24 May 2008

"Who Censored Roger Rabbit?" by Gary Wolf

Who Censored Roger Rabbit?
Written by Gary Wolf
214 pages
Oldham County Public Library

While browsing at the Oldham County Public Library, a facility I have come to greatly appreciate in recent months, I stumbled upon a hardback copy of Gary Wolf's Who Censored Roger Rabbit? Having been a fan of the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I thought I ought to read this novel.

Fortunately for me, I am not one of those people who are disappointed when a novel and film bear little resemblance to one another. Aside from the scenario of Private Eye Eddie Valiant investigating Roger Rabbit, who is implicated in a homicide, precious little of what Gary Wolf wrote can be found in the film. And, to be honest, it is the novel that is the more rewarding story. Roger is actually murdered, but has created a doppleganger of himself who survives to investigate. The doppel exists proportionate to the energy that went into creating him, and Roger worked very hard at establishing him. That buys him enough time to work with Valiant to find out not only who killed the real Roger, but the truth about the murder of Rocco DeGreasey, the guy who owned Roger's contract and wouldn't let him out of it. He's also the guy that Jessica Rabbit really had a relationship with, and all evidence points to Roger as his killer.

Wolf's writing is easy to read, and the plot is interesting; even more so for someone who has seen the film first, and turns each page wondering if anything from that version will surface. Benny the car? Movie only. The Judge? Movie. The Weasels? Movie. Baby Herman? He actually is in the novel, but only briefly. There is no deed to Toon Town; in fact, there is no Toon Town. Everything happens in real life L.A., and in its own way, the novel is even more absurd than the film because of this. As a mystery, it is quite compelling, and the finale is genuinely surprising. Recommended for those with a sense of whimsy and a few free hours; I managed to read it in its entirety across the span of yesterday afternoon and evening, taking time to eat and watch No Reservations throughout. If I can do it that quickly, a more dedicated reader should be able to knock it out in about the time it takes to watch the vastly different film version.

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