We've all had it happen: you're just living your life, and then you get the news that your favorite book is being turned into a movie. Eek! Suddenly everything's changed. That world that used to only exist in your imagination is now going to be in the spotlight, with actors, and sets, and scripts and maybe even (gasp!) plot changes. You'll get to experience your favorite story in a whole new way. It has the potential to be incredible.
But it could also go so horribly wrong.
Right now, we're in the golden age of book-to-screen adaptations. And especially with the success of book-to-television adaptations, many networks and streaming services are hopping on the adaptation bandwagon and bringing some of our favorite reads to the screen, including The Handmaid's Tale, 13 Reasons Why, and American Gods.
When it comes to book-to-screen adaptations, I am extremely protective of the original book. I hate it when the screen adaptation changes things. (I am absolutely the most annoying person to watch Harry Potter or Game of Thrones with.) But, on the other hand, it can also be so exciting to see a new artistic representation of the story that you love, and I adore it when a director can pull off something innovative.
Having your favorite book be adapted is such an emotional time. Here are some of the feelings we've all felt as our favorite reads are turned into movies and shows.
When you first hear that your favorite book is being adapted, you can't help but be thrilled. Because that means you get to see this world that you thought only existed in your own head come to life! And you get to share it with so many other people! It's going to be so much fun!
But then that thought comes creeping into your head. What if they get it wrong? What if they just rewrite the entire storyline? And what if the characters are totally off? What if your favorite character doesn't even make it into the movie? After all, you've been burned before.
This is when you start stalking the production. You know every piece of gossip, you've analyzed every trailer, you've done some deep research on every actor. If there's any new development, you're the first to know. And you have opinions. Lots of opinions.
But still, when the premiere day finally arrives, you can't help but feel a giddy sense of an adventure. You're standing in line at the theater with wide eyes and an open heart, ready for it to take you in. Can you believe the day is finally here???
Aaah, that moment when the opening music begins and that world you know so well appears on screen. Maybe some tears happen, and that's OK.
As the end credits are rolling, you find yourself reeling. Holy cow, after all this hype, you finally saw it. It's hard to process how you even felt about it. Did you like it? Did you hate it? It's all so much right now.
You have a huge database in your head of every little thing they changed, and everyone you know is going to hear about it! Hell, you may even take your list of grievances to the internet. And if this is a TV series, you obsessively watch every episode as part of a mission to grow your list.
Even if they did a good job, it's never exactly what you wanted, and you can't help but feel a little sad. You really wanted to love this as much as you love the book. If only they had let you consult! It could have been so much better.
All these people think they know what your favorite book is about, just because they've seen the adaptation? Well, you are going to set them straight. You're prone to starting every sentence with, "Well, in the real version..."
Finally, you've come to (perhaps, begrudgingly) accept that the adaptation couldn't possibly be exactly like the book. You'll even admit that they are two different art forms, and changes are necessary. And in some (rare) instances, the adaptation may even be just as good... or better. You actually have fun when you watch it!