The great debate: which is better… the book or the movie?
Many great movies are adaptations of great books; think of Forest Gump, Hidden Figures, Harry Potter, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and countless others. Books are a more complex experience of storytelling, and they encourage readers to use their imagination. The movies can help bring the book to life with vivid scenery and actors playing great characters. The debate usually focuses on whether the film adaptation is too different from the original book or if it lacks key details. Here are some books that have recently been adapted to the big screen (and small screen) with great success.
Where the Crawdads Sing
By Delia Owens
Where the Crawdads Sing is about survival, hope, loneliness and strength. The story is about Kyra, abandoned by her family and raised by herself in the marshlands of North Carolina in the late 1950s. Isolated and referred to as the “marsh girl” by the locals she becomes a self-taught naturalist. When there is a murder in the community, Kyra becomes the main suspect. The captivating mystery reveals many secrets and questions what a person is capable of overcoming. Reese Witherspoon produced the film, which is visually beautiful and remains mostly true to the story.
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By Miriam Toews
Miriam Toews is a Canadian author raised in a Mennonite community. Her book, Women Talking, is a fictional response to real life events. The story details a secret meeting of eight Mennonite women who, during one evening, are deciding their fate. These women and young girls are being sexually assaulted in the night and told “demons are punishing them for their sins.” When they discover they are in fact, being drugged and raped by the men in their own community, they decide to meet secretly while the men are away. The women are illiterate and do not know the ways of the outside world. They have very little time to decide their fate; do they stay in the only world they know, or do they risk an escape? The movie by the same name was adapted for film by the author and fellow Canadian Sarah Polley. Actors include Frances McDormand, Claire Foy and Rooney Mara. Sarah Polley recently won an Oscar for directing this film.
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A Man Called Ove
By Frederick Backman
A Man Called Ove is a heartwarming story about a widower who is dealing with grief, sadness and isolation. Ove is grumpy, has strict routines, and has a short fuse. When a young, chatty family moves in next door to him, his world instantly turns upside down and he finds an unexpected friendship begins. The book has wry humour and is laugh-out-loud funny. The book remained on the best-sellers list for almost a year! There have been two film adaptations of this book. The most recent release is A Man Called Otto, which stars Tom Hanks. The main difference is the movie takes place in the U.S., and the book takes place in Sweden. Hence the main character’s name is Otto instead of Ove. Although the film is predictable, it remains a charming comedy.
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By Julia Quinn
Set in 1820’s England, the Bridgerton series is a collection of eight novels, each featuring one of the eight children of the late Viscount Bridgerton. The first book, The Duke and I, follows Daphne, a young Lady who is too honest, independent and unwilling to conform to the day’s customs. When the eligible Duke of Hastings returns to England, the two plan a fake courtship, which at first works like a charm to fool their families and gossipy aristocrats. However, the novels are historical romances, so eventually love plays a role! The series is very popular, as most Regency romances tend to be. The book series was adapted into a television series, which became wildly popular. The first season of Bridgerton follows the first book in the series. The main plot is the same, but there are changes to the main characters, sequences of events, and new characters have been added. The one note-worthy difference in the television series is that the characters represent racial diversity that is not present in the books. The television series has opted for more seasons, and the book series has spin-off series as well.
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The Flight Attendant
By Chris Bohjalian
The Flight Attendant is a thriller filled with suspense and unexpected turns. Cassie Bowden is a flight attendant and a self-destructive alcoholic. She is prone to blackouts and one-night stands. When she wakes up in a strange hotel room with a dead man, she cannot remember what happened. Is she in danger? Who is the man? Cassie panics and leaves to catch her next flight. Then the lies begin. The entertaining novel details life as a flight attendant, international spies, and surprises. The stand-alone novel has been adapted as a television series starring Kaley Cuoco. The story still involves murder, treason, addiction and smuggling, but the ending is completely different.
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