Jim's April 2013 review
Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear Jimmy. Happy birthday to you! April
marks the 60th anniversary of James Bond in print. In anticipation of
this landmark, I went back and reread some of my favorite Bond books.
you have never experienced 007, the books are the place to start. It's
easier to go with the movies, especially since the latest Bond, played
by Daniel Craig, is so very good, but a greater understanding of the
character comes through in the books. Right from the start, in Casino Royale, Ian
Fleming portrays Bond as a foodie with refined tastes.
Also, whether for himself or when picking out a frock for his latest
gal pal, James knows which labels to shop for and which to ignore. I
swear, it's like he is an early version of a metrosexual. He smokes the
finest cigarettes and always drinks the top-shelf booze, opting for
local favorites wherever he lands. When in America, Bond is more likely
to sip bourbon instead of his trademark shaken-not-stirred vodka
martini. For someone who has a license to kill, 007 is such a connoiseur
Throughout the novels, like Doctor No, and my favorite, You Only Live Twice, it
is easy to see that Fleming gives his spy guy a much more complex
emotional life than is portrayed on film. Bond has a conscience and
cares for people.
I would swear that he has a bromance with Felix Leiter, his American
counterpart. In the aftermath of a truly violent scene, 007 can get
queasy and retch. I never saw that happen in any of the films. Fleming
can lay on the cheese, though, as when in Goldfinger Bond is so cool and manly that he makes Pussy Galore change her lesbian inclinations.
you want to know the real James Bond, not some smart-ass, tossing off
bonmots with aplomb, but someone with more than two-dimensions, go to
the books. And read them in order better to experience Fleming's
growing investment in Bond. In the later books, it is obvious that both
the spy and the spymaker are getting a bit tired. Fleming even wanted to
kill Bond off at the end of From Russia With Love. Rosa Klebb actually kicks him with that poisoned shoe of hers. Can you believe that? Thank God for antidotes.
are many more treasures to be found in the written escapades of 007. So
long live Bond, James Bond! Cue the music, and someone, get me a bloody