These are two separate things, the film 'Akira', and 'The Beach' by Alex Garland. It's not like Jonah and the Whale.
I remember everyone talking about The Beach, and then there was the film and the song. I never seemed to read the book or see the film, but I heard Pure Shores on the radio quite a bit. My brother had the book and said it was good, but I remained a bit of a grumpy skeptic.
I then heard about Alex Garland having writer's block. Is this true? This actually pushed me slightly in the direction of reading TB. Then it somehow came up in conversation with Anita at work. She said it was one of her favourite books, she brought it in.
It really is enjoyable, and a bit shocking. Shades of Lord of the Flies perhaps? The protagonist is not someone I'd be friends with in real life. The narrator presents the tale as an allegory of the Vietnam war. I think Thomas Hobbes would have regarded it as a story of what happens to people in 'the state of nature' when there's no Leviathan. Or perhaps Sal is the Leviathan. You've got me confused now.
Let's move on to the Animated film Akira. Surely I can't go wrong with a cartoon. Can I? My highlight is when the hero has hallucinations. I don't think I've ever had an actual hallucination, but it seemed like you could show that bit of the film to people to give them an idea of what it's like to have a mental illness that grotesquely distorts reality.
Now I've got to return the book to Anita, and it's in a poor state after being carried round in my bag for ages. Hope she's okay about that...