Quick Book Review: “Harold & Maude” by Colin Higgins
Harold & Maude is my all-time favorite movie. Every ten years or so, I get nostalgic for the film and I watch it again and obsess over it. (I have it on Blu-Ray, of course.) I knew the movie was based on a screenplay written by Colin Higgins, a UCLA film student. Higgins sold the screenplay, and then wrote a novelization of the script which was released at the same time the film came out. The book had been out of print for more than 30 years. After having seen the movie dozens of times, I thought I’d give the book a whirl. The story of two very unlikely friends, 19 year-old death-obsessed Harold and 79 year-old Maude, sharing their common interest (going to funerals), fighting the system, and embracing life to the fullest, still fills me with joy. This is one of those uncommon situations where the movie was much better than the book, but so be it. I liked that Maude’s character was a bit more fleshed out in the book, as was the character Glaucus, the sculptor. (In the movie, his character was negligible). If you’ve never seen the film, the book may come across as merely cute, with quirky characters and some funny lines and scenes, but nothing that will bowl you over or tug very hard at your heartstrings. If you love the movie and are curious about its origins, however, the book will do what you hope it will do: add a few more scenes, give a bit more dialog, flesh out some of the characters, and make you smile.