I had this discussion the other day with my family and I decided to make a blog post out of it because I find it is an interesting topic to discuss, especially as a book lover.
We were talking about The Giver since my little brother had to read it for school. His teacher advised him to watch the movie first, so he did. My grandmother believes it is better to watch the movie first, and then read the book. However, I don’t agree, and I think it’s better to read the book first (and this has nothing to do with the fact that the movie did not exist when I read The Giver back in 8th grade.)
As a matter of fact, watching the movie before reading the book is something that happened to me more often than I wish it did. (Some examples are The Hunger Games, The Perks of being a Wallflower, and The Silver Linings Playbook, which I saw in the cinema, while I only read the book recently.) Now that I think of it, it also happened with TV Shows, since I watched Game of Thrones and The 100 before reading the books (and I have completed neither of those book series).
However, I regret it now, and I think reading the book first is best.
I think movies are usually a great way to complete the book, helping the viewers put images to the stories they read (I hope I am making sense here…) This is something that really struck me when I read, then watched Room, by Emma Donoghue. The movie really helped me picture the story, how small, and crappy the room was, and how awful a person can look after living like this for years. This is not something that felt really clear in the book, and the movie really helped. But I think it was better to watch the movie afterwards. In general, I think the movie is a kind of bonus, to bring you more magic, more elements. But book adaptations are not things of their own.
You can argue that watching the movie first will allow you to go deeper into the story when you read the book afterwards, but to me, that is not the best solution. I think that since the book was there first, it should be read first. I know that many people have watched the Harry Potter movies and never read the books, for example, but I think that’s a pity. Watching the movie first is like reading spoilers before finishing the book.
Again, there are lot of good points to book adaptations. Like, it can help promote the story. And then people will read the book. People hear that the movie will be coming out soon, and decide to read the book before the movie (that’s the reason why I finally read Miss Peregrine’s). The movie can help the book get more audience. I personally have heard of some books through their movies (The DUFF, for example, which I still haven’t read, shame on me.)
But overall, I still believe that reading the book first is better. To some extent, it is because of my love for books. But it is too because the movie is an adaptations. Isn’t it better to know the “real story” first?
Anyway, that’s my opinion, and I would love to have yours! Please, share your thoughts in the comments!