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Big Fish by Daniel Wallace
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Big Fish (edition 2004)

by Daniel Wallace

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2,284626,808 (3.57)63
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The classic novel that inspired the beloved Tim Burton film and the Broadway musical.
In his prime, Edward Bloom was an extraordinary man. He could outrun anybody. He never missed a day of school. He saved lives and tamed giants. Animals loved him, people loved him, women loved him. He knew more jokes than any man alive. At least thatâ??s what he told his son, William. But now Edward Bloom is dying, and William wants desperately to know the truth about his elusive fatherâ??this indefatigable teller of tall talesâ??before itâ??s too late. So, using the few facts he knows, William re-creates Edwardâ??s life in a series of legends and myths, through which he begins to understand his fatherâ??s great feats, and his great failings. The result is hilarious and wrenching, tender an… (more)

Member:KickinFamily
Title:Big Fish
Authors:Daniel Wallace
Info:Pocket Books (2004), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work Information

Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace

  1. 30
    Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (msouliere)
  2. 21
    Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For infuriating fathers.
  3. 10
    Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  4. 00
    Ray in Reverse by Daniel Wallace (DeDeNoel)
    DeDeNoel: Considered second in the trilogy that is Big Fish, Ray in Reverse and Watermelon King.
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Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
When I rewatched this film recently I noticed it was based on a book, which piqued my delight. It’s all about storytellers and storytelling, about the urbane fantastic and tall tales, so it’s one of my favorite movies. It turns out the adaption is nearly “in name only”, but that doesn’t mean the book is bad.

The bare bones are there but 1) There are many many elements that don’t show up in the movie but do in the book and vice versa and 2) the mediums translate to two totally different executions. In the movie, there’s a framing device where the son is attending to his dying father who he’s resented all his life for telling these stories and being an attention-hog/liar. The book is pretty much just these stories–no framing device. It’s like a collection or anthology of tall tales about his dad’s life.

They are somewhat less colorful but there are more of them. For example, there is no wolfman-ringmaster in the book. Not even a circus. The old woman’s eye is there, but the circumstances are much less scary than presented in the movie. Tim Burton peeled away the book to its core, then added his own style to it.

But both are chock full of content from the anecdotes and tall tales and stories, like in the movie. The only difference is the movie remixes them. It’s like adapting a video game to a movie–you can make all the changes you want as long as it stays true to the spirit of what made the original great (e.g. Silent Hill, Mortal Kombat, Sonic the Hedgehog). And that’s the case here. ( )
  theWallflower | Oct 3, 2022 |
I would have liked to see a little more meat and potatoes to this story. But I get it and I get why it is formulated the way it is. It is meant to be ambiguous and to the point while still allowing the heart of the reader to not only understand where William's feelings are but how his father subliminally caters to his latent curiosity. How can such a small book be so large? In this case the movie captures way more of the heart in the center of the story. For those who have watched their parents pass, especially their fathers, it is heartbreaking but ultimately invigorates the spirit later down the road, after they have passed and the memories flood in. Big fish dares us and challenges us to be bigger fish and milk our imagination for all it is worth. The moral to the story.... NEVER loose your sense of wonder. When you do...then that is when you truly grow old. ( )
  JHemlock | Jul 12, 2022 |
If there were ever a book that could hook me in the first two pages, this is the one. Actually, the first two pages of this book are by far the best first two pages of any book that I've ever read and that's the truth. I read, re-read, read to my husband and read those two pages to myself (yes, again) so many times before I allowed myself to get much past the third chapter. If you don't know what I am talking about because you've not read this book, I urge you to read just those two first pages and see for yourself. I know it's not just me because my husband agreed - those two pages can really get to your core. Without giving it all away... perspective...

Ok, now that that's off my chest, how about the rest of this book? We are off to a grand start, right? It must be good, right?

I am happy to say that Big Fish does not disappoint. Perhaps my favorite part of the book will forever lie within those first two very meaningful pages but the story of Edward Bloom, told through his son William, is a magical, mythical, and special one. Edward has lived a life full of wild adventures that may or may not be exaggerated. And that's hardly the point... Edward is now at the end of his life and now William, struggling to understand his father must find a way to acceptance.

Was his father a great man? Was Edward Bloom a good father?

Edward Bloom is certainly larger than life, as are his fantastic tales. Reading them through the heart of William will take you through a series of emotions and even disbelief - I mean, he did claim to tame a giant, right? Some stories are wild, bright, fun and full of awe. Some are not. But every single tale is shared beautifully.

If you are a fan of this movie, read the book. If you haven't seen the movie, read the book AND see the movie. Both are truly fantastic.

I give this big fish tale, 4 heartfelt stars! ( )
  nicholesbooknook | May 24, 2022 |

If I had to re-choose to read this book, I would have passed. I got a few chuckles and really loved the chapter when the father was trying to leave Ashland. Except for that, the father's jokes were praying on my last nerves because he wouldn't say anything. But I have a feeling that's the point of the story. ( )
  wellington299 | Feb 19, 2022 |
A truly fantastic idea buried in sub-par writing. The only way I knew about what held everything together thematically was because I'd watched the movie.

The stories are mostly bland, told in unconnected vignettes. The book oddly tells Edward's stories through his son's eyes rather than his own, distancing the reader from how Edward portrays himself, which seems an important thematic distinction the movie did right.

The book also includes a lot of unnecessary detail that buries the main idea to almost invisibility. The whole tension between Edward and William doesn't appear until late in the book, stagnant until the very, very end. I would have DNFed the book much earlier than those points if I hadn't been familiar with the movie, and even still I skipped around a lot because I was so bored. The movie has a better focus and trajectory throughout on the theme and adds important, related layers of meaning.

Just watch the movie for this one. ( )
  hissingpotatoes | Jan 6, 2022 |
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For my mother
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In memory of my father
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On one of our last car trips, near the end of my father's life as a man, we stopped by a river, and we took a walk to its banks, where we sat in the shade of an old oak tree.
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:

The classic novel that inspired the beloved Tim Burton film and the Broadway musical.
In his prime, Edward Bloom was an extraordinary man. He could outrun anybody. He never missed a day of school. He saved lives and tamed giants. Animals loved him, people loved him, women loved him. He knew more jokes than any man alive. At least thatâ??s what he told his son, William. But now Edward Bloom is dying, and William wants desperately to know the truth about his elusive fatherâ??this indefatigable teller of tall talesâ??before itâ??s too late. So, using the few facts he knows, William re-creates Edwardâ??s life in a series of legends and myths, through which he begins to understand his fatherâ??s great feats, and his great failings. The result is hilarious and wrenching, tender an

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