It’s an age old battle…well not really since movies aren’t ages old, but you know what I mean. It is a debate that many take seriously, particularly when concerning their favorite book and/or movie.
Now, there aren’t too many people who would irrevocably say that movies are simply better than the books…and if there are, I don’t want to meet them…but there is, from time to time, a specific movie that a person prefers over the book (though I can’t come up with one right now, so let me know if you have one).
Bottom line, the book is always (seriously, almost always) better than the movie; which is why I am firm believer that whenever possible SEE THE MOVIE FIRST!
Now bear with me. I know it’s not a common opinion and there are reading lists upon reading lists that tell you what books to read in order to PREPARE to see the movie, but fellow book lovers, don’t do it! Ignore those lists and watch the movie first!
Here’s my argument. 1) You see the movie first and enjoy it. You fall in love with the characters and want to know more about them so 2) you pick up the book. And the book is amazing! It’s better, with a fuller story, flushed out characters not even included in the movie and you simply love it. Bottom line: when you see the movie first, you can love both the movie and the book for the stories they tell, different as they are, each can have it’s own space of appreciation. Rarely, at least for me, does it work the other way.
Let me give you an example. I just finished reading, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, and it was delightful. It had been recommended to me a year ago or so, but it never hit the top of my reading list and then it came out as a movie on Netflix. I watched it…it’s wonderful and I decided I wanted more, so I picked up the book on Audible. It too was…wait for it…wonderful! I thoroughly enjoyed the book even though it was quite a bit different than the movie. You see, since I saw the movie first I can appreciate the movie for the story it told and I can enjoy the book for the story it told. Reading the book simply adds instead of subtracts which is sometimes all you can see when you’ve read the book first. I am telling you this is fool proof.
I can’t actually think of a book I read before I saw the movie. I’m sure there is one…but I got nothing. Often times when I have read the book and utterly loved it, I struggle to ever watch the movie. My oldest, case-in-point would be The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Leonel and I read that out loud to each other on our first road trip and I am just not ever going to see that movie. It will simply ruin my romantic memory. And sure, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are probably great but no….just no.
Then there are the big ones; Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, all Jane Austen. Yep, I either watched the movies first or never even read the books (sorry Jane, Persuasion was the only one I ever got through).
Now, I have been proven wrong at least once. I refused to ever see Perks of Being a Wallflower because it was another one of those books I simply adored and just never thought I could appreciate a movie version (vomit emoji) and then I attended a birthday party movie marathon that included Perks and I was wrong. The movie is fantastic! I credit most of that to Ezra Miller who is bananas good, but the adaptation was spectacular (and if you do not know who Ezra Miller is…look him up, he is amazing)!
I love books and actually, I love movies too, so I want to love both the movie and the book versions of stories…but the books will always be better. So in my humble opinion, whenever possible, in order to love and appreciate both the movie and the book, watch the movie first. You can thank me later ;).
Happy reading everyone!
Bookreads review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
Shout-outs to Karen Gruenisen and Jill Rode, who both know why. Thanks ladies!