What I've Noticed While Reading Kathy Reichs
Posted 22 January 2009 in Books by Catriona
Now, in order to read this post without tutting and shaking your head, it’s necessary for you to know three things:
1. I’ve never read any Kathy Reichs before.
2. I’m not quite one hundred pages through Deja Dead, the first book.
3. Everything I know about Kathy Reichs, therefore, I learned from watching Bones.
My startling conclusion, then, will come as no surprise to anyone whose familiar with both texts: they are nothing alike.
(See, I get to the heart of the big, serious issues on this blog.)
It’s true, though. Now, I’m not claiming that Bones is the best television out there.
I’m glad they dropped much of the whole “Temperance doesn’t understand pop culture references, because she’s a scientist and serious and stuff,” because that was becoming increasingly implausible.
Angela, too, has come to drive me insane over the course of the last series or so: I’d like her to realise that there are some problems and unhappinesses in life that can’t be solved by sleeping with a range of different people, but I don’t think there are any problems in Angela’s life that can’t be solved in that way. (Although the fact that her father is one of the members of ZZ Top? That makes me laugh every time, it’s so uncontextualised and therefore amusingly surreal.)
Hodgins, too, is coming to annoy me, too—purely by reason of his association with Angela and the fact that he got caught up in one of my least favourite TV plots—should they be together? Yes! Oh, but now we’ve lost the tension. Break them up!
And I’m not getting into the whole Zack thing right now, because I don’t have the time or the patience.
Still, I watch it, and I make sure that I’m not watching it during dinner, and I laugh at intentional jokes.
There’s not much laughing to be done in the novels. Seriously—they’re not funny at all. Which is fair enough, I suppose: grotesquely mistreated corpses aren’t really supposed to be funny.
(Does that make me a bad person? Laughing at the TV series? Oh, well.)
I do like the facts that the books are bilingual and the details on Montreal, but I’m not doing much giggling.
But the issue I’ve really noticed is a fairly standard one in these types of adaptations: the television Tempe seems to be much younger than the one in the books.
Now, I don’t know for sure how old book-Tempe is. But according to Wikipedia (and why would Wikipedia lie to me?), television-Tempe is my age: thirty two, born in 1976. Book-Tempe must be older than that: in Deja Dead, published in 1997, she has a college-age daughter. Even if the daughter is only eighteen and book-Tempe was young when she gave birth, there’s no way she’s as young as twenty-one.
Television-Tempe, at thirty-two, seems barely old enough to have completed undergraduate studies (four years) and a Ph.D. (five years, although I seem to remember she has a dual Ph.D.? Is that right?). Sure, that gives her, at a generous estimate, at least five years post-graduation, but then the programme’s been running for four years and she certainly wasn’t positioned as an early career researcher in the first season.
But, then, isn’t this fairly typical? One of the reasons I liked The Closer—well, liked it until I completely forgot about it and then never watched it again—was that the actress actually seemed old enough to have her character’s attainments.
That’s rare, though, and it seems to be getting rarer—though perhaps I’ve just reached an age where people seem too young for their attainments? I know I find myself looking at medical doctors in advertisements for A Current Affair and thinking, “You’re not a doctor! What are you, about twelve?”
Maybe I should hold my breath for an adaptation of Elizabeth Moon’s Familias Regnant series that casts a nineteen-year-old as Heris Serrano.