This summer, I went to see Where the Crawdads Sing. (For those of you who don’t come here for the film reviews, don’t worry—this isn’t one.)
I was sitting alone in one of those big, cushy recliners that I just can’t quite get used to in movie theaters—they’re great when they’re brand new, but I shudder to think of these recliners in 5-10 years after mountains of soda, popcorn and candy have been spilled on them. Sure, they clean them, but how well? Are they getting into every crack and crevice?
But I digress. This post is not a review nor a diatribe against the cleanliness of the recliners.
It’s about a snippet of conversation I overhead.
Ahead of me, a man and a woman sat together, talking before the movie began. It became immediately clear that the woman wanted to see the film, and she’d dragged her husband along with her.
It was opening weekend for the film, and people were streaming into the theater.
The man expressed surprise at the size of the crowd.
“This movie is based on a very popular book,” the woman told him.
Understanding book sales is tricky, but Where the Crawdads Sing topped the weekly New York Times bestseller fiction list in 2019 and 2020. And it’s still selling in 2022, currently spending over two and a half years on the bestseller’s list.
If this Wikipedia article is to be believed, it’s sold more copies than The Grapes of Wrath, A Wrinkle in Time, and Catch-22.
It’s part of the Reese Witherspoon Book Club, the best thing to happen to fiction sales since Oprah. My local Barnes and Noble and Target are both selling Crawdads-themed journals.
And among a sea of Tom Cruise and Marvel Superheroes, they made a big screen adaptation.
Not direct to streaming.
So whatever you think of Where the Crawdads Sing, calling it a “very popular book” is a vast understatement.
You know what this guy said when his wife told him the film was based on a very popular book?
“How popular can it be? I’ve never heard of it.”
I’m sure he hasn’t. And some people don’t know who won last year’s Super Bowl.
Doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal.
A few minutes later, he said with obvious scorn, “Mostly women here.”
“Men could’ve read the book too, you know,” she told him, annoyance finally creeping into her voice.
“Unlikely,” he said.
He was so smart, he knew everything about everything.
Even the things of which he knew nothing.
A Know-Nothing Know-It-All
Must be nice.