It seems appropriate that I finished my cbr10bingo for #The Book Was Better? on Halloween as it was a scary(ish) book called The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs.
I think I read this as a kid about thirty years ago. This is probably why I have no real memory of it. Therefore, I was reading it for the first time. I had hoped to read it as the movie just came out. And while I am not a Jack Black fan, he might make an interesting Uncle Jonathan. However, no matter how good of an actor Owen Vaccaro is, that is not Lewis. And Cate Blanchett is not Mrs. Zimmerman. Hollywood kept the “bumbling uncle” and upped it by the looks of things and took a cute kid and made him thin and probably a bit more “manly” then portly, young, naive Lewis. And frankly, Blanchett is much too young to be cranky, old, lovable Mrs. Zimmerman.
I will go at the movie not as a movie based on a beloved book, but as its own entity and tell you the book is cool for that eight to 10-year-old reader who likes mystery and thriller without going into the “horror” genre. I would even go as far as upping it to say a (young) 13 or 14-year-old could get something from it. The mystery is simple: find that (bleeping) ticking night and day clock in the wall before it ends the world as we know it. There is mystery, magic and humor. There is a non-traditional family that loves each other and is a classic that aged well. Edward Gorey’s classic style of illustrations pepper the book and are a delightful addition.
Overall, this is a strong four and the only real issue I have with the book is there is a lot of buildup and a very quick ending.