Wild at Heart; The Story of Sailor and Lula, by Barry Gifford, is a good book, but not a great one, and a rare instance of the movie being better than the book.
Sailor has just gotten out of prison for killing a man while defending Lula's honor. The two embark on a cross-country trip through the seamy underbelly of the American south, searching for a new beginning and trying to stay a step ahead of Lula's mother's detective. The best parts of this novel are the dialogues between Lula and Sailor, mostly because Lula has the heart of a poet, though it is expressed through the mind of a child. And theirs is a great love, albeit one pruned by circumstances. This book could as easily have been placed in general fiction, or in romance. But the criminal element pervaded the book, and it never really reached the level of literature. The great movie David Lynch made from this novel did a much better job of capturing the grotesqueries Gifford hinted at in this rather underdone book. And Lynch fleshed out the story in a much more satisfying way. This was a quick read, with much to like, liberal splashes of dark humor, and compelling characters. But, having seen what could be done with this material, it was ultimately disappointing. 3 stars.