Every avid reader at some point in their life has had the book to movie adaptation discussion. Sometimes it manifests in general terms, for example are adaptations beneficial or detrimental to the effort of instilling a love of reading into our younger generations. It’s a good question. Some people will see a movie, love it so much they decide to read the book and discover that it’s even better than they originally imagined. Others will see a movie and decide they don’t need to read the book because they already know what’s going to happen.
More likely though, us avid readers have the discussion about specific books and their corresponding movies. We often point out the all differences in the movie version and why they were good or bad. Usually they’re bad because we are often extremely devoted to the book version and our own imaginations.
Personally I like to view this discussion from my comfortable spot on the fence. If I turn my head one way I get to watch a movie and the other way I get to read the book. Best of both worlds, right? I think most people would agree.
When I really love a book I won’t watch the movie adaptation, but in the past year I’ve noticed a new habit of mine. When I really dislike a book and I discover there is a movie adaptation I immediately watch it and it gives me immense satisfaction. At first it happened by fluke. A customer told me a particular movie was better than the book and we spoke about how rare an occurrence that is. So I watched the movie without having read the book and decided that the movie was really bad and that there was no way it could be better than the book, clearly this customer didn’t know what she was talking about. But as it turns out she knew exactly what she was talking about. I read the book … I wouldn’t go so far as to say the movie was better but I would say it was equally as bad.
Since then it became almost an obsession for me. The first thing I do when I finish a book that I didn’t really enjoy is check to see if there is a movie version. It’s as if I am hoping the movie will redeem the book, will bring the story to life for me. Sometimes you have to see something from another perspective in order to be able to appreciate it. Plus there is the added benefit of not being disappointed by the movie because your expectations were already pretty low.
The reason I don’t watch movie adaptations of books I love has become the reason I do watch adaptations of books I don’t love. When a book is really special to me I don’t want to see anyone else’s perception of it, I don’t care how other people view “my” characters or “my” story, I become possessive of the images. When the books don’t appeal to me though watching the movie is like saying show me why you love it so that I can love it too.