How to overcome the idea that the movie is not what the book was!

So I have guilty pleasures, and some are related to a couple of YA books out there. You see I’m a slow reader, but with the Divergent series, I broke my reading time records (like just a couple of days for each one). I’m not going to talk about if the book is good, if the writing is good, etc. Nope, this post is not about that. It’s just how much readers get their hopes in when they have a visual representation, a movie, of their favorite stories.

Why do we care?

Because when we read a story, we imagine the characters, the settings, and the whole story in our heads. So when we hear that a movie will be “based” on it, we get excited hoping to find that everything we pictured in our heads as we read the book will be consciously represented on the screen.

movies are not like books

Why is not always like that?

Because we can’t fit all the details in less than 2 hours. And because, movies are different from books. Most movies are there for entertaining purposes or for stimulating our visual senses. We can’t get ten pages of character’s emotional inner struggle in a movie.  If you take movies like me, that they exist for entertainment purposes and not for lulling you into sleep, then you get this point.

Should we demand movie producers respect the book storyline?

No, it’s only “based on”. Film studios have no obligation to remain loyal to the author’s story. And they have their own scriptwriters who know what works best in a movie and what doesn’t.

movies are like not books

And what about Insurgent? (the second installment of the Divergent series, in case you’re not familiar with it)

It’s a freaking good movie. If you didn’t read the book, the better for you; you’ll be able to assess the movie entirely from its entertaining potential. If you read it, stop comparing it to the book. The book was a story written by Veronica Roth, and it ends up there, in the papers of the book and if the picture you made up in your mind. The movie is another thing.

Was I aware of this perspective when I went to see the movie?

Of course not! I was the person who in Divergent nagged my companion all the time telling her: “in the book it was not like that… in the book…. ” Oh, poor her….

In the second one, I had the same inner struggle, but this time I kept it to myself, or my friend would have killed me. But this time when the movie ended, and I forced myself to forget the book, I found out that the movie was actually very well developed and very well told. Very entertaining.  I even found myself wishing some scenes would have been added to the book (don’t tell Veronica Roth 🙂 )

It’s one thing to love books and to love the stories and wish we could see the exact visual representations on the big screen, but let’s face it, it’s not going to happen. The magic of books will always remain on their pages and the skills we use to dive into the story. The power we have to imagine those words. That’s the beauty of books. We don’t need to have forced flat representations on screen. Movies are a different type of art, a visual art. Let’s stop trying to match them and keep the books and their wonderful stories to us.

And you, do you ever find yourself wishing the movie was exactly the same as the book? Do you easily get disappointed when you find that it’s not what you imagined from the book? Other movies/books that you can think of where you found this difference or rather a quite accurate resemblance between the two? 

So what is it with young-adult fiction novels? I’m no teenager yet I can’t seem to drop Divergent from my hands….

Yes, when you hear about young-adult fiction novels, images of Twilight and other similar stories come to my mind. I know they are supposed to be directed to an audience of teenagers and young adults in general (say around 20 the most?), I don´t know.

However, I went eagerly to watch all the Twilight series and the same with the Hunger Games. I remembered going to the premier of one of the Twilight movies in my city (I think it was the last part) and being impressed by fifteen year old’s sighing when they either saw R. Pattinson or T. Lautner (well, let´s assume it, it was justified, but me in my early 30s was very far from being in their type of public, yet I was enjoying it very much).

But apart from the movies and all the fuzz that comes with the actors, etc. I really didn´t picture myself buying the books for these movies.  I didn´t know very much about Stephanie Meyer and Suzanne Collins, except that they were the authors responsible for these stories (Twilight and The Hunger Games respectively).

But the story with Veronica Roth (author of Divergent) was different. You see I was making a list of the books I may want to shop while I was in the UK for holidays. I knew I had to the take this opportunity to buy me some nice books written in English since they are very difficult to get them in my country.  I don´t know how I came across with Divergent and the story of its author, I think she was only 22 or something like that when she first wrote Divergent. I read an interview about her online. It was supposed to be the next big thing, the next Hunger Games, but what came to my attention was that the author was so young to be so extremely accomplished. I decided to put the book in my list, just in case.



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Well, due to my endless activities in my trip, I only got the chance to look for books while I was at London Gatwick airport. I didn´t have my list with me in that particular moment, but the moment I stepped in WHSmith, the best sellers and the most popular books came to my encounter, and guess what? the most visible one was Divergent. The edition I ended buying already had the cover with the Hollywood actors on it and already said “now a major motion picture”.

Since I had no idea when the movie was going to be released (I hadn´t been able to watch TV or any internet site while travelling), I thought I was going to have plenty of time to read it before the movie came out. But when I got home, the first thing I saw on TV was the trailer of its release in 5 days.

I read a lot, but I´m not that fast when it comes to finishing books. I usually take between 3 weeks or even a month to finish a book with an average of 500 pages. Of course, I only read one hour per day, approximately and even less, and not every day, usually I forget about the book I´m reading in the weekends.



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Friends were already telling me about their plans to go to see the movie next week (that is tomorrow). I was thinking that I would have liked to have read it first before going to see the movie. I decided to give it a try and see how much I could move forward with the book before I went to the movies, guess what? I´m about to finish it, surely this night I will finish it. Just on time.

I can´t seem to drop the book, I have been reading past midnight and even more these days. I dream and wake up thinking about the characters and the story. It´s unbelievable. I have read plenty of page-turner books, but this one can´t take my mind of it. The narration in itself is simple, and the plot once you get to understand is very easy to follow, so what is it then? An author so young capable of doing this? It´s actually very motivating for any person who wants to be writer.

The truth is simple, she knows how NOT to get people bored and she knows how to engage people to keep reading. I couldn´t seem to find a part in the book where I could put a halt and say “well that´s it for tonight, let´s continue tomorrow”. You couldn´t, it was like a crime to close the book when it was getting more and more interesting. For such an age, extraordinary, my sincere reverences to her…