I was scratching my head for a while over the latest 30 Days of Books topic:
Day 07: Most underrated book
I was having a hard time coming up with an answer to this one – looking for an example of a good book that I liked that was either reviewed poorly or has been tossed onto the Island of Misfit Books by today’s zeitgeist.
After some deliberation, I’m going to go with the latter type — a book that I picked up at a Stockholm bookstore before the long flight back to the US in 1990 or 1991. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.
On that flight – especially since I was just learning molecular biology at the time – I became enraptured with the story of cloning back to life long extinct animals. As in many of his novels, Crichton had enough grasp of real science to make the leap plausible enough that the story was very enjoyable. That must’ve been the shortest transatlantic flight ever.
Why do I think it’s underrated? Mostly because of what came after. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the movie and will stop and watch the T. rex attack on the jeeps in the rain anytime. But when Crichton wrote The Lost World as a sequel TO THE MOVIE instead of the book, you knew things were going downhill — and that book was a terrible mess. Follow that up with uninspired film sequels and the whole “brand” takes a hit. Just ask George Lucas. All that makes me think that folks today easily could dismiss the first book.
Anyway – if you haven’t read the original, I highly recommend it. Just forget about most of the stuff that came later.