Note: I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. Chasing Diana – Perception Vs. Reality: Inspired By Our True Story was selected as an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day. You can check out both the novel and other reviews here!
I was very surprised when I began reading Chasing Diana. Not in solely a pleasant or unpleasant way, but in both. And though I wouldn’t recommend this work to everyone, the story is worth a look.
Princess Diana was killed on August 31st, 1997. To this day, the tragedy that took place in that tunnel remains a mystery. What exactly happened? Who better to tell us than two eye witnesses themselves? The authors, Jack and Robin, were in the tunnel when the crash happened. Chasing Diana is based on their true story, a telling perfect for those both familiar and unfamiliar with the tale. An intriguing mystery and a heartbreaking story, Chasing Diana gives readers a first-hand perspective on Princess Diana’s death. A day that will never be forgotten.
What surprised me most about this story was the format. The description made myself, and many others, assume that it was a novel, but that isn’t the case. In fact, Chasing Diana is a screenplay. This did throw me at first, as I imagine it would many others. But I’ve a fair bit of experience reading both scripts and screenplays, so the layout was relatively easy for me to follow. For those unfamiliar though, I’m not sure if it would be. It would be better for the authors to clarify that this story is a screenplay, not a novel, rather than surprising them once they begin reading.
I didn’t know what to expect going in, but I was quite pleased with the fast pace of the story. Chasing Diana jumps right into the action, and it was really fascinating to read about this event from people who were actually there. Though the characters are merely based on the authors, the realistic light shines through. You feel as if you’re in the middle of this mystery, watching the intrigue and corruption unfold around you. It’s not only a fast read, but an easy one. It keeps you hooked from the first page until the last.
Though I was pleased overall with the tone of the story, I definitely have some criticisms. And one is the relationship between James and Rhonda, the main characters. Their marriage is unhealthy at the best of times, toxic and abusive at others. James will call Rhonda names one moment, and the next is complimenting her. And for the most part, she takes it! The lack of resolution about this truly bothered me. As the novel progresses, there is this sudden flip where James and Rhonda, for the most part, are happy together. The abruptness and lack of explanation feels unrealistic, and more time should have been spent on this.
Speaking of abrupt, that is the perfect word to describe the ending of this screenplay. You turn the page and feel flabbergasted. There should be more, shouldn’t there? There seem to be at least a couple of loose ends, but not enough to pass for a mysterious, Inception-like ending. The fact of the matter is that while most of the story was fast-paced and enjoyable, the ending was sudden, disappointing, and left too many things unresolved.
Chasing Diana was not what I expected, and honestly, I’m not even sure if it can be considered a good screenplay. But as I said, hearing the tale from two people who were actually there was really quite something. And for that reason, I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the tragedy of Princess Diana. Overall, I would give Chasing Diana 2.5/5 stars. The story is fantastic, but truth be told, I enjoyed Author’s Notes more than the screenplay itself.
Remember that this is just my opinion! Feel free to check out other reviews, along with the book itself over at OnlineBookClub.org!