Review: Romancing the Stone

Romancing the Stone
By Catherine Lanigan writing as Joan Wilder

Any fan of both romanceRomancing the Stone and comedy should read this book. Romancing the Stone was initially written as a screen play and while it was being filmed, was adapted into a novel by Catherine Lanigan. Romancing the Stone is a romance that makes fun of romance by sticking with strong clichés and stereotypes. Because of this, it is often used as an example when learning to plot a romance novel.

In the story, Joan Wilder is a reclusive, anti-social romance novelist who lives in New York City. Joan’s older sister, Elaine, lives in Columbia, but when her husband turns up dead and she tries to flee, she winds up getting kidnapped and held for ransom in exchange for an old treasure map. Just before his death, Elaine’s husband mailed the map to Joan, who must now bring it back to free her sister. Elaine’s kidnappers are not the only ones after the map, and Joan finds herself running for her life through the Colombian jungle with the help of an American adventurer, Jack Colton. Despite the desperate circumstances, Joan finds herself falling for Jack.

Romancing the Stone is a pretty quick read. It does not go into tedious detail, and the story is pretty linear, with the exception of a few flashbacks so the reader can become more acquainted and familiar with the the characters Joan, Jack, and Elaine. The story is told from an omniscient third person point of view that freely floats between the characters in a given scene. When reading this style, I found it helpful knowing that the novel was adapted directly from the movie script. I also highly recommend reading the book and watching the movie close together. Since the book was written before the movie was finished, there were changes made to the movie script that are not seen in the book. I enjoyed both the book and the movie.