I know everyone always says the book is better than the movie. That may be true sometimes, but for me, the two complement each other. Having read the book enhances my experience of watching the movie. And in some cases, I almost feel like having read the book is necessary to understanding the movie!

Andy and I went to see the first Hunger Games movie when it came out, I having read all three of books and he having read none, and he had a lot of questions for me throughout the movie to clarify things. In fact, he was inspired to almost immediately read the book because the movie only served to pique his interest! (He got fed up with Katniss and never finished the trilogy, but that’s beside the point I’m making here.)

It’s also really fun to see how different characters and places are brought to life. Often it’s very different from how you’ve been picturing it in your head! A trivial example: along with many others, while I read the Harry Potter books, I thought one of the main characters was named “her-mee-own.” So imagine my surprise when I arrived in the theatre to hear everyone addressing “Her-my-oh-nee!” Sure, often things aren’t how you pictured them, or you don’t like the actor who was chosen to play the character you had a crush on in the book, but that keeps it interesting.

There’s also a sense of community in the movie theatre that you don’t get from sitting at home reading a book by yourself. You feel like you share a certain kinship with everyone else in the auditorium. To add a layer even on top of that, my book club has taken the opportunity a couple of times to read a book together just before a movie version comes out, and then go see the movie together. That way, we can talk about the movie and the book in tandem. We did it last May when The Great Gatsby came out, and this past Saturday we all went to see Divergent together. We were excited to see a preview for the movie of The Giver, and it’s likely we’ll read and go see that when it comes out in August!

Books and movies are just inherently different. I love getting lost in a book, savoring the language the author uses, and I find I become more invested in characters in a book than in a movie. But I also love getting swept up into a movie, carried along by the action, the settings, and the costumes. I’m more likely to cry at a movie than at a book. I’ll most likely always read the book first, but if I hear that a movie version is coming out you can bet I’ll be there. Some people are wary of watching the movie version of a book they loved, but comparing the two is half the fun for me.

The next book-to-movie adaptation coming out that I’m planning to see is The Fault in Our Stars. I’m already storing up stock of Kleenex to take with me…

Do you like seeing the movie versions of books you’ve read? What’s the best literary movie you’ve seen?

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman