Thursday, August 19, 2010
Fiction to Film - Youth in Revolt
Author: C. D Payne
Publisher: Broadway Books, 1996
Length: 516 pages
From Goodreads: Youth in Revolt is the journals of Nick Twisp, California's most precocious diarist, whose ongoing struggles to make sense out of high school, deal with his divorced parents, and lose his virginity result in his transformation from an unassuming fourteen-year-old to a modern youth in open revolt. As his family splinters, worlds collide, and the police block all routes out of town, Nick must cope with economic deprivation, homelessness, the gulag of the public schools, a competitive type-A father, murderous canines, and an inconvenient hair trigger on his erectile response–all while vying ardently for the affections of the beauteous Sheeni Saunders, teenage goddess and ultimate intellectual goad
I originally bought Youth in Revolt because I heard about the upcoming film and wanted to have read the book before seeing it. I had a mixed response to the novel. Most of the parts I didn't connect with/liked about Youth in Revolt (the continous references to thunderous erections, masturbation techniques and generally discussing women as sex objects or dogs) were probably because I'm not a precocious teenage boy. Nick Twisp is, however, a surprisingly likeable character (well, I slowly warmed to him) and his exploits, based solely on the desire to copulate with one Sheeni Saunders, are quite amusing (albeit completely over the top).
Director: Miguel Arteta
Screenwriter: Gustin Nash
Studio: Dimension Films
Release Date: January 2010
Cast: Michael Cera, Portia Doubleday, Jean Smart, Steve Buscemi
I was quite surprised that the film was made by a studio. It would have been a difficult and challenging novel to adapt for a mainstream, commercial audience (it definitely had more potential for cult status as an independent film). In their favour, however, Dimension took the strongest plotline and ran with it, and it worked on screen.