Welcome to Benjamin Button day on CHUD! You’ve read my review and seen some clips, so now let’s talk about the source material.
As everybody knows, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald story… sort of. The idea of a guy named Benjamin Button who ages backwards comes from there, but Fitzgerald’s story is comic. Button is born full sized. There’s no love story. You can read the original here.
What io9 has noticed, though, is that the film version of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button seems to have more in common with the 2004 book The Confessions of Max Tivoli:
In fact, the Button movie has one crucial similarity to Andrew Sean Greer’s 2004 novel, The Confessions Of Max Tivoli: they’re both structured as a love story. In both works, a man who’s born old and ages backwards falls in love as a child. And he loves the same woman for his entire lifetime. And in both the Greer novel and the new movie, the man and the woman connect at three different stages of their lives, as he grows younger and she grows older.
io9 doesn’t mention that Max Tivoli is written in the form of a confessional of a father to a child… just like the movie version of Benjamin Button. That’s a heck of a coincidence.
I haven’t read Max Tivoli, but it seems to fill in some of the gaps that irritated me in Benjamin Button, such as the fact that Tivoli is aware that his condition means that his death is foretold at a certain point. We all know that we’re going to die some day, but being born an old person seems to really let you know when that some day will be.
Apparently Greer is being pretty low key about the whole thing, but the resemblance is remarkable.
You can buy The Confessions of Max Tivoli right here.