In this book, Irving shares stories of his grandfather and the inspiration for the book. I enjoyed reading that both he and his son had parts in the movie. As with Joyce Carol Oates and Margaret Atwood, I will read anything by John Irving. I read these authors as a teenager and have continued to anticipate their next As with all of Irving's work, the interesting stories make the writing more interesting. I read Cinder House Rules when it was first published and saw the movie when it was released. In this book, Irving shares stories of his grandfather and the inspiration for the book. I enjoyed reading that both he and his son had parts in the movie. As with Joyce Carol Oates and Margaret Atwood, I will read anything by John Irving. I read these authors as a teenager and have continued to anticipate their next novels.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike Dirksen

    I won t say much more than that i enjoyed reading this book, because it explores the joys, and sometimes also the frustrations of a renowned author getting his favorite books brought to the big screen. It also goes into the relationship this author had with his family and, especially, his famous doctor grandfather. It is very flattering for any author to have even one book made into a movie, but three or four of his were, and he seems to have gotten alot of enjoyment and a genuine satisfaction o I won t say much more than that i enjoyed reading this book, because it explores the joys, and sometimes also the frustrations of a renowned author getting his favorite books brought to the big screen. It also goes into the relationship this author had with his family and, especially, his famous doctor grandfather. It is very flattering for any author to have even one book made into a movie, but three or four of his were, and he seems to have gotten alot of enjoyment and a genuine satisfaction out of every aspect of each film making project. He even enjoyed the three times that there was an attempt to make The Cider House Rules into a releasable movie that failed. There is some discussion of the way Hollywood has of leaving out, in the name of scoring more profits at the box office, some of the most essential elements of the story line thought to be too vulgar or little understood. I would really encourage others to read this somewhat unpopular book, though, as it is rare that a man of letters will devote an entire book to just to all that went into adapting his books to the silver screen.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Linnea

    A bit repetitive in parts, but I enjoyed reading about one of my favorite movies (and favorite novels). It was probably more interesting to me because the movie was partially filmed in the town I went to college in, as well as a drive-in movie theatre I frequented as a kid.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    3.5/5 I think I might need a Cider House project - a reread of the book and a rewatch of the movie (with this book by my side).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Lowe

    I bought this when it came out in hardcover in 1999. It took me nearly 20 years to read it. I liked it. I enjoyed reading about what went into adapting Irving's novels into films.

  17. 4 out of 5

    E.H. Nolan

    I've seen the film version of The Cider House Rules at least ten times, and my worn copy of the novel is one of my most prized books. I don't even let guests touch it; I've been known to buy them their own copy rather than let them preview the story with mine. Needless to say, I was more than interested to find out why John Irving decided to cut out major parts of his novel for the film adaptation. No spoilers here, but the film is drastically different than the book. I thought this memoir would I've seen the film version of The Cider House Rules at least ten times, and my worn copy of the novel is one of my most prized books. I don't even let guests touch it; I've been known to buy them their own copy rather than let them preview the story with mine. Needless to say, I was more than interested to find out why John Irving decided to cut out major parts of his novel for the film adaptation. No spoilers here, but the film is drastically different than the book. I thought this memoir would be a detailed description answering every one of my questions. After I read it, most of my questions have remained unanswered. It's not a bad read; it just wasn't what I was expecting. A good portion of the book discusses his journey while writing The Cider House Rules, and an equally lengthy section details his experiences with Hollywood's adaptations of his other novels. I thought the entire book was going to center on The Cider House Rules. I thought he would provide more answers as to why he made the cuts and changes he did, rather than devoting an entire chapter to his hopes for the promotional poster of the film, which had not yet been released at the time. Still, if you're a John Irving fan and would like a quick read that you can imagine was a fireside chat between you two at a quiet party, you might enjoy this book. http://hottoastyrag.weebly.com/my-mov...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Aj

    John Irving is my favorite author and I had been waiting to read this book. Unfortunately, because it's been several years since I've read most of his novels, many of the references he makes in this memoir were distant memories for me. The memoir focuses on the writing of Cider House Rules and the subsequent making of the movie. I would strongly discourage anyone from reading this book who has NOT yet read Cider House Rules as there are spoilers. I haven't seen the movie, and I wished I had, alt John Irving is my favorite author and I had been waiting to read this book. Unfortunately, because it's been several years since I've read most of his novels, many of the references he makes in this memoir were distant memories for me. The memoir focuses on the writing of Cider House Rules and the subsequent making of the movie. I would strongly discourage anyone from reading this book who has NOT yet read Cider House Rules as there are spoilers. I haven't seen the movie, and I wished I had, although I think if I see it now, it will be with greater appreciation for the creative choices made. This book made me want to return to Irving's oevre and reread many of his books expecially Cider House Rules, but also Son of the Circus and Widow for One Year, also referenced in this memoir. My favorite parts of this book were Irving's discussion of his grandfather, a well-regarded ob/gyn, and his grandfather's writings and Irving's introjections of his personal beliefs about women's reproductive health, which totally align with my own. Finally, Irving clarified that he does not "foreshadow" (which I've said is one of my favorite aspects of his literary style) but rather "flashforwards." Mr. Irving, I apologize for my incorrect description of your literary style and humbly sit, book in hand, corrected. Although I wish I had read this book when I was more well-immersed in Irving's oevre, I am not sorry I read it as it gave a glimpse into the man behind my most beloved books and confirmed my suspicion that I would enjoy his company - if I didn't think I would be so totally in awe that I would remain absolutely silent throughout our meeting. Finally, I appreciate this memoir for the very reason that it DOES make me want to return and reread many of my favorite books. If there's anything I love more than being in the middle of a good long book, it's returning to a beloved book and becoming reacquainted with long lost friends. And now I have the perfect excuse to do so and I will be able to to so with fresh insight into the creation of these delightful novels.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    After three of his novels became motion pictures scripted by other writers (The World According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire and A Prayer for Owen Meany, which was rechristened on screen as Simon Birch), and two of his own screenplays languished unproduced, Irving finally got his chance to adapt one of his novels to film. The focus of this slim, eloquent memoir is Irving's 13-year struggle to bring The Cider House Rules to the big screen, and its passage through the hands of various producers, f After three of his novels became motion pictures scripted by other writers (The World According to Garp, Hotel New Hampshire and A Prayer for Owen Meany, which was rechristened on screen as Simon Birch), and two of his own screenplays languished unproduced, Irving finally got his chance to adapt one of his novels to film. The focus of this slim, eloquent memoir is Irving's 13-year struggle to bring The Cider House Rules to the big screen, and its passage through the hands of various producers, four different directors and numerous rewrites. Backtracking to illuminate the origin of the novel's pro-abortion stance, Irving introduces readers to his grandfather, an obstetrician and gynecologist, and to the history of abortion. (Abortions didn't become illegal throughout the U.S. until 1846, when physicians sought to take the procedure--and financial rewards--out of the hands of midwives, Irving reveals.) He also offers a fascinating and detailed look at how he trimmed his huge novel into a workable screenplay. Although he professes to love the final product, Irving details each scene and line that was cut as the film was edited down to two hours. While he claims to be pleased with the screen treatments of his previous novels, he is disappointingly silent on the subject of Simon Birch (he refused the filmmakers the use of the protagonist's name and also insisted that the screen credit state that the film was "Suggested by the novel").

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    3 STARS "'WHEN I FEEL LIKE BEING A DIRECTOR, I WRITE A NOVEL' John Irving John Irving's memoir begins with his account of the distinguished career and medical writings of the novelist's grandfather Dr Frederick C. Irving, a renowned obstetrician and gynaecologist, and includes Mr Irving's incisive history of abortion politics in the United States. But My Movie Business focuses primarily on the thirteen years John Irving spent adapting his novel The Cider House Rules for the screen - for four diff 3 STARS "'WHEN I FEEL LIKE BEING A DIRECTOR, I WRITE A NOVEL' John Irving John Irving's memoir begins with his account of the distinguished career and medical writings of the novelist's grandfather Dr Frederick C. Irving, a renowned obstetrician and gynaecologist, and includes Mr Irving's incisive history of abortion politics in the United States. But My Movie Business focuses primarily on the thirteen years John Irving spent adapting his novel The Cider House Rules for the screen - for four different directors. The movie was nominated for seven Oscars, winning two - for Best Adapted Screenplay for John Irving and Best Supporting Actor for Michael Caine. Mr Irving also writes about the failed effort to make his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, into a movie; about two of the films that were made from his novels (but not from his screenplays), The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire; about his slow progress at shepherding his screenplay of A Son of the Circus into production. Not least, and in addition to its qualities as a memoir - anecdotal, comic, affectionate and candid - My Movie Business is an insightful essay on the essential differences between writing a novel and writing a screenplay." (From Amazon) I enjoyed this memoir on Irving's books being adapted to film. If you read his books and watch his films I would recommend this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Johnvano

    John Irving describes the 14-year process of bringing his novel, "The Cider House Rules" to the screen. An interesting look at the differences between novel and screenplay writing and the concessions made by each form. "The Cider House Rules" is a well-made and entertaining film, I never read the book but am sure it lines up with the best of Irving's works. The story is Irving's chance to develop his views on abortion--those being that it is a compassionate practice for mother and the presumed o John Irving describes the 14-year process of bringing his novel, "The Cider House Rules" to the screen. An interesting look at the differences between novel and screenplay writing and the concessions made by each form. "The Cider House Rules" is a well-made and entertaining film, I never read the book but am sure it lines up with the best of Irving's works. The story is Irving's chance to develop his views on abortion--those being that it is a compassionate practice for mother and the presumed orphan. He includes a great deal of historical details about the practice, informed by his grandfather's medical writings, all quite interesting, but filtered through the author's perception. Nowhere does he acknowledge the Giver of life who alone is authorized to give and take life. Every life, born or unborn, should matter because it is given this sanctity. May our pro-life rhetoric match our compassion and actions always.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    Being a John Irving fan, this book was a must read. I have read every book he has written. To me every one of his books has a certain je nais sais pas that makes it a special reading experience. Perhaps it is the recurrent setting in Vienna? Well, that and so much more. In this book he writes of his collaboration with producers and directors to bring "Cider House Rules" to the big screen. Often times frustrating and humorous, it clearly shows the difference between the written word meant to be re Being a John Irving fan, this book was a must read. I have read every book he has written. To me every one of his books has a certain je nais sais pas that makes it a special reading experience. Perhaps it is the recurrent setting in Vienna? Well, that and so much more. In this book he writes of his collaboration with producers and directors to bring "Cider House Rules" to the big screen. Often times frustrating and humorous, it clearly shows the difference between the written word meant to be read and the written word meant to be spoken and filmed. It clearly demonstrates why some books should never be made into a movie while some lend themselves to an easy translation to the screen. A great and informative read with quite a bit of explication about his inner thoughts on several of his books, with emphasis on Cider House Rules. I finally found out why he sets many of his books in Vienna: he attended college there. Aha!

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Macpherson

    I tried to read this a while back, but couldn't get into it. The first fifty pages deals with the of abortion and the role Irving's grandfather played in it as a respected OB/GYN. This was a slog and I gave up. Last week, my wife and I saw Irving speak in New Hampshire, and I felt the need to try a book of his soon. It was snowing, we were in the house, I figured I would give it another shot. The first fifty pages was still a slog, but the rest of the book was good. Conversational, a little bitc I tried to read this a while back, but couldn't get into it. The first fifty pages deals with the of abortion and the role Irving's grandfather played in it as a respected OB/GYN. This was a slog and I gave up. Last week, my wife and I saw Irving speak in New Hampshire, and I felt the need to try a book of his soon. It was snowing, we were in the house, I figured I would give it another shot. The first fifty pages was still a slog, but the rest of the book was good. Conversational, a little bitchy, it tells about all of his interactions with the movie business, though it did not mention the Owen Meany/ Simon Birch broohaha. I liked it. I won't remember much of it in a few more days, but it was fun listening to Irving prattle on for a few hours while I watched our drive way fill up with snow.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christen

    Read this very quickly. I was interested in it more for his discussion of his grandfather's career in obstetrics (and writings pertaining thereto), and the history of abortion in the U.S., and while the discussion there is brief and wanting, it was interesting. The Writer Writing About Writing stuff -- which comprises the book as a whole -- would probably be off-putting to most people, but as a fiction writer I was interested in his (surprisingly non-diva-like, at least for the most part) discus Read this very quickly. I was interested in it more for his discussion of his grandfather's career in obstetrics (and writings pertaining thereto), and the history of abortion in the U.S., and while the discussion there is brief and wanting, it was interesting. The Writer Writing About Writing stuff -- which comprises the book as a whole -- would probably be off-putting to most people, but as a fiction writer I was interested in his (surprisingly non-diva-like, at least for the most part) discussion of how he went about translating the book to the film. Overall, though, not something I'd recommend to many folks, unless they're reeeeally interested in the topics at hand.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rose Harmon

    Fans of John Irving will love this memoir. As a fan of his novels it was a joy to read as it more than just his dealings with the movie business. Reading it gave me more insight on Irving's motivation to write "The Cider House Rules" and make sure it was made into a film. He does write about his other novels and their film adaptions, but Cider House is the heart and soul of the memoir. Along with it Irving intertwined his family history, intense research and the politics of abortion as motivator Fans of John Irving will love this memoir. As a fan of his novels it was a joy to read as it more than just his dealings with the movie business. Reading it gave me more insight on Irving's motivation to write "The Cider House Rules" and make sure it was made into a film. He does write about his other novels and their film adaptions, but Cider House is the heart and soul of the memoir. Along with it Irving intertwined his family history, intense research and the politics of abortion as motivators for the novel and film. Even if you have only seen the movie "The Cider House Rules" this memoir would still be an enjoyable read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    This book was required reading for my film appreciation class and without it being required I never would have read it. I can understand the gist on why it was written as to somewhat explain the road from novel to movie, however it mostly read like an author with too much creative control of a movie hindering it from being completed for over 14 years. I'm not dissing Irving's writing in anyway aside from this book feeling unnecessary when the novel and movie speak for themselves. That said Irvin This book was required reading for my film appreciation class and without it being required I never would have read it. I can understand the gist on why it was written as to somewhat explain the road from novel to movie, however it mostly read like an author with too much creative control of a movie hindering it from being completed for over 14 years. I'm not dissing Irving's writing in anyway aside from this book feeling unnecessary when the novel and movie speak for themselves. That said Irving comes across in this book as a snob, with again too much creative control of a project given to him.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    This was a quick read and an interesting look at Irving's experience with turning his books into movies. It centers around his more than 14-year-long voyage to bring The Cider House Rules to the screen, which made me really want to re-read the book and re-watch the movie, but he also mentions his other movie-making experiences. It was a short book, and it didn't delve too deeply into the process of turning your own book into a movie, though he does touch on the difficulty of making a long and co This was a quick read and an interesting look at Irving's experience with turning his books into movies. It centers around his more than 14-year-long voyage to bring The Cider House Rules to the screen, which made me really want to re-read the book and re-watch the movie, but he also mentions his other movie-making experiences. It was a short book, and it didn't delve too deeply into the process of turning your own book into a movie, though he does touch on the difficulty of making a long and complex novel into a 2-hour film.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Celeste

    As a huge Irving fan who could not wait for the movie The Cider House Rules to come out, I found this account of John's writing of the screenplay for the movie fascinating. I still find myself thinking of this book when I see movies adapted from novels I have read. Irving describes the choices and changes that he struggled with in bringing his novel to the screen and answered to some extent one of my burning questions about the film; why no Melony. This book is probably best appreciated if one h As a huge Irving fan who could not wait for the movie The Cider House Rules to come out, I found this account of John's writing of the screenplay for the movie fascinating. I still find myself thinking of this book when I see movies adapted from novels I have read. Irving describes the choices and changes that he struggled with in bringing his novel to the screen and answered to some extent one of my burning questions about the film; why no Melony. This book is probably best appreciated if one has both read the novel and seen the movie.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wilson Mui

    Easy to read, and entertaining. It's a short little memoir and it's broken up into very very digestible chapters (maybe 5 - 10 pages long, some much shorter). I would say a good 50% of them have real insight in not only his screenwriting but his novel composition as well. When you read a John Irving novel everything is so precise and well placed that I never think it actually takes down and dirty work to place them in those precise places. Now I realize how much thought (and obviously natural ta Easy to read, and entertaining. It's a short little memoir and it's broken up into very very digestible chapters (maybe 5 - 10 pages long, some much shorter). I would say a good 50% of them have real insight in not only his screenwriting but his novel composition as well. When you read a John Irving novel everything is so precise and well placed that I never think it actually takes down and dirty work to place them in those precise places. Now I realize how much thought (and obviously natural talent) goes into both his novels and his screenplay.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lesliewithredhair

    Only for John Irving fans, and if you want a longer more in depth history read "Trying to save Piggy Sneed". This is mostly about adapting The Cider House Rules for film. I have loved the book since I first read it in High School, so much so I was terrified to watch the movie, lest it destroy my mental vision of the book. However it did force me to dig the paperback out of the basement and re-read it since its not available on the Kindle. (Neither was Owen Meany which I felt compelled to read af Only for John Irving fans, and if you want a longer more in depth history read "Trying to save Piggy Sneed". This is mostly about adapting The Cider House Rules for film. I have loved the book since I first read it in High School, so much so I was terrified to watch the movie, lest it destroy my mental vision of the book. However it did force me to dig the paperback out of the basement and re-read it since its not available on the Kindle. (Neither was Owen Meany which I felt compelled to read after that!)

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