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When Books Come to Life

For many families, the holiday season means presents, parties, and lots of food. In my family, it means a detailed movie schedule and days spent at the movie theater. This means that on Thanksgiving, I found myself at the movie theater. As I watched preview after preview, I noticed how many movies would be coming out this year that were based on books. The next day, I saw The Life of Pi, which is based on the novel by Yann Martel. In the same week, I also saw Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, the final installment of the movies based on the book series by Stephenie Meyer. This trend of movie adaptations of books is not something new, and I have seen many movies that were based on a book that I have read.

Whenever I first hear about one of my favorite books being made into a movie, I always greet the news with excitement. I am eager to see my favorite characters and plot lines come to life in such a huge way. Additionally, it is pleasing to know that other people who may have never picked up a novel that I love will be introduced to something amazing. However, this excitement is also accompanied with apprehension. After all, I have my own ideas and interpretations about the characters and stories that I read about, so it can be upsetting to see someone interpret things completely differently and ruin the story for me. Because of my emotional attachment to the books that I read, it is very easy for me to be disappointed with the film adaptations.

Recently, I saw the film The Perks of Being a Wallflower, starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson. I read the novel written by Stephen Chbosky this past summer and instantly loved it. At the time that I started reading the book, the movie had already been announced, and I was looking forward to it; finishing The Perks of Being a Wallflower increased this anticipation. The film did not disappoint. While some parts of the book did not make it into the film, the movie mostly stayed true to the novel. The actors’ depictions of the characters were, in my opinion, almost spot on. What I think really made the movie such a good adaptation of the book was the fact that the author wrote the screenplay and directed and produced the theatrical version.

The Harry Potter series was also adapted into films in the past decade. I love both the books and the movies, but I do not think that all of the movies captured the books the way I was hoping. This is understandable because of the length of the novels, but it is disappointing that many of my favorite parts of the books (S.P.E.W. and Binky the house elf to name a couple) were not included in the movie. My favorite movie in the series was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which was the one that I felt stayed the truest to its book counterpart. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is my favorite book in the series, but the movie did not contain the scenes that I found to be the most lovable. I still enjoyed the movies despite their differences from the books, but I still felt like something was missing.

For the most part, I like when books are made into movies. It is a very thrilling experience to see the characters that I have fallen in love with be brought to life. Usually, I find that the adaptations are done well, although sometimes my favorite parts are missing. I can enjoy the movie even if I do not think it stayed true to the book, but there is usually a correlation between how similar the movie is to the book and how much I like the movie. Still, even if I hate the movie version of my favorite book, it is nice to know that that movie may have helped someone else to discover the book.

— Kayla T., 10th grade, Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy, currently reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

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  1. Kay Butler Kay Butler

    Great job, Kayla! After seeing your “mathematical / logical” side in Algebra 2, it was wonderful being able to see your analytic skills applied to literature and movie presentations. I am now motivated even more to begin spending more time reading good books (besides those related to teaching, learning, and mathematics!).

  2. Jody Jody

    Great Blog!

  3. Sara Ray Sara Ray

    I also love watching movies created from books. I actually own a book/movie collection where I shelve both the DVD and book together. I’d enjoy seeing more reviews of movies created from books (since I don’t have enough time to read every book and see every movie that I want to this could help in my decision on which to read/watch). :)

  4. Dawn Rutherford Dawn Rutherford

    The Midwinter Marketing and Local Arrangements committee is working on putting together an evening out where we can go see Fat Kid Rules the World together, probably Sunday night! I’ll post details soon :)

  5. Another great YA adaptation is Melina Marchetta’s ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ – which had 7 wins and 11 nominations when it came out in 2000. I think part of that film’s success was that Melina Marchetta wrote the screenplay and while she remained true to many parts of the book, bits that she had to change were given new layers and meanings (for instance: there’s a suicide note mentioned in the book, but not written out, but in the film the note is read in a voice-over and it’s absolutely heartbreaking).

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