Sunday, May 28, 2006

M*A*S*H, by Richard Hooker

M*A*S*H, by Richard Hooker

I’m a big fan of both the movie and television show, so when I saw this in a bargain bin I nabbed it. Surprisingly, this is not a well-written book. The dialogue is stilted and repetitive, the characters are one-note, and the various adventures are disconnected. I’d expected more from the story that launched Hawkeye, Trapper John, and the rest of the 4077.

As it turns out, the movie was much closer to the book in both plot and character history than I normally see. (Read any of Fleming’s James Bond books and then see the movie with the same name as an excellent converse example.) Painless’ suicide, the football game, and the Boys from Dover episode are covered in both and are pretty much the same. The book also details other adventures that while aren’t in the movie are clearly used as source material for the tv show. The most surprising thing about the book was that Margaret Houlihan and Frank Burns are just bit players instead of the main antagonists with which we are more familiar.

Is it worth your time? If you are a M*A*S*H fan, then yes. If not, I’ll leave you with two words and let you make up your own mind: epileptic whore. :)

First Sentence:
When Radar O’Reilly, just out of high school, left Ottumwa, Iowa, and enlisted in the United States Army it was with the express purpose of making a career of the Signal Corps.

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