Another book on my reading list done! I read The Vow by Kim and Krickitt Carpenter in about an hour and a half today. It was one of those books you can't put down and, thankfully, it was a very quick read. It was also a true story. I love that, most of the time. A few nights ago, I was looking for something to keep me distracted while Jon went off to work for the night. So I picked out a movie I hadn't seen for a while: The Pursuit of Happyness. I was in the mood for feel-good inspiration. So I popped it in and settled down. It was great, Will Smith still impresses me. Then, as it was "inspired by true events" I felt the need to google the main character Chris Gardner and learn what was fact and what was fiction. Bad move. I'm not sure I can ever enjoy the movie again. If you've never seen it, stop reading this post and go watch it. It's a great movie and I don't want to ruin it for you.
So as it turns out, the business aspects of the story are mostly true, though somewhat condensed: what happened over a number of years in real life is squeezed into a few months in the movie. I could accept that. What really depressed me was the the personal parts of the story. First of all, in the movie, his son is five and its "us against the world" type of thing. In real life he was just a toddler and did not have much of an active role. Secondly, and much worse, there was no "Linda." No unfaithful wife. He was the unfaithful one. Chris Gardner was married and began an affair with a young woman who worked in the lab he worked at. This produced the aforementioned son. Then he left his wife. He didn't divorce her for almost a DECADE. Not long after his son was born, the other woman accused him of beating her (which he denies) and she left with their son. She didn't return with him until four months later. Despite all of his genius and impressive work ethic, their sacrifices and struggles, and his eventual success, I don't think I can enjoy this movie anymore. This man left a path of destruction while he selfishly chased his own pleasures and desires. I can only hope that he has repented for all of his horrible and painful decisions and that he lives his life the right way now, but judging by the fact that he allowed this movie to be made, I would assume not. To me, it makes him seem proud and arrogant. It's still a great story, and I can understand how laying the truth out would make the main character someone you'd rather root against. So then change all the names/places/dates etc, never reference who it was inspired by, and don't list all his to-date achievements.
This brings me back to The Vow. I hadn't heard anything about it. But I usually like sappy love stories and Rachel McAdams happens to be my favorite actress, so I intended to see the movie. Jon knew I needed some new books to read, and figured I had the time (or would soon) as my classes were winding down. He picked it up, read the first chapter and decided I'd love it, so he brought it home for me. Especially after my recent movie experience, I didn't expect the truth to be so much better than the Hollywood version. Now, I have not seen the movie, but I have heard that in relation to the book, scandal/infedelity was added to spice things up, and most of the religious aspect (i.e. the whole truth of the story) was edited out. Disappointing to say the least, but Jon pointed out that the movie will interest many people into reading the book and they will be able to give a real testimony to the miracle that God worked in their lives; all is not lost. I will still see the movie, but I'm so happy I got the chance to read the truth first. It makes me sad that Hollywood thought sex would sell better than miracles, but then again, I'm not really surprised. If you haven't read The Vow yet, I highly recommend it!