Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code – Apples to Oranges
Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code (2003) struck a nerve in our subconscious and renewed our interest in the Holy Grail, the Virgin Mary, and historical monuments all over Europe. The author blended enough fact into his fictional story to make readers question whether or not parts of it could be true and since the story deals with an alternative possibility to the life of Jesus Christ, this resulted in passionate reactions from devout Christians and Holy Grail enthusiasts. I don’t know if there is any truth but it sure made for a great story. Actually I was more excited about the art component because it mentioned so many famous works of art and I hope that translated to more European travel and especially more curious visitors to the Louvre museum. Other authors have included famous paintings into their stories but somehow Dan Brown made them just as important as the main characters. In 2016, Hollywood turned this book into a blockbuster movie starring Tom Hanks. They actually got permission to film at the Louvre and the movie audience got to see the characters interact with the real art.
So which version did I enjoy best? Drum Roll Please….. The Book!
The biggest difference from the novel and movie is the dynamics between Robert and Sophie. In the novel, they were partners-in-(a falsely accused) crime. His knowledge of symbolism and her cryptography experience made them a great team.
In the book, Sophie had been secretly trained to be a potential Grand Master by learning cryptography from an early age. Even though she split with her family, her love of solving puzzles led her to a cryptography career with her local law enforcement agency. Plus, many of the clues were specifically designed for Sophie to uncover.
In the film version, Sophie actually asked Robert to solve the puzzles which drove me crazy. I understand that the movie had to keep up a fast pace so the self-discovery of answers was replaced with Robert’s instant knowledge of the answers. One of my favorite scenes in the book was a trip to the library to discover the identify of “A Pope”. I’m a big fan of utilizing librarians over a google search. In the movie, they were at the location when Robert announced the answer to that clue. The book worked better for me because readers got to figure out the answers along with Robert and Sophie.
This book has an enduring quality. Even though the book was published in 2003, it’s just as popular today. In September 2016, there is a young adult adaption, which was reviewed by NOR and given 5 stars (View the Review).
Next month, we will discuss Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love, a book that spent 187 weeks on the NYT best seller list while earning an equal amount of devoted fans and fierce criticism. With such a simple title and basic novel concept, why did this story connect with so many people?
Columnist: Jessie lives in Oregon and writes to avoid the rain. She only feels compelled to kill her characters when she starts a new diet and if she hates the ending of a TV episode she’ll rewrite it to give everyone a happily ever after. Currently Jessie is an unpublished author but she works tirelessly to removed two letters – un – from that word.
Column book and movie tape drawn by Evangeline Owen