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I have been reading so much lately — so much, I can’t keep up with my book reviews on here 🙂 Trust me, it’s a good problem to have.
When I went to the screenwriter’s retreat in August, this was one of the books I packed. I also borrowed the audio version from the library with the plan to listen to it while reading it.
It was the first time I’ve ever done that after hearing about other readers doing it and enjoying it.
I started reading the book at the airport and was relieved to find out that although I had no cell service or wife at the retreat, the audiobook still worked.
“The Queen’s Gambit” is the story of Elizabeth, who quickly finds herself at an orphanage for girls in the book’s first pages. Her parents were killed in a car accident, and now she’s at this orphanage, where everyone gets a daily tranquilizer.
One day when she visits the basement to clean the erasers, she finds the janitor playing chess. He starts teaching her how to play. She takes to the game quickly, and starts getting invited to compete in local tournaments.
The story that follows is partly about Elizabeth’s career as a competitive chess player, but it is also one of deep trauma and addiction.
I know “The Queen’s Gambit” was a Netflix phenomenon during the pandemic lockdown, but I hadn’t seen it before reading the book.
I went into the book almost blind (I knew it had a chess element), so it was darker than I expected. However, I enjoyed the story and thought it was well-written.
After I finished the book, I watched the show and was very impressed with how well they went together.
Many people describe adaptations as “bringing the story to life,” but this did! What I found even more impressive was the book’s author, Walter Tevis, passed away before the Netflix show was created — so he wasn’t even around for consultation.
But the show turned out great! It helped me understand a lot about the book that wasn’t as powerful, but reading it also helped me appreciate the show more.
All in all, I really enjoyed the book. I recommend it if you’re at all interested in chess 🙂
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