I had high hopes coming into this novel. The movie is one of my all-time favorites, and I usually enjoy reading the book to get all the details and variations that the movie just didn't have time for. In this case that didn't work out.
For the second time in a few weeks I have read a book that later became a movie, and I thought that the movie was better than the book. In this case, the story and the images in the movie were brilliant. Here, the story was simpler, and the visuals much less dramatic.
I'll never forget the image of Robin Williams running through the field with the colors of the flowers smearing as he ran, or the scenes of the "hell" region and the lost masses. But the book replaces these vivid images with page after page describing the grey scenery and describing the separation of the body and spirit, or vague references to other levels of life after death.
Still, not a terrible book, and I thought the ending in the book was well written, and very touching. I'll go with three stars because it was a fun read, and I can only blame myself for my expectations being so high.