Why Do I Torture Myself?



I rarely read a book and then go see the movie based on it.  Most times I am upset because the movie is nowhere near as good as the book.  Then I get upset at myself for wasting money on something that wasn’t worth it.  I can tell you right now that I have no desire to see A Wrinkle In Time when it comes out.  I have used the book for many years with my students and I know I will be disappointed by the movie.

Anyway, While watching American Horror Story last year, I admit that I am a fan, they kept promoting a limited run series called The Alienist.  It was based on the book by Caleb Carr.  It looked like something I would be interested in watching, so I made a mental note of its starting date and set my DVR to record all new episodes of the show.  That way I would be sure not to miss the series.

Well, a few weeks before the show was to start we were in WalMart and I saw the book.  It was around $17.00.  I was feeling cheap and refused to buy it even though I picked it up, looked at it and seriously thought about throwing it in the cart.

About a week later our local newspaper held a book sale to benefit Newspapers in Education.  We always go and I always come home with a bag full of books.  At $1.00 for paperbacks and $3.00 for hardcovers how can you go wrong?

I was surprised and pleased to find this for a buck.


There was no thinking this time.  I grabbed it and held on to it.

This was about two weeks before the show was to start.  I knew that I could get the book read by the time the show started.  I did. In fact, I finished the book the day before the series started.  I really enjoyed it.

I then began watching the show.  Big mistake.  Although it is well done, and I know that if I hadn’t read the book I would be really enjoying the series, I find myself angry and frustrated each week I watch a new episode.  I understand there have to be changes made to make a book filmable.  I know things get changed.  But why are things put in that never happened in the book?  Why are relationships fostered that never came about in the book?  Do these things add to the story?  I don’t think so.

I guess the biggest question is why am I still watching?  Maybe I am hoping they will get back to story as it was written.  I’m sure it won’t, but one can always hope.


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28 responses to “Why Do I Torture Myself?

  1. jennysrich

    I read Wonder this year. I have wanted to see the movie but, another teacher just told me she was thoroughly disappointed. The movie is NEVER better than the book…

  2. I agree that the movie is never as good as the book, but I did enjoy Wonder and thought they did a pretty good job. I think you need to quit watching that show, just delete the episodes waiting and savor the memory of the book. By the way, what a great score on the price of the book!

  3. I agree. I just might do that. The book really was good.
    I do enjoy book sales.

  4. Now I am okay with book/movie variations. I am happy when the book is in my past and the movie can be an independent entity. The book is always better, right?

    • The book is always much better. I have seen the trailers for A Wrinkle In Time and cringe when I think about what they have done to that book.

  5. Alice Nine

    Love those book sales!! I agree: the movie is never as good as the book. Early in my teaching, I read “The Yearling” to my students and then we watched the movie — a B&W version. I’ll never forget how disappointed my students were… and it wasn’t about it being B&W either.

  6. You got hooked and can’t stop. I get it. This happens to all of us!

  7. Ye! for finding the book at book sale. 🙂

    The disappointment! The frustration of “our” stories being bungled? Like you, I can name on one hands where the movies did justice to the book it is based on. My kids want to know if we are going to see “The Wrinkle in the Time” . I may take them but dreading the beautiful story and message of hope being bungled. Same with Auggie & Me. Should I go & watch it? On the other hand, the movies give wide reach to our beloved books, ya? So I go to see these movies based on books even when I am not sure if I should.

  8. Judy C.

    I, too, have been so disappointed to go to the movie only to find out it briefly reflects the book. So, I try to stay clear of those movies. Time to skip those movies and just savor the book.

  9. Katie Diez

    So true….I find myself comparing the book to the movie and the movie always losing, but for some reason I need to watch until the end. It is one of the reasons that my husband is annoyed with what I have on the DVR. I hate to “give up” on something that I liked at one time….

  10. It is so true, the movie never lives up to the book. Give me a book any time, and for one dollar the book was a gift.

  11. I’m impressed with your shopping savvy! There have only been a few movies that I thought were ok as versions of the book. Never better.

  12. Erika Haak

    I find the book to movie genre one that I read sooo often! I think I read 17 books last year that turned into movies, very, very rarely does the movie or show do it any justice. But, I have to say–I think the Hunger Games trilogy did a great job of keeping true to the main points and putting all the things that were in my imagination into the movie. I think The Time Traveler’s Wife movie was very well done. I also didn’t go see Wonder, since my kids and I loved the book. But, we are going to go see A Wrinkle in Time (which we read) knowing that it will be completely different. Oh, another good remake was Big Little Lies–that mini -series not only won a boatload of awards, but it was a very good rendering of the novel–an excellent story and very well acted! HA-your reaction to The Alienist made me think of My Sister’s Keeper–they killed off the wrong main character in the movie–seriously????

  13. Why do you do it? I believe the words “glutton” and “punishment” my be involved. The creative licensing some take to adapt a book to film really is atrocious.

  14. Looks like we all agree that the book is always better! I discussed this with friends just today.
    How much say does an author have in a movie?
    My biggest disappointment has been the movie version of “Tuck Everlasting,” a book I love. Horrible!
    But I never saw “My Sister’s Keeper.” I can’t imagine having the wrong character die. That changes EVERYTHING.

    • I keep hoping that the next movie I see based on a book will resemble the book in more ways than just the title. Hasn’t happened yet.

    • Excellent question about how much say an author has on their books being made in movie.

      I think it depends on Author’s contract when they sale the books. such as J. K. Rowling has enough clout and savvy to make sure studios listen to them. She sold book and movie rights separately and have tight control. Remember, how Warner Brothers were not able to flood the market with the Harry Potter related merchandise?

      On the other hand, Rick Rioradan (Percy Jackson series)’s web site and interview, once he sold the books, he had no control over how movie rights were sold and movies were made.

      Sue Grafton (The Alphabet Murder mystery author) was quoted as saying her family has taken blood oath not to sale movie rights of any of her books as she does not want her books getting mutilated.

      Now, when I write my book…

      • Will look forward to your book and the film because I know you will be the screen writer for it and do a faithful adaptation. 🙂

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