1814 Rejection.


The other day I found out that one of my favorite books is being made into a movie; A House With A Clock In It’s Walls. Then I found out Jack Black is cast in it, and I was filled with dread. The man is movie poison. I don’t know if it’s his choice or the choice of his masters, but he just is. I know he can act. I’ve seen him do it. He just doesn’t for some reason. He’s going to be Uncle Jonathan. I don’t know this for sure, but he’s the only obvious choice, and he fits in some ways. Uncle Jonathan is a loud, ginger, lumberjack of a man. I can see Jack Black being that, but he also has to convincingly develop a fatherly relationship with his orphaned nephew.
I’ve waited for this movie since I was 10. The idea that it will be ruined like so much source material I’ve loved is depressing. My fingers are crossed, but I’m bracing for the worst.

It’s a young readers book & a series, but worth reading at any age. You can get it cheaply in paperback & it’s available on Audible now too. It’s not very long. You can listen to the entire thing in a couple of sittings. It’s worth the time in my opinion. John Bellairs has a descriptive but direct writing style that gives exactly enough information for your mind to fill in the blanks. I only wish I could boil storytelling down to such a succinct, but almost perfect selection of words.

There are 3 series Bellairs is primarily known for the Lewis Barnaveldt series, the Anthony Monday series, and the Johnny Dixon series. They are all worth reading. Brad Strickland completed the works in progress when Bellairs passed away in 1997, I think. He did a good job with the only one of those books I read; The Ghost In The Mirror. That book focuses on Rose Rita Pottinger, who is the best friend of Lewis, and casts her in the role of hero in a way that isn’t cloyingly feminist. It’s the believable tale of a strong girl who feels like a real person. In spite of coming from an older generation Bellairs treats his female characters as fully formed humans in a way that is still uncommon.

Anyway, I seriously can’t recommend these books hard enough. Years ago, before the internet made it easier, I tracked down a hardcover copy of A House With A Clock In It’s Walls. It’s beaten up, but a treasured possession of mine. In fact I’ve been searching for a copy in better condition for a long time, but even my beaten up ex library copy is about as good as it gets most of the time.

I wanted an original copy because modern copies of the book usually take out the scary illustrations that were done by Edward Gorey. You’ve probably seen his art even if you don’t recognize the name. He famously did the opening for Mystery! on PBS before they changed it.