Book Vs Movie: Life After Life

Hi everyone! I know it’s been absolutely ages since I did one of these Book Vs Movie posts, but if you saw my 2023 goals post for Top Ten Tuesday a few weeks back, you’ll know that one of my goals was get this feature up and running again more regularly this year. I am going to try to keep it monthly, but life does sometimes get in the way so we’ll see how things go with it! Anyway, for this month’s Book Vs Movie, I’m actually going to be talking about a TV adaptation and sharing my thoughts on the BBC miniseries Life After Life and the book by Kate Atkinson.

Book Thoughts:

I did read the book after I watched the TV series, so I don’t know how much that impacted my opinion as I already had the one version of the story in my mind and I have found that you do tend to prefer whichever version of the story was the first one you came across. But anyway, I’d not heard of Life After Life until I watched the TV series, so I picked it up because I had enjoyed the show and ended up somewhat disappointed. I found the book very bloated with a lot of unnecessary detail and plotlines that seemed designed merely to extend the story as long as possible past several very natural endpoints. The narrative also felt very stilted and not particularly cohesive, more like we were just moving from one vignette to the next that telling a complete story.

If you’d like to see my more detailed thoughts, you can read my review of the book here:
https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2022/12/24/life-after-life-review-audiobook/

TV Thoughts:

I enjoyed the TV adaptation! I found later from reading the novel that the TV series had streamlined a lot of the more unnecessary sections from the book (like the extended section where Ursula is living with Eva Braun and Hitler in one life!) and I think the TV series managed to keep more forward momentum than the book, the book skips around in time a lot where the TV series, whilst still sticking to the conceit that Ursula lives her life over and over again, the TV series generally moves forward each time Ursula dies with a new event further on in her next life than she left off in her last which gave it a greater sense of narrative cohesion. I also thought Thomasin McKenzie did a really great job as Ursula and made her feel less bland on screen than she did on the page.

TV or Book Judgement:

I think it’s an easy TV for me here. I did like some things about the book, I loved the conceit (obviously as I’d already seen the show) and I enjoyed the narration of the audiobook, but I feel like I just found this particular story more enjoyable in the TV format. The streamlining necessary to bring the page to the screen definitely worked in the show’s favour as it meant some of the more bloated parts of the book got cut, and the presentation of the time loop storyline in a slightly more linear manner was helpful, I felt far less confused about where we were in Ursula’s timeline in the show. If I was going to recommend a way to consume this story, I think I’d recommend the show above the book to be honest.

So there we go, that’s it for this month’s Book Vs Movie. I will be back next month, finally talking about Good Omens and its TV adaptation, like I promised you all I would years ago!

Book Vs Movie: One Of Us Is Lying

Hi everyone! For this month’s Book Vs Movie, I’m going to be talking about the recently released TV adaptation of One of Us Is Lying, which came out a couple of weeks ago on Netflix. I know I said I was going to do The Time Traveler’s Wife, but I thought this one was more timely since I literally just watched it last week, so my thoughts are a bit more fresh.

Book Thoughts:

Honestly I found the book a little underwhelming. It was a decent enough mystery, but I didn’t find myself massively surprised by any of the twists. I also found the characters to be kind of flat and I didn’t love the ultimate resolution to the mystery, I found that kind of disappointing. You can read my more detailed thoughts about the book in my full review:

TV Thoughts:

I really enjoyed the TV adaptation! It was a little slow to get going, I’d say I wasn’t really invested till about the third or fourth episode, but once I was, I was really glued to it. I enjoyed the characters a lot more than I did in the book, I think the TV show did a better job of rounding them all out, and I liked some of the new characters introduced for the adaptation, particularly Janae. I also felt like I got a better idea of who Simon was in the show than in the book. I also actually preferred the way that the show resolved Simon’s murder, I thought it made a lot more sense than the resolution from the book and was a lot more interesting. The first season left off on a serious cliff-hanger as well, so I’m looking forward to seeing Season 2 (which it has already been renewed for).

TV or Book Judgement:

TV! I can imagine that those who liked the book more than I did may have had some issues with the changes that were made in the adaptation, but I felt a lot of the changes resolved problems that I’d had with the book, and I found the characters more engaging on screen than I did in the book.

That’s all for this month’s Book Vs Movie, I’ll be back next month with another one, talking about 13 Reasons Why and it’s Netflix adaptation.

Book Vs Movie: Little Fires Everywhere

Hi everyone! I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I did one of these, I really didn’t mean for it to be, I just got very busy last year once I started working at the vaccine centre and didn’t have as much time to blog as I would have liked, but I’m determined to try and keep all my regular features going more, well regularly, this year! Today’s Book Vs Movie is actually going to be a Book Vs TV, I’ll be talking about the Hulu mini-series of Little Fires Everywhere, and comparing it to the book by Celeste Ng.

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Book Thoughts:

So I actually watched the mini-series before I read the book, I don’t know how much that coloured my opinion of the book, but I have found that you do tend to prefer whichever version of the story you consume first. I read Little Fires Everywhere last year, on audio, and I was kind of disappointed. The characters felt kind of flat to me and it tried to do too much with too few pages. Plus I found the narrator kind of grating, which is never good for an audiobook!

Little Fires Everywhere (TV Mini Series 2020) - IMDb

TV Thoughts:

I really enjoyed the TV mini-series! It was so well cast, Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon played against each other really well and the teen actors who played the kids were also really well cast. Having now read the book, I can say that it streamlined a lot of the many subplots really well and the characters had a lot more depth in the TV series than I felt they had in the book. There was also a lot more nuance given to Elena and Mia, it wasn’t as simple as Elena=bad, Mia=good like the book.

TV or Book Judgement:

I’m going to have to go with TV here! Sometimes a story suits a certain medium more than another, and even though it started life as a book, I think Little Fires Everywhere worked better for TV, the more streamlined story and nuanced characters fixed a lot of the issues that I had with the book (albeit I did read it after watching the show!).

That’s it for this month’s Book Vs Movie, I’ll be back next month with another one, I thought since it was February, I’d try for a romance one, the romance books I’ve read are few and far between as it’s not my favourite genre, but one I have read is The Time Traveler’s Wife, so I thought that one might be an interesting one to do as I have SALTY thoughts about the film!

Book Vs Movie: Shadow and Bone

Hi everyone! In a surprise to exactly no one, today’s Book Vs Movie is actually a Book Vs TV as I’ll be talking about Netflix’s adaptation of Shadow and Bone (and to a limited extent Six of Crows) as like many of you I’m sure, I binged it over the past weekend.

Book Thoughts:

So the show largely focuses on the characters of Six of Crows rather than the plot of the book (since Shadow and Bone is set several years before and the show combines the Crows into the Shadow and Bone plot) but I’ll talk about my thoughts on both. I read Six of Crows before Shadow & Bone, in 2017, and I really enjoyed it, I loved the characters and the world and though the story had its pacing problems, it was still a really engaging read.

Shadow and Bone on the other hand, I felt a little more lukewarm about. It’s clear that Bardugo has improved a lot since her debut, and whilst Shadow and Bone wasn’t a bad book, it felt a lot like all the other fantasy books which were published at the same time. Alina wasn’t as fun a protagonist as the Crows and like Six of Crows, it was kind of slow to get going and the payoff wasn’t as good.

Here are my full reviews of both books if you want to see my more detailed thoughts:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/14/shadow-and-bone-shadow-and-bone-1-review/
Shadow and Bone (TV Series 2021– ) - IMDb

TV Thoughts:

I was a little worried when I heard that they were going to adapt Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone together, as I couldn’t really see how they were going to overlap the two stories, given that Six of Crows takes place in a different part of the world and takes place several years after the end of the events of the Grisha trilogy. I have to say though, I was really pleasantly surprised! I thought the crossover worked well, having the Crows integrated into the Shadow and Bone story made me enjoy it more than I did in the book and the way they did it made a lot of sense (having the Crows be on a job to “steal” Alina). The Nina and Matthias story didn’t fit quite as naturally, I understand why they wanted to have their backstory in the first series, but if you hadn’t read the book, then I imagine you’d be wondering why the show kept cutting to the pair of them. I loved the cast, I thought they all did a really good job with their characters (Jesper, Nina and The Darkling were particular standouts to me, but I loved everyone). I actually wish they’d had a couple more episodes as I think things were rushed a little in the last two episodes! It was clear though that the creators really loved the books, and were faithful to them and the characters whilst also doing something new which I loved.

TV or Book Judgement:

This is a really tough one because there are a few things I would have liked to see more of from the Crows’ backstories, but as the series is mostly based on Shadow and Bone, I would say I enjoyed the TV series more! I think having the Crows integrated into the Shadow and Bone story really lifted it up for me, and that Jessie Mei Li and Archie Renaux as Alina and Mal made me like both characters more than I did in the book. Also Ben Barnes as The Darkling? Perfection. I really hope they get many more seasons of the show, because I can’t wait to see Nikolai and I would love to see the Crows’ stories from the books on screen.

That’s it for this month’s Book Vs Movie, I will be back next month with another Book Vs TV, talking about Good Omens and its TV adaptation.

Book Vs Movie: Moxie

Hi everyone! I know, it’s been ages since I last did one of these, they kind of fell by the wayside at the end of last year/beginning of this year, but they’re back now and I’m hoping to keep up a more regular posting schedule for the rest of 2021. This month, I’m talking about Moxie, which had its Netflix adaptation released at the beginning of March.

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Book Thoughts:

I read this back in 2018, and I thought it was a fun, fast read. It’s fairly simplistic and lacks some nuance (it’s very into the whole “girl power” version of feminism) but I love how focused it was on female empowerment, I enjoyed the main character Viv and the way she grew into herself through the book and I loved how central female friendships were as they’re something I always enjoy. I did think the attempts at intersectionality were somewhat clumsy though, as it felt very surface level and the POC characters didn’t feel particularly well developed. Here is my full review of the book if you want to read more of my thoughts:

Movie Thoughts:

Moxie (film) - Wikipedia

I liked the film in general. I think it was a tad long in places, and I think the reasons for Viv starting Moxie were more fleshed out in the book: she’s shy but not quite to the extent of the movie and she already has the passion about the sexist behaviour of boys at her school being wrong, so it doesn’t seem quite as much of a 180 when she decides to start Moxie as it does in the film. The intersectionality is still a bit clumsy, the movie does try to address this issue from the book but it doesn’t always succeed at it as it often seems like the WOC in the film are there to prop up Viv rather than having much of a story of their own. It also felt a little lengthy for an adaptation of a fairly short book! I did like that the film really embraced female friendship, and I think there was more of a feel of camaraderie in the film than the book. I didn’t think the subplot with her mum’s boyfriend was as well done in the film as the book though, in the book, Viv also gets mad at her mum’s boyfriend at dinner, but it’s because he has a Republican supporting sticker on his car, so she essentially prejudges him for his political affiliations, which still isn’t great, but it made more sense than in the film where she blows up at everyone seemingly for no reason. Overall, it is an enjoyable film and a good adaptation of the book, but it does fall short in some areas.

Movie or Book Judgement:

I think I’ll go with the book for this one! It was tricky to choose, because I did like both, and both shared some of the same shortcomings, but ultimately, the fact that the reasons for Viv starting Moxie are clearer in the book put it slightly ahead of the film for me. I would still recommend the film though!

That’s it for this month’s Book Vs Movie, I’ll be back next month with a VERY EXCITING Book Vs Movie, as I’ll be talking about the Netflix adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse (the first series focuses on Shadow and Bone and the backstories of characters from Six of Crows), so I’m sure that’s one a lot of you will be excited for!

Book Vs Movie: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Hi everyone! It’s the last day of September, so I just have time to get in a Book Vs Movie post for this month before we head into OCTOBER (HOW? Time this year has been a real trip!). This month, I’m actually doing a Book Vs Movie Vs TV as the books I’m talking about have more than one adaptation. The series I’m talking about is of course, A Series of Unfortunate Events:

A Series of Unfortunate Events Collection Lemony Snicket 13 Books Set BRAND  NEW 9780603570933 | eBay

Book Thoughts:

A Series Of Unfortunate Events was a childhood staple for me, I used to go to the library every single week to get the newest book and I absolutely loved them, they’re dark and strange and witty and basically very Jo. Did they get a bit repetitive? Sure, especially in the first nine books where they’re largely just trying to avoid being caught by Olaf, but they were definitely very engaging reads.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events - Wikipedia

Movie Thoughts:

AGH NO. Basically this movie tried to do way too much, they combined the first three books into one film and it didn’t feel like they really did any of them justice. I also didn’t really feel like Jim Carrey got the balance between sinister and funny for Count Olaf very well, but to be honest, whatever I see Jim Carrey in, he always just seems to be himself in whatever he’s in.

A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV Series 2017–2019) - IMDb

TV Thoughts:

I thought Netflix did a really good job with the series! They were a lot more faithful to the books than the film, and I loved how they included direct passages of Lemony Snicket’s monologues from the books. The TV series allowed for more time to fully explore the books’ events with two episodes per book, and they really kept to the tone of the books very well. The actors were really great, Neil Patrick Harris did a great job with Olaf, Patrick Warburton was brilliant as Lemony Snicket and Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes were great as Violet and Klaus as well.

Movie, Book or TV judgement:

Ah it’s quite difficult because I love the books and I love the TV show (and also it’s been a lot longer since I read books than when I saw the TV show). I think the books potentially just edge it, but honestly they’re both pretty equal!

That’s all for this month’s Book Vs Movie, I’ll be back next month with another Book Vs Movie, since it’s October and Halloween month, I’m going to go with a spooky book and adaptation, and talk about Coraline, and it’s movie adaptation.

 

Book Vs Movie: Divergent

Hi everyone! Sorry that I missed the post for this last month, I basically had to squeeze in too many posts at the end of July and didn’t have time to do this one! Anyway, this month I’m talking about the Divergent book and film.

Divergent (Divergent, Book 1): 1/3: Amazon.co.uk: Roth, Veronica:  9780007420421: Books

Book Thoughts:

I read Divergent about six years ago, it was one of the earliest books I reviewed for this blog actually! I enjoyed it, though I did find the plot somewhat lacking and I wasn’t thrilled by the world-building. To be honest, it was one of the first dystopians I read after The Hunger Games and I reckon that was always in the back of my mind when I was reading, which probably isn’t really fair, but oh well!

Movie Thoughts:

Divergent (Divergent, Book 1): Amazon.co.uk: Roth, Veronica: Books

It’s been a long time since I saw this, I think I went to see it not that long after I’d read the book, but I’m not sure, it definitely came out the same year I read the book though! On the whole, I enjoyed it, though I haven’t watched it in a while! It is super weird that they decided to make Four much older though and yet as far as I’m aware Tris is still meant to be 16? The age dynamic make things a little uncomfortable especially when in the book they’re only two years apart (which could easily have been solved by casting a younger actor to play Four, or by ageing Tris up because the actress is clearly not a teenager either!).

Movie or book judgement:

Difficult to say here as neither the book or the film was a favourite, but I think I’d say the book just edges it here.

That’s it for this month’s Book Vs Movie, I’ll be back with another one next month, talking about A Series Of Unfortunate Events and its screen adaptations (because yes, there are two!).

Book Vs Movie: Artemis Fowl

Hi everyone! It’s almost the end of June, so I’ve just got time to fit in this month’s Book Vs Movie post. You’re all in luck this month as I’ll be filling you all in on my incredibly salty thoughts about THAT Artemis Fowl movie (yeah you guys thought the Percy Jackson movie was bad, just you wait).

Book Thoughts:

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I read Artemis Fowl way back when I was 14, borrowed from the school library and I really loved it. The whole idea of the main character in the series being the villain was brilliant and it was a really fun, slightly off-beat and exciting adventure. I loved all of the magical creatures as well, and completely devoured all of the subsequent books in the series.

Movie Thoughts:

Artemis Fowl (2020) - IMDb

JUST WHAT THE HELL? It’s not even just that this is a bad adaptation of the book, it’s just a terrible movie altogether. They completely missed the point of Artemis’ character by making him seem like the good guy (he is categorically not and that’s THE WHOLE POINT OF THE BOOK) and added to that they completely change the plot?

It’s barely even recognisable from the book and it doesn’t even make sense? So it’s bad for people who have read and enjoyed the book and bad for new viewers as well. They also whitewashed Holly Short, which hello? HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING? It was so disappointing especially given the extended wait we’ve had for this film.

Movie or Book judgement:

Unsurprisingly, the book was better here, honestly the movie is probably one of my least favourite adaptations.

That’s it for this month’s Book Vs Movie, I will be back next month, this time I’ll be talking about Divergent and it’s movie adaptation.

Book Vs Movie: The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants

Hello everyone! It may be the last day of the month, but I’m still just in time to get this month’s Book Vs Movie post in. This month I’m talking about The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants and its film adaptation.

Book Thoughts:

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I don’t know how old I was when I read this one, I think maybe 12 or 13? Definitely pre-teen/young teenager anyway. It’s a cute story, not my usual kind of thing but I remember really enjoying it when I did read it, I think because although there was quite a bit of romance in it, what I really remember was the friendship between the four girls and that was always more important than whatever boyfriends/love interests they had which was great.

Movie Thoughts:

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) - IMDb

Again, I enjoyed the movie. It’s pretty faithful to the book, to be honest, I saw the film so long after I read the book that I probably wouldn’t have picked up any inconsistencies anyway! I think they did a really good job on the casting, all of the actresses were really good in their roles and it’s a nice, sweet, comforting film, perfect for a Friday evening with a tub of ice cream!

Movie or Book Judgement:

I liked them both, but I actually think I’d go with the movie here as I’d probably prefer to come back to the story that way rather than reading the book again.

That’s it for this month’s Book Vs Movie, I will be back again next month, talking about Artemis Fowl and the new movie adaptation.

Book Vs Movie: Noughts and Crosses

Hi everyone! This month’s Book Vs Movie is actually a Book Vs TV, I’m going to be talking about one of my favourite YA books, Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses which was recently made into a TV show for the BBC. I read the book for the first time when I was about 11, so it’s been a long time between the two!

Book Thoughts:

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Noughts and Crosses is one of those books that definitely sticks with you long after you’ve read it. I think it was probably the first book I read that had black main characters and definitely the first book that made me think about racism in any real way. It’s also the first book that I remember being truly heartbroken by, that ending is definitely one of the biggest gut punches I’ve ever experienced whilst reading!

TV Thoughts:

Noughts + Crosses - Wikipedia

I was quite apprehensive about the TV show, because obviously I loved the book so much and you really want the screen adaptation to do it justice. Thankfully, I really did enjoy it! The actors are great, the costumes are great, the sets are great and it definitely does justice to the book. They do change quite a lot: the characters are aged up, so because the book takes place over a number of years, events are mixed up and certain things are missed out but it is by and large a faithful adaptation. I did kind of miss the childhood friends to lovers aspect of the books and I wish they hadn’t cut Callum’s sister Lynette out of the story, as Callum’s motivations for joining the LM don’t seem as strong in the show without that background. The ending of the first series may be controversial for fans of the books, but they actually don’t get to the ending of the book, so I’m sure if there is a second series, we will see that on screen.

TV or Book Judgement:

Book, but I do think the TV show did a pretty great job of adapting it, the book will just always be close to my heart!

That’s it for this month’s Book Vs Movie. I will be back next month with another post, this time talking about The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants and its film adaptation.