They say the book is always better than the movie.
Creative Writing Prof. Laura Kasischke, though, isn’t afraid of what she’ll see on the silver screen when “In Bloom” premiers this fall.
The film, starring Uma Thurman, is based on Kasischke’s novel, “The Life Before Her Eyes.”
The novel tells the story of a 40-year-old woman who was spared in a school shooting at age 17. Her friend was not so fortunate. As the protagonist enters middle age, the shooting begins to come back to haunt her, and she is forced to deal with the consequences.
The movie rights to “The Life before Her Eyes” were purchased about five years ago, Kasischke said, but she didn’t find out Uma Thurman would be starring until last May.
The film’s release will be the culmination of a long process that left her wondering if the movie would ever be made, she said.
She said she went to the movie set with her son while they were filming at Yale University.
“That’s when it seemed real,” Kasischke said of the visit to Yale.
On the set, Kasischke and her son Jack met Thurman and director Vadim Perelman, whose previous credits include “House of Sand and Fog.”
Kasischke has made at least one fellow creative writing professor proud.
Uma Thurman smiles from the wall of Prof. Keith Taylor’s office in Angell Hall.
“There’s Jack and Uma,” he said proudly, describing how Kasischke sent him the picture after she and her son met the famous actress.
Taylor first met Kasischke when she came to the University as an undergraduate student back in the early 1980s.
“She gives a very different first impression from her writing,” he said, describing Kasischke as “bouncy.”
A reader might not get that light-hearted impression from her work.
“Her work itself is very dark,” Taylor said. “It’s kind of like she slapped you in the face.”
Kasischke said she began writing in high school and became more serious about it as time went on. She was a creative writing major as an undergraduate at the University and stayed in Ann Arbor to complete her master’s degree. Kaischke has netted seven Hopwood awards during her career at the University.
Talyor said he watched her improve over the years, from her first poetry book, “Wild Brides,” published in 1991, to the release of last month’s novel, “Be Mine.”
Her first poems were cluttered and ornate, Taylor said, but over time became more thoughtful and quieter. Her novels, however, kept an edge.
While most writers publish a book every three or four years, she manages to publish one almost every year, he said.
Nithya Joseph, an LSA sophomore and one of Kasischke’s former students, said in an e-mail interview that Kasischke created a “strong sense of respect in the class, which is crucial when you read and comment on each other’s work.”
Joseph said that Kasischke’s encouragement was inspiring “in a world where saying you want to be a writer can be such a dubious claim to credibility.”
There is a lot of rejection in writing, and even when things are going well, it’s a long process between writing a piece and publishing a piece, Kasischke said.
“There is no instant gratification,” she said.