Last week, Slate.com ran a fine appreciation of James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce which I managed to miss until today. Like the author, the Vintage paperback reissue served as my introduction to Cain. I was transfixed by how much more gritty and earthy the novel was compared to the movie. It was also interesting that Cain described Mildred as a petite woman with blonde curly hair and penetrating eyes — more a Bette Davis than Joan Crawford type. In the film, Ann Blyth plays the daughter (wonderfully) as a spoiled brat, but the novel’s Veda is a hundred times more insidious and manipulative. Plus, naturally, Cain supplies the story with a lot more evilness than anything the 1940s movie production code would allow. It’s a great read.
I also got a small kick out of this other Slate feature — classic lit book covers redone as pulp fiction. You just know that Lewis Carrol intended Alice to resemble a saucy little minx.