I went to see the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” this afternoon. Cold January days on which the temperature barely edges above zero (and we won’t even talk about the wind child) allow me the guilty pleasure of foregoing all the work I could catch up on and heading for a movie theater. “Benjamin Button” piqued my interest, especially after the film received 13 Academy Award nominations. I’ve also got a fascination with its quirky theme, based on the the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story from his Tales of the Jazz Age collection (1922) which I once read in a literature class.
Reviewers of the movie say it is adapted from the F. Scott Fitzgerald story, but I saw very few similarities of the movie plot line to the story beyond the basic kernel of a baby born as an old man who ages backwards to eventually end up as an infant. Oops, I told you the ending, although I’m sure you would have deduced it from all the movie reviews.
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, all 2 hours 48 minutes of it — and give it my personal 2 thumbs up. Then I came home and re-read the short story. The full-text is on Project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/6695 From the online text: This story was inspired by a remark of Mark Twain’s to the effect that it was a pity that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst part at the end.
Project Gutenberg is a project that began in 1971. The Project digitizes books in the public domain through the efforts of donors and volunteers. It began as text and now includes a selection of audio books. The Project is also coordinating production of formats for portable readers.
While you won’t find anything on this year’s bestsellers list, Project Gutenberg is a good source of classical literature. They’ve even already added President Obama’s inaugural address. I find digital editions of books particularly useful because of the ability to use Windows tools to search the text for specific passages.
Barbara Misselt, Director