Did you read The Horse Whisperer when in came out in 1995 or see the movie when it was released three years later?
I liked both the book and the movie although their endings are slightly different. I liked them because I love Montana, horses, and the grit people and other animals find within themselves to triumph over what seem to be insurmountable odds. When I first read the book, it was one of the few I wished I’d written. I still felt that way today when I finished rereading it for the first time in twenty-two years.
When I read the book now, I see the characters as they were in the movie. And, I also see the horse being struck by the tractor trailer as it happened in the move. This always happens to me. Perhaps it’s the Rhett Butler syndrome, that is, being unable to read Gone With the Wind without seeing Clark Gable playing Butler.
I was looking for something new to read several days ago, saw this book on the shelf, pulled it off and started reading it. Once again I was hooked. This time, of course, I knew the story like those people who pick up a book and look at the ending to make sure their favorite characters are still alive and kicking when the story ends.
Knowing the story this time didn’t make any difference because I’d forgotten many of the details. Part of rereading (for me) is having a chance to observe how the author achieved what s/he achieved, things I miss the first time through. What a good learning experience, and one that’s helped me through the rereading of numerous books.
When I know more or less where the story’s going, I can see the technique–how the author built the story through description, narration, interior monologue and dialogue for the climax of the story, how the author keeps me reading, how the author makes the story believable.
If you’re a writer, so you do this?