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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chasing Diana...Review

About the book:
Cleverly written as a "screenplay novel," Chasing Diana is historical fiction at its finest. Initially inspired by the events they witnessed in Paris during the early morning hours of August 31, 1997, Robin and Jack Firestone's compelling narrative does much more than shed new light on that late summer evening when one of history's brightest flames was extinguished forever.

Using a unique mixture of truth and fantasy,
Chasing Diana is a parable for our times. Vicariously told through the eyes of lead characters Rhonda and James Goodrich, Chasing Diana is the remarkable story of how a princess' death rips a closely knit family apart... and the healing process which ultimately unites them.

A real page-turner from start to finish, replete with mystery, adventure, intrigue, irony and the idiosyncrasies of the human condition... that's the unforgettable reading experience of
Chasing Diana.

I'm sorry to say that I didn't like it. The book was written by Jack and Robin Firestone, the only Americans to have witnessed the crash that killed Princess Diana.

The press release for the book described it thus: "In Chasing Diana, the Firestones convey their 11 year personal journey, utilizing a guise of historical fiction, to express the overwhelming effects resulting from being placed at a crossroads in history. An average American family, the Firestones were vacationing in Paris back in 1997 when fate intervened, turning their lives upside down. Upon their return home from Europe, they were inundated by the press and their lives were forever changed."

My problem is that this isn't that story. This is a fictionalized screenplay, it's not even a full fleshed story. It only covers a year of this so-called "journey". They have re-created themselves as actors who do not inspire any sympathy whatsoever. I did not care about Rhonda and James. In fact, neither character was even remotely likeable. It's full of profanity.

Other than wanting this made into a film, I can't see any reason to have written this book in this manner. The Firestones actually say in the beginning of the book, "Why a screenplay? Well, the events that took place during our brief stay in Paris unfolded like a movie. So in our view, a screenplay was the perfect way to tell this story."

My response to that is this: if the story is so important and is meant to be told, then do that: tell the story. Actually write a book that describes your experience, your frustrations and your thoughts. Don't trivialize it by writing it as a screenplay. Flesh it out and give us some depth. Give us a reason to care about you and your experience.

I would have enjoyed this much more if it was actually a memoir. I appreciate the opportunity to have reviewed it and even the fact that the author autographed it for me. I only wish I'd liked it.

Thanks to the authors and Bostick Communications for the opportunity to review this book. You can find out more about the Firestones and their experience here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 10/08


1/5 Stars

2 comments:

  1. As co author, I want to thank you for your review on our book. The wonderful thing about our world is the freedom to voice our opinions. With that said, I fully respect your opinion.

    Your review far differs with 98% of the reviews which are more than favorable.

    Somewhere along the way, you expected something that differs from what is plainly spelled out in the press release and what is clearly printed on the back of the book. No deception is or was intended.

    For us, writing our book in a screenplay format was the only way to share our expereince, protecting ourselves and others. We have been given kudos for choosing such a format.

    As a matter of fact, a prominant journalist has this to say ...

    Family's book examines Diana's death ... Not Just Another Book About Princess Diana

    Published Sunday, August 31, 2008


    Jack and Robin Firestone's family was in Paris 11 years ago today when their taxi got stuck in traffic in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel. They passed what was causing the congestion -- a Mercedes-Benz smashed into an interior pillar.
    They didn't know at the time that Princess Diana of Wales, Dodi Al-Fayed, his bodyguard and their driver were inside that car.
    Although it was just a passing moment, the tragedy has stuck with them. They've given depositions in death investigations and had numerous interviews on TV and in print about what they witnessed that night.
    Eleven years later, like many around the world, the Bluffton couple are not entirely satisfied with the investigation into the crash. They've self-published a book, "Chasing Diana," that fictionalizes their lives after the crash.
    The book is reminiscent of Oliver Stone's "JFK," which took the Kennedy assassination and added intrigue and conspiracy theory into a narrative telling of a lawyer trying to solve the president's death. "Chasing Diana" spins murderous paparazzi and crooked cops into its tale...

    to read the entire article: http://www.islandpacket.com/lowcountrylife/story/595202.html

    Again, thank you for taking the time to read the book, and review it.

    Respectfully yours, Robin Firestone

    If your readers want to decide for themselves, we encourage them to do so. To listen to recent radio interviews or see our book signing event schedule,please visit our webstite...

    www.ChasingDiana.com

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  2. Robin, thanks for stopping by. I'm sorry that my review offended you. Whether you "respect" my opinion or not, it can't be easy to see negative reviews of something you've put your heart and soul into. Every writer has an idea in their mind of what they want their books to say and how they want them received. Every reader has expectations about books, whether from "what is clearly printed on the back of the book", their own experiences or other reviews. To have every reader love and adore the book like they do is incredibly unrealistic for any author.

    My expectations really don't matter. Despite being married to a Brit (or perhaps because of it), I am not one who is overly interested in the British royal family and Diana. Did I respect her for some of her work? Yes. Was her death tragic? Absolutely. Do I think about it today? Not really. I didn't experience it first hand. It doesn't mean to me what it means to you. But, I have no doubt that your experiences in dealing with it have been difficult over the years. Was I curious to see what your book was about? Yes.

    I didn't love your book but, as you said, my review, "far differs with 98% of the reviews which are more than favorable." If my review was harsh and offensive to you, I apologize. I was simply being honest. I wish you the best of luck and I hope that your book continues to be successful and well-received by many others. A 98% rate of favorable reviews is to be commended.

    Warm regards, Holly

    ReplyDelete