Let me set a situation up for you: You’re hanging out with some of your friends on a weeknight. “You wanna watch a movie?” one of them asks. You reply with an enthusiastic, “Sure!” You all go to pick out a movie, and your friends pick one that you haven’t seen in ages but that you really love. You’ve also read the book that the movie was adapted from, and you tell your friends so in a slight “Yeah, I’m pretty cool” tone. You all sit down. You watch. You re-live the moments that you loved the first time around. Maybe you cry, you laugh, you side-eye your friends who talk through the important scenes. And then the credits roll.
You’re happy with the movie. You’ve felt all the feels. You say goodnight to your friends…
…but you still don’t feel satisfied.
You know why that is? You have a case of what I like to call the Book-Is-Better-Must-Read-Now Syndrome…Some people call it the Carlisa Condition. Since I discovered it. And I suffer from it multiple times yearly. And alliteration.
Basically, the Book-Is-Better-Must-Read-Now Syndrome can be summed up in a few simple words: That urgent need to re-read a loved book after you watch the movie adaptation.
Am I the only one this happens to? I hope not, and I would think not, because it’s been happening my whole life.
One that gets me every time is Pride and Prejudice. I’ve never seen the billion-hour Colin Firth version (I know, I know. It’s on my to-watch list), but I’ve loved the Kiera Knightley version since I was…12? I think. I first read the book in sixth grade, so I was 11. But P&P is one hands-down one of my all-time favorites and it probably always will be. Because it’s so good and because it’s just kind of part of who I am at this point. But every single time I’ve watched that movie, I ache to re-read the book. That’s probably why I’ve read it so many times.
And I’m writing this right now because this happened to me this past weekend. I watched the Time Traveler’s Wife with my roommate, and I couldn’t believe how much I’d forgotten! I read it years and years ago, probably before the movie came out in 2009. It was before my Goodreads days and that was late 2009, so yeah. But I watched it and loved it and cried at the ending…and when the credits rolled, I ached to read the book. It’s like a physical ache. And I literally got back from Barnes and Noble about an hour ago because I wanted to buy it.
I think the main reason why this would happen is just because the book is (almost) always better than the movie. No matter how good the movie is, there are usually so many intricacies and smaller details that you miss in the movie. There are ways that emotions and thoughts can be expressed through word that movies have a harder time portraying. Of course, there are new insights and emotions and thoughts that can be expressed visually better than through text. But I stand by what I said.
So when I watch a movie adaptation of a book I’ve read and loved previously, I long to read it again and to capture the emotion and the thoughts and the story through the book.
So I thought about some of my favorite books over the years, and here are some of the stories that’ve made me suffer from the Book-Is-Better-Must-Read-Now Syndrome:
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The Time-Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (I’ve never re-read this one though. It’s so huge. #Someday)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Actually probably anything by Austen
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Host by Stephenie Meyer (the book is so much better)
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
But, all in all, this is probably a malady that I’ll be able to live with. Don’t you think? And I can probably use it as an excuse when I don’t want to go out because I want to just lay in bed and read…
What do you think about this? Does this ever happen to you? Do you have any books that the movies make you long for a re-read? Let me know in the comments!