ABB link-up: the book or the movie?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 Permalink

A recent discussion on the Aussie Book Bloggers Facebook page and then on the actual ABB forum centred around the fact that we’d all like to build more of a community. I was fortunate enough to attend the National Book Bloggers Forum this year where I met likeminded people. It was only then I realised how little I knew about the Australian book blogging community.

I thought I’d kick things off on the community-building front by hosting a weekly (Thursday) blog link-up. I’ll publish the following week’s topic at the end of each post. I have a few ideas, but would welcome other suggestions as well. So here goes…

Although I’m already tired of hearing about Gone Girl – the movie and / or the book – I thought I’d jump on that bandwagon to discuss… adaptations: books made into movies or TV shows. Essentially – the good, the bad and the ugly.



In my (obviously opinion, I think it’s rare that a film or TV show does a book justice. I discovered this at a fairly young age when, as a Virginia Andrews fan (don’t hold it against me… it was a passing phase!) I excitedly awaited the Flowers In The Attic  movie. #SpoilerAlert – BIG mistake!

And although I LOVE Robert B Parker’s Spenser series, I’m not sure Spenser for Hire  (a TV show from the 1980s) ever did the character or books justice.

However, I do realise some shows or movies occasionally outshine their origins. For example… I much preferred the Silence of the Lambs movie to the novel by Thomas Harris. And the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice  mini-series remains one of my favourite translations of Austen’s work, and I swear it has nothing to do with Colin Firth and that white shirt. *Clears throat awkwardly*

I know some purists who ‘hate’ adaptations, but I quite like the synergy: the popularity of some movies and their stars tempts people to read books they might usually avoid, and encourage others to read – full stop. Not to mention the fact they often provide great entertainment (The Godfather x 2 and Lord of the Rings x 3 come to mind).

Of course there’s always the issue I’m having with the film adaptation of Gone Girl… the big drawcard of that book is the twist (or two) so I’m not sure I’ll enjoy the movie, given I know what’s coming.

So… I’m keen to hear from you. Can you think of books which have been improved on screen? Or others that have been mangled. Feel free to leave a comment and link up your own post about this very issue. 

Next Thursday’s #ABBLinkUp topic has been partially inspired by this post by Bec and is about trends in novels: genres, use of prologues, voice etc.
For example, if I read one more promotional blurb telling me the book’s ‘in the style of’ bloody Gone Girl, I may gnaw off my arm. Or worse – stop reading!


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  • muminsearch
    October 1, 2014

    I usually prefer the book – I’m not much of a movie person and the book lets your imagination run wild. I liked the Harry Potter movies though.

    • Debbish
      October 1, 2014

      Yes, HP did seem to translate well onto screen. I know the movies got some kids reading!

  • Susan Lattwein
    October 1, 2014

    I always like to read the book first, then my imagination is unfettered. But I really understand how watching a movie first encourages some people to read the book, so that’s an advantage.
    I couldn’t finish the movie of The Hobbit, totally different to my inner landscape. But I LOVED Shakespeare Retold’s version of Taming of The Shrew, not strictly a movie but fantastic sexual tension.
    Great idea of yours, Deb. 🙂

    • Debbish
      October 1, 2014

      Thanks Susan. A friend of mine just read Gone a Girl and she said she read it with all of the cast in mind. Like you I wonder if that would taint the experience.

  • Jess resides here (@frellathon)
    October 2, 2014

    And my link is up 🙂

    • Debbish
      October 2, 2014

      Thanks for joining Jess! (And yay it works!)


  • writenote1
    October 2, 2014

    I’m yet to see the movie adaptation of Gone Girl. The book was clever, so I’m keen to see how well it adapts. I do think Atonement translated well to screen. The Hobbit, was enjoyable enough, if you ignored all the extra storylines. I’d rather that hadn’t happened.

    • Debbish
      October 2, 2014

      I haven’t read any Tolkien but I gather the die-hard fans approved of the LOTR triology (as did I). I’ve seen The Hobbit, but I confess only because I have a fetish for Richard Armitage who (bizarrely) plays the dwarf leader.


  • @Kanga_Rue
    October 3, 2014

    I usually enjoy the book more too and prefer to have some time between reading the book before seeing the movie. Alternately seeing the movie first and then having character visuals when reading the book for more depth is fun.

    That being said, I am LOVING Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series being brought to life on TV. The first book was published in Australia & the UK as Cross Stitch. It’s not on free to air yet, so definitely time to start reading the series (and the season is breaking until April *stomps feet*). I will be re-reading the books in the interim. I have had a number of out-loud *squee* moments knowing the story arcs that often don’t occur for some time.

    • Debbish
      October 3, 2014

      Ah yes, I’ve seen a lot about it but I haven’t read the series and am not really sure I’d like it….

  • Sharon - Obsession with Books
    October 5, 2014

    I’m not a big fan of book to movie adaptations at all, the book is always best for me and despite enjoying a few movies that have been adapted to screen ie. The Hunger Games & most recently The Maze Runner there are still important elements I’m always anticipating.

    I’ll be watching Gone Girl this week and I haven’t as yet read the book so it will be a bit of a surprise.

    A great post! I will try to get one up a little later today.


    • Debbish
      October 5, 2014

      Hi Sharon

      Lovely to virtually meet you and thanks for joining in!!!


  • Brona
    October 10, 2014

    I will join the chorus of those who prefer the book to the movie!

    Occasionally though, the producers and directors get it right.

    Gregory Peck will always be Atticus Finch,even though I read To Kill A Mockingbird first, the movie images and the book will now always be linked in my mind.

    We also re-watched The World According to Garp recently & I was reminded of how well some very complicated books can be adapted.

    Gone Girl also worked well as a movie. Having the author write the screenplay helps I think (Think Truman Capote & Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Stephen Chbosky & The Perks of Being A Wallflower)

    • Debbish
      October 11, 2014

      I hadn’t realised Gillian Flynn wrote tips. I definitely agree having the author involved in the screenplay would improve things!

  • Silent_Dan
    May 8, 2016

    Watchmen. A superhero comic by Allan Moore, who is quite possibly insane, because the bad guy’s plot on screen was nuclear armageddon and getting rid of the world’s only true god-superhero. In the pages? I believe it involved an inter-dimensional squid monster thing. Now, the movie was directed by Zack Snyder, who’s gotten a lot of hate lately, for everything since Watchmen. But he did a great job adapting crazy into awesome.

    Though the sex scene was absolutely the worst sex scene ever filmed for a big budget movie, bar none. And the characters were all perfectionist versions, which granted is done for “Hollywood reasons”. And the regular crime-fighter characters could punch someone in the arm and snap bone and it was all total BS. But generally, I think the adaptation was great, for what it did right. Superior in some ways, but a train wreck in the others mentioned.

    World War Z was a terrible adaptation, and that’s not just the purists talking. It was a lazy, uninspired vehicle for Brad Pitt to… run around in. Not a single idea from the source material was used, and the only things that *were*, were actually from the Zombie Survival Guide, not the oral history of the zombie war (ie the NARRATIVE the movie was based on). What the hell, movie?

    Granted, it was an alright zombie movie, so I’m not too upset. I’m just not enthusiastic about it. And the DVD skipped out the camera bit, ie the smartest bit of the film. ARGH!

    The UK ad for Pride And Prejudice And Zombies was hilarious. The US one was stupid and blatantly tried to be ANTI-English. [Insert “Stupid Americans” joke here] Freaking Hollywood, man.

I'd love to hear your thoughts