Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, narrated by Scott Brick

I think I read Jurassic Park either at the wrong time, or in the wrong format. I used to be hesitant towards full-length audiobooks, fearing that I’d daydream at the wrong moment and skip important details. In fact, at one point during listening to this, I took an accidental hour-long nap and didn’t realise that the book had kept on playing until I took it up again later on, getting a full half-hour in before wondering if I’d missed some.

One of my earliest childhood memories is being taken to see Jurassic Park at the cinema. I’d recently turned six, and was on a family holiday in Skegness. I had to have a special afternoon nap so I could stay up late enough. The cinema was so packed we had to sit on the front row, and I kept my little neck craned in amazement throughout the whole thing. Every fibre of my tiny being loved it, and even as an adult, it remains a life-long favourite. Under those circumstances, the book was always going to have a hard time living up to expectations.

Surprisingly, for the most part I thought the plot unfolded in a largely similar fashion to the movie (hence, perhaps, the did-I-or-didn’t-I confusion of the accidental nap). Certainly the framing is different, and some characters meet different ends, but all things considered I’d say the film adaptation was a fairly faithful one. There is an awful lot of scientific and mathematical theorising though, which is the chief reason I wish I’d read rather than listened to it. Concepts that would have been simple to parse on paper flitted between my ears and away again. I absolutely loved the beginning chapters, with the slow discovery of dinosaur migration to the nearest islands passing from one character to the next. I’d be happy to give Jurassic Park another shot in future, and certainly wouldn’t rule out reading more Michael Crichton, but I’d definitely do it in paperback next time.

[Read from 20-30 November 2016]

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