I love books! It is pretty clear that books have always held a special meaning to me, so it is not surprising that when I hear about a new movie being made based on one of my favorite books, I am anxious. Recently I saw the advertisements for the movie version of “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. I am a big fan of this book and Lois Lowry has been a highly influential author for young adults. I am extremely apprehensive about the idea of a movie version of this book. Will this movie show the character complexity and the nuances that make it such a great book? It is a question I have pondered about so many of the beloved books I have read.
Along with so many others, I was on pins and needles prior to watching the Harry Potter movies and was pleasantly surprised, that although the movies could not possibly include all the genius that is JK Rowling, it was a spectacular effort. I was amazed at the choice of cast which truly brought the characters to life, thanks to the efforts of not only the movie's very talented director, but the oversight of JK Rowling herself – who brought her vision to the big screen. But as many of us know, a really good adaptation is often the exception and not the rule. Even in the case of the Harry Potter series, movie goers who never cracked open one of the books will never get the depth and love for the stories the way the readers do.
As amazing as it sounds, sometimes a movie adaptation can actually enhance the book experience. I did not particularly enjoy the acclaimed novel “The Book Thief” So many people recommended the book, but to be quite honest I found it dark and depressing (yes I know that was the whole point of a war/holocaust themed book) and I found the ‘death’ character to be odd and even confusing at times. I have read dozens and dozens of holocaust books, but I didn’t see what everyone else saw in that particular book. When I first heard that a movie was being made based on that book I was intrigued, I wondered how they would adapt the story and if it could be done successfully given the odd structure of the story, from death’s perspective, but to my surprise I actually enjoyed the movie and to be brutally honest I enjoyed the movie more than the book (gasp). This might be the only example where I can say that has happened.
Movie adaptations do present challenges for bibliophiles like me, but sometimes they are surprisingly good, so I will try to keep an open mind and keep my fingers crossed that Hollywood has done justice to Lois Lowry’s work.