If you're a book-lover, you've no doubt had one of the major book versus movie debates before. Which was better: the movie or the book? Can a movie ever be better than the book? Should you ever see the movie first?
Generally, it's an accepted rule amongst the bookish community that the cinema should be avoided entirely until you've had time to read the book first. Before the release of a major film adaptation, you'll find bookworms rushing out to bookstores to race through Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children or The Girl on the Train before they watch the movie.
But is that really necessary? I know it's practically blasphemy, but I sometimes think it's better to see the movie first. And this isn't because I'm half-hearted in my bibliophilia: this controversial opinion is coming from somebody who insists that the book is always better. I don't care what you all say about The Princess Bride or Stardust; they're great films, but the books win hands down.
So why am I so happy to head to the cinema even if I haven't yet read the book? Doesn't that go against everything I stand for? Here are my six key reasons why it's fine to see the movie first — and why I actually recommend it.
1. You Won't Be Disappointed
Once I've read and fallen in love with a book, the movie can never live up to it in my heart. It's always going to get things wrong, or leave bits out, and I will be that annoying person in the front row muttering angrily to herself about the changes. The other way round, however, is never a problem. If I love a film, I can pretty much guarantee I'll enjoy the book as well. Which is probably because...
2. The Book Gives You A Chance To Go Deeper
Films are short. After about two hours, it's all over — and you're cruelly thrown back into the real world. What a treat, then, to go back home to settle down with the book. Thanks to the movie, you've already fallen in love with the characters — and the book gives you the chance to dive even further into their lives and their back-stories.
3. It Makes Reading A More Visual Experience
I know not everybody will agree with me here: it's a common complaint that seeing the movie first stops you from being able to imagine the characters in your own way. But here's the thing: I have a terrible imagination for faces. Being given a hint of what people and places should look like means I have something really powerful to visualise while I'm reading — and it doesn't stop me from putting my own spin on things! And on a related note...
4. It Helps You Get People's Accents Right
When I'm reading, I like to hear the characters speak out loud in my head — but if they're from Yorkshire, or Texas, or Australia, I just know I'm butchering their accents. If I've seen the movie first, I have a better idea of what they might sound like — and I'm more likely to pronounce their names right, too. (I'm looking at you, Hermione Granger.)
5. It Can Help You Understand The Plot
I love reading thrillers and mysteries, but with so many twists and turns, it can be hard to keep up. Watching the movie can be a great introduction to a complicated plot: it gives you the overview, so you know what to look for when you're reading. And you don't even have to worry too much about spoilers — because the book tends to pack in a lot more exciting details.
6. You Should Always Save The Best Until Last
I live by this rule in all other areas of my life. Everyone saves the best thing on their plate until the last bite, right? Well, I vote we do the same thing here — and save the book until the end.
Images: Giphy (6); Unsplash/Pixabay