The Other Typist: A Case of The Movie Being Potentially Better Than the Book

The book Gone Girl is kind of a big deal. The movie is coming out in the fall and there seems to be an appetite for books in a similar style. So publishers can be forgiven for trying to capitalize on that – books need to make money so that more of them can continue to be published right?

Which brings us to today’s book review: The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindall. Right on the cover it says  if you liked Gone Girl, you might like this book. I’m not ashamed to admit that that line sold me on this particular book. Reading it I wondered more than once “where is the Gone Girl aspect?”


The Other Typist is a first person narrative told by Rose Baker, a typist with a New York City precinct in 1924-25, right in the middle of Prohibition. Rose is an orphan, living in a shared room in a boarding house, harbouring a crush on the upstanding, older Sergeant she works with. Rose prides herself on her work ethic and her good, clean, law abiding values.

But then Odalie Lazare comes to the precinct to help the typists with all of the extra work that’s been created due to Prohibition and Rose finds herself strangely drawn to this woman. She’s jealous when Odalie pays more attention to the other typists and is thrilled when Odalie’s sights come to rest on her. Before she knows it, she’s moved into Odalie’s grand Park Avenue hotel suite, mysteriously paid for by Odalie’s “father.”

Soon Rose is accompanying Odalie to speakeasies all over town, even running errands for her. She suspects that Odalie has something to do with the bootleggers but she really doesn’t want to know the whole truth so she doesn’t try too hard to figure it out.

I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that the 1920s as a setting for stories is not my thing. I found this novel, the combination of first person narrative and the emphasis on Odalie’s facial expressions as a way of moving the story along, to be better suited to a movie. Everything is explained so much, rather than letting us work out what’s happening. It wasn’t subtle enough.

I found that that real story didn’t get started for a long time. It’s a 350 page book – it took about 200 pages for me to be interested. None of the characters are likeable: Odalie is a fake, you can see that from the beginning; Rose is way too uptight and then she becomes kind of obsessive about Odalie.

A little bit of google sleuthing tells me that this book is actually in pre-production with Keira Knightley in a starring role, so I guess I wasn’t the only one that saw the movie potential here. This may be one of those rare times where the movie is better than the book.

21 thoughts on “The Other Typist: A Case of The Movie Being Potentially Better Than the Book

  1. I’ve had this book on my radar for a while now, but have never gotten to it. Thanks to your review, I feel okay about just dropping it altogether now and moving on. The more books I can do that with, the better! 🙂

  2. I read this when it first came out and didn’t think Gone Girl at all. I thought it was “fine” for a period piece but not great. I noticed Goodreads changed the cover art — it’s more movie poster like. Interesting.

  3. I liked the book, but definitely nothing like Gone Girl – that comparison is just setting us up for disappointment! I think you’re right about its potential as a movie.

  4. This has been hovering at the middle of the TBR for me. I do love the 20s as a setting though. Do you realize in a few years we will have to clarify whether 20s means 1920s or 2020s?!

  5. Eep! I was really excited about this book and I actually have it on my shelf waiting to be read. I’m nervous to start it now! I’m glad you at least think it’ll be good as a movie, since I’ll probably want to watch it after I read the book!

  6. I’ve seen “for fans of Gone Girl” on pretty much every book cover on the market right now, so I’m thinking it’s all lies 🙂 They did the same thing with Harry Potter and Twilight.
    I’m not a big fan of 1920s books either. Weird.
    It’s too bad the book is not that good as the cover is quite marvelous. -Tania

    • I’m glad at least I didn’t miss the Gone Girl similarities. I was sad that I didn’t like it, honestly. It should have been something to enjoy. I am looking forward to seeing the screen translation though. I think the novel relied too much on facial expressions and interpretations to make for a fluid reading experience. Those will be easier to pick up on on a screen.

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