Books versus Movies: Part 2

The next dilemma is: do you read the book first or wait for the movie? I feel I may be a little on the unpopular side of this debate but I have come to my conclusion after a quite a bit of trial and error over the years.


In my highly scientific studies so far I have realised that the best order for me is to watch the movie first before reading the book (if I haven’t already). I promise I have a method to my madness (and I’m sure some of you will call it madness). To start with I generally find that if I have read the book first I end up disappointed with the out come. A notable example for me was This Is Where I Leave You. I adored the book and spent my time reading it bursting out loud in laughter, even when reading it in public at my favourite coffee shop. When it came to the movie I found a lot of the humour in the book was lost in and the movie ended up kind of depressing. I’m disappointed if the characters don’t fit my mental image, or they change major arcs of the plot, both of which were evident in the afore mentioned movie. This has happened many a time and I have just learnt that this path leads more often that not to frustration and disappointment.


Take the order and reverse it and I have much more success. By watching the movie first I fall in love with the simplicity of the plot because I don’t know any better. If the plot of the  book has more depth, that is great and it only adds to my experience but I already am happy with the simplicity of the movie. If you want the movie first you also already have a visual image of the characters and what they look like, rather than having pre-conceptions of what they are like you already have them in your mind. That way when it comes to reading the story you can concentrate on the plot developments and character growth. A great example I have in this situation is The Notebook. I first watched the movie and just fell in love. I mean, who didn’t? It was a beautiful story and you just fell in love with Noah and Allie and every. single. time. I watch it I am left in tears. I just loved it. Then I read the book. So much with the book was different, the story and the characters had so much more to them. In particular Noah, he was so different, so deep. You didn’t get a sense of it in the movie but the book just developed such a complex character. Would I have loved the movie as much if I knew all this before hand? Probably not.


I hope this has helped enlighten you to my methods of optimising my enjoyment of books and movies. Perhaps you might even give this order a try next time? I hope so. In the mean time I’m going to try and avoid reading Me Before You before I can watch the movie. Wish me luck!



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