190: Unabridged Discusses the Pilot of RIVERDALE - Book-to-Screen Adaptation
In this Unabridged episode, we discuss one of our favorite topics, book-to-screen adaptations! In this episode, Ashley, Jen and Sara share their Bookish Check-in, and then Sara and Jen discuss the pilot episode of Riverdale.
Our Riverdale Discussion
Mentioned in Episode
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Sara was reading Jennifer Ryan's The Kitchen Front (Amazon | Bookshop.org). She said, "This book was sent to me by Random House, I am absolutely loving it. It is such a charming book: it is about these four women. They're living in Britain two years into World War II, and each of them is experiencing the war in a different way. What I really love about this book is that I've read a lot of World War II historical fiction, and this book focuses first on women, and also on the food rations that occurred during that time. Actually, that went long after the war was over. So this book is about a radio show called The Kitchen Front, hosted by a male commentator, and they decide, shockingly, that they need a woman's voice on the show. So what they do is they create this competition for women who are using rations for the war to create their best dishes to help give home cooks and the women that were not fighting and not involved in the war effort, but they were staying home and taking care of their children, trying to give them ideas about what to do with these rations. It is just a lovely story. Like I said, it's a marathon for women, and it's an alternating perspective. So each chapter switches perspectives. They come from a broad range of backgrounds, and their life circumstances are different. It's just really, really good. I did a combo of reading the book that Random House sent me, and I also was able to get the audio from my library, so I switched back and forth, and both experiences were excellent. I will say in the print book, there are recipes that correspond with what's going on in the book throughout, and you miss out on that if you are listening to the audio, but the audio narration is great. So I am really enjoying this. I think it is excellent, and I love this perspective about women during the war effort, what they were doing and how they were taking care of things while the men were fighting. And I just think it's great. So that is The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan."
Jen said, "So I'm going to talk about one that I finished right before we started recording, so this is a small cheat. This is Susan Abulhawa's The Blue Between Sky and Water (Amazon | Bookshop.org), and this is my second buddy read with read with @readwithtoni on Instagram for this author: the first book I read of hers is Mornings in Jenin (Amazon | Bookshop.org), and I also read Against the Loveless World (Amazon | Bookshop.org) and reviewed that one at unabridgedpod.com. This third book just cements Abulhawa as an auto-read author. She is amazing. So she is writing predominantly about Palestine. This one, The Blue Between Sky and Water, looks at four generations of Palestinians: you see them losing their homelands and living in a refugee camp, and as the generations continue, one part of the family moves to the United States, and the rest are staying in Palestine. So you see how they're dealing with separation. The character I find most compelling is Nur, and she grows up in the United States. Her father dies when she's very young, and there's a custody battle between her grandfather—he's the one who moved there with his family from Palestine—and her mother—who basically is wanting to have custody for financial reasons instead of actually caring for her. She is this last character who really finds herself when she finally returns to Palestine. There's also—this is sort of a spoiler, so I don't want to give it away—but there's a really interesting narrator of the story, which includes, I would call it magical realism. There's a spiritual element in the first generation of the family with one of the daughters who dies very young, and she is this presence through the rest of the book. Then there's a narrator who furthers that sort of magical realism, which I think is really lovely and really enriches the story. So I loved it. I love multigenerational sagas, and I love reading about parts of the world that I want to know more about. I feel like this one is not about communicating information, but of course, just by reading about the experiences of this family, I'm learning a lot. So I really love it. Toni always picks good books, and I'm looking forward to our discussion at the end of this one. So that is The Blue Between Sky and Water by Susan Abulhawa."
Ashley said, "So one of the books that I am reading right now is Kacen Callendar's Felix Ever After (Amazon | Bookshop.org). This one has been on my TBR since it came out, and I've been really excited to read it and just hadn't made the time, and I'm actually listening to it on audio, and the audio is excellent. So this is about Felix, who is at an elite art school for high school. He is navigating his way there, and he has a great friend Ezra, but he's still struggling with the dynamics of the school. A lot of the kids there are very privileged: they have a lot of money and opportunities, and Felix's situation is that his dad is working very hard for him to be there on scholarship. So he's really conscious of those differences and the tension that that causes. He's also glad to have a fresh start. He is a trans boy, and he is proud of his identity, but he also is eager to have people see him for who he is. In a lot of ways starting in a new place, he feels that it's fresh, and he's glad for that. But very early on in the book, there is an expose of sorts, where someone who—he does not know who has done this—posts a series of images of him using his dead name and all of these old photos of him before his transition. It's just a really malicious act, and something that catches him off guard. So that's about where I am in the book is that that has occurred. The school is trying to figure out how to navigate this really hateful act that has happened, and he is trying to find his way. Prior to that incident, you know that Felix didn't want to keep those photos, but they had been in this sort of private Instagram gallery, and he only kept them because his dad really wanted him to keep them. His dad also still uses his dead name. He feels like his dad is kind of accepting, but then there are these things that make him feel as if his dad is not as accepting as he wants him to be. Yet his dad has done a lot of things to help him with the transition, even the parts that are expensive, even the parts that are hard to navigate, his dad's been helping him. So he has really complicated feelings with his dad. All of that leading up to this moment that, again, is very early on in the book, but that really shakes him up, but he feels vulnerable and exposed. He doesn't know who has done this thing, but it clearly was done to be hurtful. So I am loving it. I love his character. I think he is really interesting, and I also love seeing his friendships develop and the way that people help him through as that happens early on, and so I can't wait to see where the book goes from there. So again, that is Kacen Callendar's Felix Ever After."
Main Segment - Riverdale Discussion
Jen and Sara shared their overall impressions. Jen said, to begin, "So I think it's a really strong pilot. I've watched season one, and that's it. So this was my second time through the pilot, and it's been a while since I watched it, but I think it's a really strong pilot. I think it plays in really interesting ways with the characters from the original Archie comic series (Amazon | Bookshop.org). I really like there's this noir feel that it is building with Jughead sort of narrating the whole thing as he's writing this story that I think is really compelling. I think it is packed full of interesting subplots and storylines. . . . I think a lot of times shows are still finding their footing [in the pilot], and this one has like a confident tone. It does a lot of things right to launch a good series."
Sara began, "Something that listeners may not know about me, and you might not know about me, is growing up I was an Archie comic enthusiast, and my dad would take me to this antique mall with him, and he would buy me stacks of vintage Archie Comics, and my sister and I would devour them. Then when we would go to the grocery store, and we would get also the double digests, which are smaller but thicker and have more stories. So I totally loved the Archie world that was in the comics, and I just loved reading about them. I guess that was my my first introduction to the love triangle, you know. So when I heard this that Archie comics were going to be adapted, I was so excited to watch Riverdale. When I watched the first episode a couple years ago, I was like, Oh my goodness, this is a totally different thing than the Archie comics that I grew up with. But I really liked the pilot. I thought it did a really good job of introducing all the central characters, and I mean, it was—like you said—chock full of drama."
Be sure to listen to hear their full opinions!
Give Me One - Favorite Thing to Do at the Beach
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