It’s a fraught subject, I know. I can’t believe I’m even bringing up as it might be as divisive as politics these days… I’m kidding — Nothing is as contentious as books vs. movies. 😉
But it’s relevant to me right now, as I’m straddling between the two. Presently I’m beginning a deep dive into Dickens for my next novel. And one can’t “deep dive” Dickens and expect to come up for air within weeks, or even months – and certainly not by the manuscript’s due date. I need help. So I’m turning to the movies as well. I’m fully aware they can’t give me Dickens in his full authenticity, they can give me a taste of his world – and for selected works, that’s just what I need.
On the whole, I tend to like the books better – perhaps because the book is the author’s original vision and not a translation; perhaps it is because a much fuller story can be found in three hundred pages verses ninety minutes; perhaps it’s simply an erudite answer that makes me feel smart.
Because I must confess – some of the movies are fantastic and often just as wonderful as the book. And I have found that I don’t mind if the movie doesn’t follow the book exactly. Take The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, for example… It released on Netflix last month and I watched it that first evening – as the book is an all-time favorite of mine. I was so ready for all the characters, the Oscar Wilde letters, the drama and the sense of post WWII Guernsey.
And that’s what I got – without Oscar Wilde. Without spoiling the book or the movie for anyone, I can safely report that the movie took a few twists not imagined in the book and left out some other aspects that gave the book all full sensorial experience. life. But, it included new additions that provided that experience, just in different ways. I loved the book. I loved the movie. I appreciated the movie’s very focused lens on the heroine. It stayed true to the life of the novel if not its specific plot points. The movie translation suited the story and it suited the format.
I find that I often have to let go of my expectations that a movie can do what a book does – it cannot. But once I do that, I often find the movies as enjoyable –or on another level – even more enjoyable than the book.
After all, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was an okay book – but a fantastic movie! … Now I’m going to really get in trouble, aren’t I? 😉
What are your thoughts?