Some people refuse to watch movie adaptions of books they’ve read. The common consensus is that the movie is never as good as the book. But I find it hard to resist seeing characters come to life on the movie screen. Yes, it can be hit and miss, but it’s interesting to see what works and what doesn’t. Here are a few adaptions I’ve watched lately.
Everything, Everything (book by Nicola Yoon)
Book: I read this for my monthly book club. It’s a quick, easy, enjoyable read. The protagonist, Maddy, is a girl who lives an isolated life because she can’t go outside her house without getting sick. A cute boy moves in next door and a relationship of sorts develops, but how will they make it work? If you break it down the plot has some issues, but really if you over-analyse any kind of fiction it falls apart. Best to suspend disbelief and go with the flow.
Movie: I enjoyed the movie, but in this case, I felt the book was better. Mainly because some of my favourite moments in the book didn’t occur in the movie. In the book, Olly does parkour and teaches Maddy how to do handstands. In the movie, this part of Olly’s character is missing. Also, I felt that Maddy’s imaginary scenes with Olly prior to their actual meeting detracted from excitement of their first meeting irl.
Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List (book by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn)
Movie: Here is a case where I’ve watched the movie adaption before I have read the book. I feel hesitant to read the book, because I enjoyed the movie so much. Naomi has been best friends with Ely forever. Even though he’s gay, she’s secretly in love with him. In the interest of maintaining their friendship, they create a No Kiss list of boys they both like. However, they neglect to add Naomi’s boyfriend, Bruce 2, to the list, because, well, “some things are just obvious”. I’ve read reviews saying how annoying and ego-centric these characters are, but I think that’s the point. Through the breakdown of Naomi and Ely’s insular friendship, they are finally able to grow and become better people.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (book by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn)
Book: I read this book for book club several years ago and I didn’t like it. The plot seemed to wander aimlessly, and I found the writing uneven – I liked reading Nick’s chapters much more than Norah’s. There was also a storyline where Norah kept trying to force herself to do something that she really didn’t want to do and that annoyed me no end.
Movie: After enjoying No Kiss List, I thought I would give this DL/RC movie adaption a go and am happy to report that the movie was much better than the book. The annoying subplot was gone, and the story seemed much more coherent: Norah asks Nick to pretend to be her boyfriend for five minutes to get an annoying school mate (who happens to be Nick’s ex) off her back. They spend the rest of the night simultaneously trying to get Norah’s drunk bestie home, trying to find out where the best band in the universe is playing their secret gig, and falling in love.
Some adaptions where I liked the book better: The Cat in the Hat – Dr Seuss, Percy Jackson books – Rick Riordon, Howl’s Moving Castle – Dianna Wynn Jones, Twilight – Stephenie Myer, Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson
Some adaptions where I liked both the book and the movie: The Book Thief – Markus Zusak, Harry Potter franchise – JK Rowling, Hunger Games franchise – Suzanne Collins, The Fault in our Stars – John Green
Another adaption where I liked the movie better: The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
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