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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again: 02/01/13
Before starting in on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce, read the introduction. Boyce explains why he wrote this sequel and why he wrote it the way he did. Boyce, like I think many people of our generation, saw the movie before reading the book, and was shocked by how little the movie resembled Ian Fleming's book. The only thing the book and the movie agreed on was the make of the car and the fact that it could fly of its own accord.
Boyce goes one further — deciding that it could be any model of flying car. Well, not exactly, but the Tooting's vehicle of choice is one of those old air cooled VW bus — something vintage with the movie. I have to admit that a flying VW bus gave me pause but Boyce trundles on with the comedic confidence you'll find from the likes of Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams. And he pulls it off.
In all fairness to the cover art — the Tootings don't start off with a flying car (or a VW bus). Both come over the course of the first third of the novel. The bus is part midlife crisis and part family hobby, a means to a family vacation on an extreme budget after dear old dad is made redundant.
The remainder of the book is the adventure itself — some of which involves flying. There are baddies who are a stylistic compromise between the straight up gangster types of Fleming's book and the more magical (surreal) baddies of the film.
And, just as the film broke for Boyce, right as things were getting really interesting, the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. As this is a book about a flying car, the cliffhanger is rather literal.
The relaunch continues (thankfully!) with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time (March 2013).