ISBN #: 978-0345248107
Page Count: 278
Copyright: February 1976
Publisher: Ballantine Books (Mm); First Thus Edition
(Taken from back cover)
He had met her and loved her, years before his birth. Now, suddenly, in a lush, seaside hotel, she was calling him, urging him to consummate that love. He felt within himself the power to take that one step backward into the past. But once he had erased more years than he had lived, could he ever bid time return?
My fascination with this story began when my aunt showed me the movie Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour (you can see a movie montage on YouTube that will give you the gist of the whole movie in less than 10 minutes ... click here). The concept that a man could go back in time to a woman he didn't remember, but loved anyway, was one that stuck with me. Back then, I never knew the movie was based on Richard Matheson's book. It wasn't until I was reading the back cover of my Somewhere in Time DVD cover (yes, I do that to see if a movie is based on a book) that I realized there was a book out there that this movie was based on. As I was searching for the book Somewhere in Time I noticed that the original title was Bid Time Return. It was after the movie came out that future printings of Bid Time Return were changed to the title Somewhere in Time. The picture of the book above is the exact copy that I have. It's not the first-first edition, which was published in 1975, but it is the first edition printed with Ballantine Books ... which cost me about $30 to $40.
Anyhow, I digress ... on to the review ...
As most book-into-movie renditions go, the two vary in quite a few aspects. The minor variances were Richard's 1896 suit color (book: black suit, movie: brown suit), the lack of Elise's mother in the movie, Elise's manager being short and stout in the book, and Richard's hotel room number being different (I am extremely curious about THAT one). There are more, but I'll stop there. The main variances I noticed were:
- In the beginning of the book, we find out that Richard is dying. The movie doesn't really show that of him and I think it needed to.
- In the movie, Richard doesn't see Elise's manager the company has left, but in the book he does. The manager is obsessed with Elise and wants her all to himself, so it makes sense that he'd stay behind.
- The movie rarely mentions Richard's brother, Robert ... and I'm not sure it needed to. The book was written in a way that made it seem like Robert was sharing Richard's journal and recordings with the audience, and it worked extremely well. Leaving that out of the movie was a wise choice.
- In the book, Elise was an American actress. In the movie, as you all probably know, Elise had a British accent, thanks to Ms. Jane Seymour. Although, I cannot imagine a better Elise McKenna being portrayed.
Overall, I love this story. I loved it when I saw the movie, but I love it even more now that I've read the book. The book and the movie are different enough to stand on their own, but they're similar enough to know that they're related. I did find Richard to be a little too naive and "delicate" in the book. He was much too prone to have panic attacks when he thought things weren't going his way.
The endings in the book and movie are different as well. I'm not sure which I like better. Either way, it is, hands down, one of the best love stories I have ever read or seen.