The book that taught me that the movie is never as good
by Christie Anthony
Real life is boring right? That’s why we have TVs and cinemas and most importantly: books. When we want to escape our own hum drum lives we can escape into someone else’s life, even if it is a fictional one.
I’ve always felt that there is nothing better than losing yourself in a good book; in a storyline or in characters who draw you in and help you forget for a little while that you are on the train to work or supposed to be cleaning the house. Most recently I lost myself in the fictional world of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
I only picked it up after hearing about it through another real life escaping vice, TV. Once Rachel Green had proclaimed it her favourite book, of course I had to read it. I was not disappointed. This book has everything you need to escape if you so choose. It has love and life, poignancy and death. The characters are believable and somehow a storyline so simple had me turning the pages for hours on end.
Reaching the ending I was apprehensive. This has always been the hardest part for me. I get attached to the characters, I am completely absorbed in the story and then it is suddenly taken away from me with the turn of a page or two little words. Luckily for me Little Women had been turned into a movie long before I had even heard of it.
Sitting down to watch the Hollywood interpretation I was basically bouncing up and down in my seat with anticipation. I really needn’t have bothered.
It is often said and rightly so that the movie is never as good as the book, and I’ll admit I was apprehensive as soon as I realised that the beloved heroine of the book was to be played by Winona Rider. I was less apprehensive that the mother would be played by Susan Sarandon. In the end it really didn’t matter who played what part, all I could focus on was the travesty I was watching.
The movie had none of the emotions that the book did. I didn’t tear up when Jo’s book got burned and I didn’t share the joy of Beth being given a piano by her well-meaning neighbour – that beautiful relationship was practically left out altogether. I certainly didn’t feel any sort of satisfaction at the ending. Where was the storybook happy ending? There was no wedding, no school for boys. Nothing!
I like to give the benefit of the doubt. When a book gets turned into a movie, I want to believe that the movie can be just as good (never better). I get excited at the prospect of seeing my favourite characters on screen and finally getting to share them with my boyfriend who absolutely refuses to read anything. From now on though, I think I will skip the cinema experience. I’ll save the big screen for trashy rom coms and keep to escaping to my own world through the turning of pages.
Christie Anthony is a short story fiction writer who is yet to put pen to paper on her latest project. She is eagerly awaiting the release of “The Great Gatsby” in cinemas later this year. This post is a part of the the book that series. You can read more here