Is The Book Better Than The Movie?

Here’s a super Good Question. What’s better? The book or the movie? It came on the other night and I know we’ve talked about this before but not for a while and we have a lot of different readers now so let’s do it again.

Most of you know that I read. A. LOT. If I see a movie that’s going to be released, I’ll go buy the book and I’ll read the book first. If I see the movie first, my imagination doesn’t let me go anywhere with the story. There’s no “imagining” what people look like. What the houses and towns are like. I really like that part of reading. To let my mind just go. If you see the movie first, your mind is set to what the movie showed you.

It’s terribly disappointing to a reader, who loved a book, to see a movie where they changed major things. Just like in the Good Question, “My Sisters Keeper” did a really crappy thing in my opinion. They killed the opposite sister than the book did at the end of the movie. That sucks when they do that because it changes the whole dynamic of the story.

The most other notable book that drastically changed something was Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary.” The whole point of the story was that the “new doctor” who moved in across the street saved the old woman while she was having a heart attack. So when his (the doctor) little girls cat gets hit by a car, (the old man neighbor) he shows him the Pet Sematary and the cat comes back to life and if you’ve seen the movie, you know what happens.

But why do they have to change such a major thing? I can see little things need to be changed but one of the major points of the story?? That ticks me right off.

Another movie that was not nearly as good as the book was “The Reader.” The “boy” in the movie seemed so alone. I mean yes, he got sick and stuck in the rain and she took him in but in the book he was very close to his family. His dad in particular but in the movie, he didn’t even have a dad and his family was very cold.

So, what do you think? What books that you’ve read were better as a book than a movie? Do you have a movie that you felt was better than the book?

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9 Responses to Is The Book Better Than The Movie?

  1. farrellwcsu says:

    Great post. I would love to see some more in depth reactions to some of the movies that you mentioned, and more! The book is nearly always better than the movie, though I will say that Fight Club was a very good rendition, even if the ending changed (I believe the author even mentioned that he liked the ending of the movie).

  2. Laura says:

    Hmmm… I tend to just read whatever books catch my fancy. Then if they make a movie, I’ll see it, but usually I judge the movie on its own merits, because I know that there really is *no way* they can fit everything in the book into the movie. They did a really good job with the Harry Potter series, although they made some changes that I wasn’t happy with – they eliminated one whole (main) character, for example. And don’t even get me started with the 3D in the last one.That’s a rant for another day.

    I’m not a Stephen King fan, so I can’t comment on those, and neither am I a big fan of “drama” books… there’s been quite enough drama in my life, I don’t go looking for more. A friend kept recommending My Sister’s Keeper, but I just couldn’t read it, knowing that I’d fall in love with these characters and then one of them would die.

    I can say, one of the worst book-to-movie adaptations was, believe it or not, Confessions of a Shopaholic. Yeah, chick lit. But still… I don’t really remember the movie, but I do remember the book, and I remember thinking, while I was watching the movie… “this never happened. Neither did this! And this? What the heck is THIS???” It was all really weird.

    • Laura says:

      BTW… finished Chamber of Secrets. Moved on to Prisoner of Azkaban. i’ve got to get to the pool some more so I can finish Scent of the Missing. It is an EXCELLENT book.

  3. Adam says:

    For Fight Club the movie was probably better, although the book was still good. The only other examples (and the ones I usually give for this discussion) are Thank You For Smoking and A Clockwork Orange. For Thank You For Smoking the book is ok, but the humor in the movie is so far over the top that it’s much better. In the case of A Clockwork Orange the movie has all the same themes and scenes as the book, but the book has a really annoying dialect that makes it annoying to read. A Clockwork Orange is the only example I have ever found where I would tell people to just watch the movie and forget about the book.

  4. Phyllis says:

    I much prefer to read the books. I find there is much more depth that in a movie. I’m not really into Stephen King though I did watch Pet Cemetary. I didn’t care for it and it scared the bejesus out of me. However I did read Firestarter and then later saw the movie. I thought they were pretty much the same, but there was a span of several years between the two so I could be wrong. Being the person I am I was rooting for the little girl at the end and felt her actions were very justified.

    I didn’t read or see any of the others mentioned, so I can’t really comment on them.

  5. Julie says:

    I prefer books, but there are a couple of cases where I prefer the movies to the books. One such case is “Flambards.” I enjoy the books, but I adore the series.

  6. SKL says:

    I agree with you about reading being so much better if you don’t see the movie first. That’s why it bums me out that they have made practically every good kids’ book into a movie geared for kids who are young to read the book – and then they show those movies at school. A little pet peeve of mine. I loved those books like Little House, Charlotte’s Web, Pinocchio, Heidi, Black Beauty, Black Stallion, etc., without the “benefit” of seeing a movie. Whether the producers are dumbing it down or inserting their bias, I feel they are robbing kids of the pleasure of reading the book. On the other hand, I read “Wizard of Oz” after seeing the movie, and despite the many differences, I loved both the book and the movie.

    There are some other exceptions. I read Gone with the Wind after seeing the movie. In that case, the movie was better in my opinion. In the movie, you figured out a way to empathize with Scarlett, and the ending seems hopeful. In the book, you are just depressed at the end.

    And, there is a version of Pride and Prejudice that I feel is very true to the book (and a fun movie). You all are probably familiar with it.

    I have only watched one Harry Potter movie. I really hope my kids don’t see the movies before they read the books.

  7. Nikki says:

    I read more in the winter, and I’m not one that will rush out to get the book if the movie comes out. I don’t really judge them together. I guess, I don’t put too much thought into how different a book is from the movie. I do love when my mind can escape and create this world and characters in my head. But if I happen to see the movie first, like The Last Song-I didn’t mind the changes in that and having an image to go on wasn’t all that bad. I can go either way, I guess.

  8. Sue says:

    I much prefer books too b/c like you said, Joy, I like my mind to set the characters looks and the places they are. I was SO disappointed with the Last Song that I won’t get too excited for another one of those movies again. I’ve only seen Steven King movies, never read the books so I can’t be a good judge on that. BTW, love seeing new people comment! Welcome!

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