Cover of "Shutter Island: A Novel"
Cover of Shutter Island: A Novel

I watched “Shutter Island,” the movie, long before I had heard about the book.  I enjoyed it, especially the ending, and then found out that not only was there a book, but it was by acclaimed author Dennis Lehane, who wrote Mystic River among others.  That book, and the movie made from it, were amazing, if depressing, and I went in search of Shutter Island to read the book from which the movie came.

It is possible that if I had read the book first, I would have noticed more glaring differences in the movie as is so often the case, but having seen the movie first I found it is very faithful to the book itself.

In Shutter Island, a team of US Marshals go to the island, which is home to Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to investigate the near-impossible disappearance of a patient.  As we go on in the story, we learn that the lead Marshal, Teddy Daniels, has other motives in being there.  His partner, Chuck Aule, is new to him, this being their first case together, and the two bond as the case progresses and they are stranded on the island due to a massive hurricane which cuts the island off from outside contact.

The book does have some differences from the movie, but nothing that was necessary to follow the story.  No major plot points were cut out in the movie, and the story was handled artfully, with Teddy Daniels being played convincingly by Leonardo DiCaprio, one of my favorites since he was in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

I truly enjoyed both the book and the movie.  For those of you who have neither seen the movie or read the book I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that I didn’t see it coming.  Since I had already seen the movie, and knew the eventual outcome, I was worried that I wouldn’t like the book as much, that the ending would be ruined.  As it turned out however, I enjoyed the book just as much because I knew what was coming and was anxious to see how the book handled it compared to the movie.  That is, in my opinion, what makes Lehane such a great writer.  Even knowing the final ending, his art as a writer makes the book still worth reading.

I recommend the book to anyone who likes a good psychological thriller, and the movie both to those with the same interest, and fans of DiCaprio.  In both cases, it will be time well spent.