First Quarter Outside Reading Book Review
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum. Richard Marek Publishers, 1980
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
The Bourne Identity, the first of seven books in the Bourne series, is a classic story of a man, Jason Bourne, with amnesia trying to figure out who he is. The twist is that he is an undercover operative for the United States Government posing as a fake assassin. However, the branch of government, Treadstone 71, believes that Jason went rogue after six months of inactivity. So, throughout the book Jason travels through Germany and France trying to figure out who he is and why someone wants him dead.
"Mr. Ludlum stuffs more surprises into his novels than any other six-pack of thriller writers combines," writes The New York Times.
Although I have not read any other of Robert Ludlum's books, the book is comparable to the movies. In this book Jason Bourne is portrayed as a ruthless assassin who shows his good side because of his amnesia, however, his former self breaks out in some fight scenes where kills just as easily as he did before. This is similar to the way Tony Gilroy and William Blake Herron present Bourne in the movie, however because the public started wanting more action, Jason had to be shown killing and escaping assassins a lot more than in his hotel room with Marie trying to piece together who he was and what was happening as well as what to do next. Robert Ludlum also knows how to keep the book interesting with thoughts, and not just description and dialogue helping the reader to put him/her self in Jason Bourne’s shoes as well as giving us more information to help understand what is going on.
"He [Jason] felt rushing cold water envelop him, swallowing him, sucking him under, and twisting him in circles, then propelling him up to the surface-only to gasp a single breath of air."
Although I am not familiar with any of Ludlum’s novel other than this, I was deeply intrigued by the movies and this provided greater insight into some of the things I didn't understand, as well as twisted the setting and some of the details as to what happened and was caused to happen. Because of this wonderful novel I was able to really connect with what it must be like to have amnesia, feeling helpless all the time as well as how brutal the government can be.