Have you ever wondered what it would be like if your favourite character from a book came to life?
I have. I have to admit, I often ponder on all the possible scenarios that would arise if one my favourite characters would slip out of the pages and appear before me (which is, in fact, exactly what happens in Inkheart).
This is one of the reasons why I find Inkheart a compelling read, as I can entirely relate to one of the main characters: Meggie Folchart.
Meggie, like me, loves books. To her, books are her life, friends and confidantes. They give her a feeling of constancy, as she and her father Mo (a bookbinder) ‘never stay in the same place for too long.’
They are always on the road, followed by an ever present shadowing secret of Mo’s past, a secret that has been looming over them ever since the mysterious disappearance of Meggie’s mother.
Finally, Mo’s past catches up with him when an ‘old friend’ appears at their doorstep in the dead of night. Meggie soon sees that her father hasn’t been entirely truthful about certain things, and soon she begins asking questions. She realises that there are some books that are not there to comfort her, some books are dangerous and should never be read aloud.
Now, you may have seen the film Inkheart. I would, however, advise you not to judge the book by its movie. While the big screen portrays Inkheart in an entertaining way, it lacks greatly in depth and does not have the same charm found in the book.
Inkheart is a book for booklovers, people who find memories tucked away behind letters and words, the scent of the pages familiar and comforting; but I have to say this book is not for everyone.
Some would argue that Inkheart is somewhat longwinded and that the basic plot is childish. Part of me agrees with this, as I find the main villain, Capricorn almost too typically evil. It seems to me that his malicious plots and ambitions have little relatable motivation behind them, such as love or vengeance, just a sadistic craving for power.
However, this classic portrayal of a ‘big bad’ leads us to the essential plot of the story, indeed of any good story: Good vs. Evil. Essentially this is what stories are about: defeating the odds and overcoming the bad things that stand in the way of a great achievement.
That is why I think Inkheart is such an engaging story; it is a story about stories. A celebration of books throughout the centuries, and it seems to capture that ancient way of storytelling once more in modern literature.
Image: Books © Brenda Clarke (brenda-starr, flickr)