So, as a huge fan of Chris Colfer, I forced myself to read the book very objectively. And hooray, because I did! In all honesty, I thought the book was…okay. It was nice. Not stupendous. Just a good read.
Struck By Lightning is a book where the character, Carson Phillips, is a senior at a very conservative town Clover in California, and he desperately wants to escape to the college of his dreams, Northwestern. He is the head of a dead school newspaper and writer’s club, and when his counselor tells him his college application needs more sparkle, he decides to start a literary magazine. But the only way he’ll get submissions from his unwilling peers is to blackmail them-and that’s just what he does.
Schematically, the book was extremely short. Its girth may look decently novel-sized, but the font is very large, and it can be easily read in about 2 hours, if that. The main thing I noticed is that it lacked a middle, probably because of the short length. There was a very lengthy build-up of the exposition (the blackmailing didn’t begin until half-way through the book, which was the whole premise) and a lengthy end. What I desperately wanted was a middle-a growth.
Carson as a character didn’t really change until the end. There was some attempt at the whole ‘hey, maybe I don’t actually hate all these people!’ but it was never explored. In fact, nothing really was explored; the book was very tell, not show. Obviously it’s supposed to be a journal so that’s kind of expected, but the development was lacking. The whole emotional journey where perhaps the blackmailed students and Carson could get along occurred through perhaps four conversations and then a simple statement that hinted at change within Carson. Even at the end, Carson’s personal growth takes place over two pages and is just a whole lot of “I’m never gonna let any situation be a bad one, I will always fight for success and happiness”.
Chris Colfer, the author, is an extremely busy guy. And this book was hurriedly written AFTER the movie was created, and it was based on the screenplay. And it shows. It reads rather like a script, with the bare minimum in regards to fleshing out emotions and other character’s depth. And I think that’s where the movie comes in. The book is the supplement, not a stand-alone. The movie is the real star. Normally I stand on the opposite side, saying the book is usually better then the movie. But in this case, since the movie was in fact the original, it is sure to have a lot more to offer than the book; even based on the commercials, it gives us the emotions the book lacks, where small facial cues make up for words. And the ending will work much better with a movie perspective-not to give anything away, however.
All in all, the book was the bare minimum of what I’m sure is a spectacular story. I can’t wait to see it really shine in the movie version, where it can really come to life.