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Who Censored Roger Rabbit by Gary K. Wolf
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Who Censored Roger Rabbit (1981)

by Gary K. Wolf

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    The Great Dinosaur Robbery by David Forrest (jonathankws)
    jonathankws: Two novels of adult content which were "translated" into kids films... "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing"
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Twenty-five years after Zemeckis establishes Roger and Jessica Rabbit as nostalgic icons in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," I was delighted to discover that the rather silly film from my youth is in fact based on a novel by Gary K. Wolf published six years earlier: Who Censored Roger Rabbit?

Wolf's novel again demonstrates the familiar adage that the book is better than the movie. While Zemeckis' film is goofy and cute but ultimately shallow (to memory - it's been a very long time), Wolf's novel is a brilliant and entertaining satire. A parody of gritty noir novels, Wolf's novel paints a grim picture of racism and prejudice, establishing Toons as a second class of citizens trying to better their own lives. Responding to a rumor that someone is attempting to buy his contract and make him a star, Roger hires Eddie to look into his employer, who apparently refuses to sell. Along the way it comes to light that Jessica Rabbit has left Roger for this same employer, and it's not to play patty-cake.

The further Eddie gets into Roger's case, the more complicated it becomes, as elements of racism and criminal activities compound the seemingly useless investigation. Eventually bodies start piling up, and Eddie is left with conclusions that some character's don't want to hear.

For me, it is the conclusion that makes this story: the ridiculous resolution at first seems to challenge narrative development, but in reflection is perfectly suited to the Toons involved. Ultimately, it is the characterization - and the confirmation that even good guys can be bad guys - that makes the story so satisfying, regardless of the turn of events.

I am so glad I found Wolf's novel; Roger Rabbit will never seem the same, and I like him better for it. ( )
  Luxx | Oct 8, 2013 |
I liked this book, but not as much as I had hoped to. What I liked about this book was that it was loving pastiche of the noir/pulp genre, complete with snappy dialogue and some truly laugh out loud witticisms from lead character and cynical private dick, Eddie Valiant. It's a quick read, nothing overly cerebral (wouldn't really be a nod to classic pulp that way, would it?), but a fun jaunt in a ridiculous world where cartoons and people co-exist.

Of course, like most people raised in the 80's, I had seen the movie (many, many times in my case, I love that damned movie), but it is very different than the book. I had heard the book was geared more towards adults, and while it is, it's also perfectly acceptable for older kids to read. It might be a bit darker, but the careful dancing around any blue language makes me give it a G rating.

I have one major complaint with this book however, which is why it has 3.5 stars rather than 5.

The ending. The last 20 or so pages are the epitome of deus ex machina, even in a ridiculous world such as the one in this book. That was a pretty big let down. I actually quite enjoyed the mystery and the tandem relationship between Roger Rabbit and Valiant, and Valiant's slow warming-up to the rabbit.

My biggest complaint with the ending is (and there's a big spoiler, so I suggest you don't read the next bit unless you've read all the way through the book): Can anybody explain to me why in the hell Roger picked out Eddie Valiant, when they had no prior relationship, to take the fall for him? I just did not buy it. It's ridiculous, a huge let down, and doesn't make much sense in the story. Not to mention actually seemed quite out of character for the rabbit.

Barring that, it was still a fun little read, and I couldn't predict exactly where it was going (even if the payoff was a let down).
( )
  xitomatl | Apr 6, 2013 |
Interesting just to compare the two mediums. ( )
  lemuralley | May 27, 2010 |
This one's a fun piece of brain candy. The story, like the movie which it inspired, is set in a world where cartoon characters are living, breathing beings--co-existing as second class citizens in a world with human beings. In the book version, private detective Eddie Valiant is hired by 'toon Roger Rabbit to get information regarding a labor dispute. Roger's under contract with the DeGreasy cartoon syndicate and is stuck in a second-banana role in the Baby Herman strip. He wants to be released from his contract to seek a better gig. He's heard rumors that another publisher wants to buy out his contract, but the DeGreasy brothers have refused to sell. Eddie makes a half hearted attempt to investigate the case, enough to justify charging his client. But before he can bring his case to a close, both Roger and one of the DeGreasy brothers are murdered. Suddenly Eddie finds himself in the midst of a mystery he can't resist--a mystery that takes through the dark underside of the cartoon industry. The story's written like a detective pulp novel, full of cheesy metaphors. It's a darker tale than the movie version, but one that still captures a bit of the wonder of having 'toons living and working among us.
--J. ( )
1 vote Hamburgerclan | Mar 24, 2008 |
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Gary K. Wolf creates a wonderfully skewed -- and totally believable -- world made up of equal parts Raymond Chandler, Lewis Carroll, and Walt Disney. A riotously surreal spoof of the hard-boiled detective novel. Packed with action and laughs. Wolf's cult classic, highly praised novel is the basis for the blockbuster Walt Disney/Steven Spielberg film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.… (more)

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