Book or Movie? by Syndi Powell

Book or Movie? by Syndi Powell

We can all name favorite books that were made into horrible movies. We can also list books that were made into better films. I'm the type of person who finds out that a certain book is being made into a movie and will go out and read it first. I like to enjoy the story in my mind before I see it on the screen. I have a friend who will read the book after she seems the movie because it helps her to keep better track of the story.

It seems like movies made from books leave out quite a bit of the plot and characterization. After all, if they were to film everything exactly it was written then the movie would last half the day rather than a couple of hours. But then part of me asks, would that be such a bad thing? Sometimes I wouldn't mind seeing it all play out on the screen.

I like the richness that reading brings to a story. You can get into more detail about the setting and the people who live in it. However, because a film tends to give things in shorthand, themes can be understood more clearly. If you read a book like "Gone with the Wind", you could get mired down in details about Tara and its place in the county. But if you watch the movie, we can see the bigger picture. We don't need to know all the history of the place to understand that the way of life it is used to is becoming obsolete.

One of my favorite adaptations from book to screen is the Canadian miniseries of "Anne of Green Gables". I actually watched the program before I read the book, and it inspired me to read the entire series. The director tried to stay faithful to the original work, and for the most part he succeeded. However, one of my least favorite adaptations is "Anne of Avonlea" which is amalgamated from several of the books and leaves out big sections of Anne Shirley's life. I felt cheated when I watched the program since I'd read the entire series by that time. I wanted the Anne Shirley Blythe of the books.

What do you prefer? Reading the book first or seeing the movie? Which books have made great movies or bad flicks? Also, what books would you love to see made into a movie?


  1. I'd almost always rather read the book, but I truly loved that version of Anne of Green Gables. I love the second one, too, because I think I'd separated it from the bool in my mind. The third one...not so much. Two others I thought were good screen adaptations were To Kill A Mockingbird and several versions of Little Women.

  2. I almost always prefer the book to the movie. I read all the Anne books as a teenager and when the series came out, I was a mother and watched it with my daughter's. While the series was very well done, it didn't capture the magic of the book - Anne's thoughts - or in fact, Lucy Maud Montgomery''s wit and wonderful language. Frankly, I can't think of any movie from a book that was as good as the original text. Though To Kill a Mockingbird comes close. Thanks for this post, Syndi, showing us that as writers of books we're in no danger of extinction!

  3. I loved the Canadian Anne of Green Gables.
    The book that most disappointment me was Witness. I loved the movie with Harrison Ford and the woman from Top Gun. The book, apparently, was written after the movie. Blah.

  4. I LOVE this post Syndi!! I typically prefer the books to the movies, but there are a few instances where I've preferred the movie over the book.
    Here's my exhaustive list of movie vs. book (in many cases I've only seen the movie and not read the book):

    Anne of Green Gables - Loved the book and movie.
    Jane Eyre - Loved book, disliked movie versions.
    Pride & Prejudice - Loved book and movies.
    Love Comes Softly - Saw movie, enjoyed it. Never read book.
    Labor Day - Saw movie, loved it. Never read book.
    Jurassic Park - Loved movie, haven't read book yet.
    Inception - Loved movie. Never read book.
    The Great Gatsby - Both movie and book were just okay to me.
    The Help - Loved the book and movie
    Not Without My Daughter - Loved movie until I read the book. Book put movie to shame.
    Without A Trace - Loved the movie more than the book which was entitled Still Missing.
    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - Loved the movie (the original one). Never read the book.
    Gone With the Wind - Loved movie. Never read book.
    Rebecca - Loved movie. Haven't read book yet.
    The Best of Me - Loved the movie. Friend read the book and didn't like it because it had paranormal stuff in it. The movie did not.
    Persuasion - Loved the BBC movie and the book.
    The Firm - Loved the movie. Didn't read the book yet.
    Disclosure - saw movie, loved it. Haven't read book yet.
    The Devil Wears Prada - Saw movie, loved it. Never read book.
    The Deep End of the Ocean - Saw movie, loved it. Never read book.
    Chocolat - Saw movie, enjoyed it. Never read book.
    Catch Me if You Can - Saw movie, enjoyed it. Never read book.
    Hidden Figures - Loved the movie. It was outstanding!! Haven't read the book yet but intend to soon.

    Am I barred from ever leaving a comment again? As for books I'd like to see made into movies I'll be writing all day!! Oh...and I must be the only person on Earth who didn't care for the book To Kill A Mockingbird.

  5. Syndi, I missed your post somehow. I much prefer books to movies and when I love, love a book I never want to see the movie. So many times I've been disappointed.


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