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:~: Monday, November 20, 2006 :~:

Living In La-La Land

Everyone in my house is sick so I've been playing nursemaid. That, of course, means I haven't been getting much writing done. To keep them all entertained, this weekend I rented a bunch of movies. I even sat and watched a few with them - which is something I rarely do - because the up-and-down-I-need-this-MOM! was too distracting for me to write.

So amidst the chaos, I finally got to watch The DaVinci Code. I'll admit flat out that I didn't read the book. I'm not a big fan of Dan Brown's writing style, and because there was so much hype surrounding the book, I wasn't too excited to read it. I'm also Catholic, and I have to tell you, we heard so many bad things about the movie at church and from relatives, I had this image of a big-ol' catholic-bash fest, and no, I wasn't overly thrilled about seeing something like that. But now, after watching it, I'm wondering, what the heck is wrong with people?

Sure, it has some controversial theories, but people, come on, it's fiction. F-I-C-T-I-O-N. Is it the truth? No. Is it possible? Maybe. Anything's possible, that's what makes fiction fun to read and watch. Did I enjoy it? Yeah, I can say I did. The root of the story is a treasure hunt, and anyone who knows me knows I always love a good treasure hunt story. But it didn't make me change my beliefs or rethink my religion. I'm not about to run off and research Mary Magdalene to find out if Dan Brown's telling all of us the holy truth in the same way I didn't run off after watching Indiana Jones - Raiders of the Lost Ark to find out if the Nazis ever tried to confiscate the Ark.

It amazes me there's been such controversy over The DaVinci Code. It seriously floors me that people can watch (or read) something and think what's being splashed in front of them is gospel. Are we - as a society - that brainwashed by what we see on TV and in movies that we believe anything set in front of us? I mean, if that's the case, then maybe there really is a map on the back of the Declaration of Independence! Come on, let's all go try to steal it and see for ourselves!

Please.

I love books and movies rooted in history. If you look at the core of these stories, you learn something historical you might not have known before, but that doesn't mean they're always accurate. It's the difference between fiction and nonfiction. I wrote a book a couple years ago that was deeply rooted in Mexican history and the Spanish conquest. I had a lot of fun researching that book. A lot of the history in it is accurate to the letter, but is the story true? Heck no. It's fiction. I would never in a hundred years expect someone to believe what I wrote was truth. It's not meant to be, it's only meant to entertain. And I don't think Dan Brown ever claimed The DaVinci Code was historically accurate, either.

How do you all feel about fiction that plays on or alters history? And if you watched or read The DaVinci Code, tell me what you thought of it. Did it cross a line for you? Or did you look at it as a work of fiction and nothing more?

2Comments:

Blogger wavybrains said...

Da Vinci Code--not so much, but I do like other historical based fiction--The Red Tent, various King Arthur riffs, love historical romances that incorporate actual kings/historical figures as major characters/subplots/villains. It's all about writing style for me--I've read several historical-based fiction works recently that fall completely flat b/c they are all history/information and no character development. The Red Tent, The Hours, and other books work so well because they give us compelling characters. The history is just a nice bonus.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Interesting, Wavy. I'm not big on historical fiction as a specific genre myself, but I love contemporary fiction rooted in history. Surprisingly, I'm okay with time travel as long as the characters continue their "modern" ways - just finished one like that. Then again, I've only read a few historicals. LOL

You're right, it all comes down to characterization. I think I could love any book as long as the characters drive the story.

5:48 PM  

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