|Rose McGowen as Mary Winkler in The Pastor’s Wife|
I’ve been on vacation and hadn’t seen the Lifetime movie version of my book until a couple of days ago. For starters, I need to say that I never expected the production to faithfully reproduce my book–and it didn’t. I simply cared that the movie was well done and I believe it was.
I am not alone in that assessment either. Variety called “a small luxury” and “eminently watchable.” The New York Daily News wrote:
“(Rose)McGowan and (Michael) Shanks, as well as family and friends, play their parts well. The story is also couched in just enough ambivalence that we realize we are hearing only Mary’s side of the details. The good day will be when real life will not yield material for a movie like “The Pastor’s Wife.”
|The real preacher’s wife, Mary Winkler|
The Lifetime show was produced as entertainment wrapped around a serious message about domestic violence. It excelled at that but it did divert from the facts in many places. For example, the brutal porch scene was built out of a little truth and a lot of drama; the ages of the Matthew and Mary’s daughters were changed; and some the the court testimony was altered. It was not a documentary and for the full story, read my book or find reputable periodical articles on line. But as a television show, the movie was riveting and well done.
But I imagine the folks in charge of tourism in Orange Beach, Alabama, are gnashing their teeth right now. The ugly beach depicted in the film bore no resemblence to the beautiful white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t know how anyone could attract tourists if their so-called beach looked like the rocky mud wallow portrayed on the television screen.
And the title of the book and movie? My, I’ve gotten a lot of email about that since the book was published in 2008. I titled the book THE PREACHER’S WIFE. The publisher insisted on changing that title to THE PASTOR’S WIFE. I argued that the new title was inaccurate. The Churches of Christ do not call the head of their churches pastors–they call them preachers. I lost that battle and thus the faulty title.
Regardless, THE PASTOR’S WIFE is a fascinating story whether told from Mary’s perspective as seen on the Lifetime movie or from the more objective presentation in my book. In addition, to presenting the facts as clearly as I could in the body of the story, I wrap up THE PASTOR’S WIFE, as I do all my true crime books, with an afterward reflecting my opinions and experiences in writing about the case. The movie is now available for viewing on line. And my book is available in paperback and ebook on line. I hope you enjoy them both.