Struck by Lightning


Struck by Lightning – Chris Colfer

As there was a MASSIVE lightning storm last night that kept me up until some ungodly hour, it seemed appropriate to review this book. I only finished it a few days ago so maybe Thor himself decided that he wanted to know what I thought of it and sent the lightning which made me think it was apt to talk about it.
Anyway, struck by lightning, the book, not the phenomenon.
First things first, I seem to have an issue with Chris Colfer. Which is weird because like, I think he’s incredibly talented, he’s frankly, one of the very few reasons why I actually bother to watch glee any more (the other reasons I can count on one hand: the cast, the awesome one liners, Blam, Darren Criss, Naya Rivera, Klaine and did I mention Darren Criss? Oh I did? Well, Darren Criss.) and the movie version of this was amazing. like, I properly loved it. The book I did not.
It wasn’t the story, which was exactly the same as the film, I just don’t like his writing style. Which I am very sorry about, because I really, really like Chris Colfer.
Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal follows the story of outcast high school senior Carson Phillips, who blackmails the most popular students in his school into contributing to his literary journal to bolster his college application; his goal in life is to get into Northwestern and eventually become the editor of The New Yorker. At once laugh-out-loud funny, deliciously dark, and remarkably smart, Struck By Lightning unearths the dirt that lies just below the surface of high school. At a time when bullying torments so many young people today, this unique and important novel sheds light with humor and wit on an issue that deeply resonates with countless teens and readers.
So, here’s the thing, II was ever so slightly excited about the Land of Stories, I bought a signed copy of the first one on my trip to Chicago and I actually couldn’t wait to start reading it. Only when I did, I was a little disappointed, it was just too obvious that it had been written over several years, it was too inconsistent. Which is a real shame because the story was such an awesome idea and when it was good it was reeeeeally good.
As such I’ve not read the second instalment yet, I did pick up this though around the same time as the TLOS and since reading that, was too scared to open it. Then I read Emma’s review and thought I’d give it a go, she made it sound much more consistent and in one style (and I kinda trust Emma’s judgement on most things).
I’ll be honest, it comes across much better on screen. Carson is a horrible character in print, like Oliver in submarine, not good. He’s far too whiney and judgemental and other characters actions are much better explained in the film version. Carson came across as a sassy, intelligent, slightly sarky kid in the film who just wanted to get the hell out of Clover and get the hell into the university of his dreams without much care about who he had to hurt to get there. And on screen, that was ok, because you saw how bad he had it and how much he had to get out of there. You also saw how the other characters treated him and how they too were just trying to muddle through and get on with life. In the book, yes, Carson tells you about how much he hates Clover and his peers, but what you see him do to them is much worse than what you see them do to him. Malorie also came across much better in the film, in the book version, like Carson, you just sort of despair at her. Perhaps this is Rebel Wilson’s genius rather than the character herself.
That said, as a social commentary of small town life and then general nonsensical notions that schools and governments and grown ups seem to insist on, its got everything it needs. I found myself agreeing with Carson on every single point about the school system, the hierarchy of society and the narrowmindedness of people. Carson has all the right ideas and maybe, he implements them in the right way, but it just makes him look bratty and horrid in the book. Sorry Chris.
So for that I recommend it. For the story, I recommend the film which I’m told is actually available to buy now after its limited cinematic release.
Perhaps my main issue with this book was that it was adapted from a screen play instead of the other way around, perhaps things got lost in translation a bit.
Either way, this book is better than actually being Struck by Lightning and the film is even better than that.


2 thoughts on “Struck by Lightning”

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