Books to Movies...

I feel my heart twinge in my chest and an immediate sense of questionability in whether I can truly continue with any typical contact with a person when I hear the phrase ……“I think I’ll just wait for the movie.”

The fuck did you just say? You want the cut down, condensed, most likely altered (butchered) version of this story? How is that possible?  

I struggle with non-readers. Like the offensive words above, when I hear the sentence. “I’m not really a reader,” I struggle to compute. If you mutter these words to me, be prepared for a discussion to follow, because, how? Is it just that you haven’t found the right genre that fires your desire to devour words? Is it that you are so lacking of free time, there just isn’t enough hours in the day for you to consider picking up a book? But, unfortunately, most of the time I pose these questions, I’m often met with an answer along the lines of, “I just find it boring. Why read it when I can see it on the screen?”

I’ve come to accept, in my own mind, that people who find reading boring, lack imagination and I feel sorry for them. They’re missing out on the greatest a book can show you. How sad for them. These short sentences seem awfully judgemental, but truth be told, when it comes to people who don’t read, I struggle to understand them.

Trust me when I tell you that my closest friends read and devour books like I do. If you aren’t one hundred percent invested in the world of escape, of allowing the artfully crafted use of words to insert you into another world, I don’t think we can actually be friends. I talk of book characters like they’re real people, because for me, in the time I spend in that book, they most definitely are.

Which brings me to a question constantly thrown around - did you prefer the book or the movie? Don’t get me wrong I always love a good screen adaptation, wanting to see my favourite stories unfold on the big screen, allowing me to see the world an author created and compare it to the version I imagined in my mind. But, if a trailer to a movie peaks my interest and I know it’s an adaptation of a novel, I will always read the book first. How could I not? How could I not want to experience the story exactly how the author intended it? I understand the need for minor changes and omissions in an adaptation, but I want to experience the story in all its beauty first.

Now here is where I divulge my dirty little secret, I have a book, just one, in which, for me, the screen adaptation was superior. The movie caught me in a way the book didn’t. It’s the only one, but it’s there and maybe totally cliché, but’s it one of my all time favourite movies. The Notebook. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this movie, more than is probably healthy, but I love it and it hits me right in the feels every time I see it. The transfer of Noah and Ally from the words written on a page into their film, was done brilliantly. And then, well, Ryan Gosling. Gone was the gawky guy who was more liability than football hero in Remember the Titans and enter deliciousness of this unfairly beautiful man.

Aside from my love of The Notebook, the only film franchise that has come close to comparing in their book to film adaptation, was Harry Potter. Being a serious Potter fan, there are omissions in the story that still grate me to this day, but I can’t fault the movies, because I loved every single one of them and like The Notebook, I’ve watched them all countless times and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

Yet, The Time Travellers Wife, The Girl on the Train, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Me Before You, Twilight, A Walk to Remember, Dear John and dare I say it for fear of reproach, Fifty Shades of Grey; all disappointed me. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

So, why, do you ask, do I crave movie adaptations? Why, if more often that not, they disappoint, do I continue to watch?

Firstly, there’s the possibility of another moment like The Notebook. For the movie to blow me away and to become one of my all-time favourites. But I think mostly, I like seeing someone else’s version of the story come to life. Everyone interprets a story differently and I love seeing the characters I love (or love to hate), come to life, being able to see them in front of my eyes and watch their story become real again in a different way.

I have books I crave to be turned into a movie. I read a book I love and I consider what actors/actresses would play the characters, how scenes would look played out for our eyes and I dream of someone seeing the beauty in a story enough to create it in way that it’s visible, for everyone. Especially those people that prefer to just watch the film, (insert eye roll), because if a novel is brilliant, I think the author should be celebrated in every possible way.

Jenna McIntyreComment