This is always a topic that gets people talking – comparing the book with the movie.

I always make it a rule to read the book before seeing the movie. Why? To get a good sense of characters, setting and story. But when I read I’m playing the movie in my mind.

There’s so much more you get when you read the story particularly on what the characters are thinking and feeling. That can only be depicted in movies by dialogue and body language. I love to get into people’s minds.

1     The Outsiders – S E Hinton

The Outsiders

If you’ve read a previous post you’ll know that The Outsiders is one of my all-time favourite books.

Once upon a time I used to have a huge crush on Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid). I followed his acting career like any star-struck teenager. When I found out that he was going to be in a movie called The Outsiders I raced down to the local library to borrow the book. Then began the love affair of my life (with the book, not Ralph!). I loved the book and so was waiting with huge anticipation for the release of the movie. I had an American pen pal at the time who sent me movie magazines with all the promo material in it. It was going to be a great movie. I knew this because Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather) would be the director.

I saw the movie. It was good but somehow I felt flat at the end. It didn’t quite capture the raw emotion that the book did. I also felt a little cheated when I discovered that the sunset scene warning: movie spoiler alert was painted and not the real thing. Also like most movies it didn’t cover everything in the book and I felt crucial scenes had not been included. Now you can see some of the deleted scenes from The Outsiders on YouTube (Brotherly Love, A Rare Ending) along with auditions from some of the actors including C Thomas Howell who played Ponyboy Curtis. If the deleted scenes had ended up in the movie I think this would’ve made it a more complete package.

Book or the movie? Book.

2     Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the wind

I can’t believe I’ve read this book three times (the sequel, Scarlett, once – and never again!).

I just love this book – the imagery, the characters, the long suffering Rhett and Melanie, the courageous but manipulative Scarlett (who’d slap their sister?), and the background of the American Civil War.

I remember seeing this at the movies (no, I’m not that old – it was one of those anniversary showings) where they had to have two intermissions because the movie was soooooo long!

Of course, the movie didn’t cover nearly half of what happened in the book, but it created a great atmosphere and I really felt as though I was in Georgia!

Is it a coincidence that Johnny from The Outsiders favourite book was Gone with the Wind?

Book or the movie? Book.

3      The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Once again, my previous post discussed why I think The Book Thief is such a brilliant book.

The movie was released in New Zealand in January 2013. This was a movie that I couldn’t wait to see. I don’t go to the movies anymore for various reasons so when I go it has to be something special for me to want to see it.

I sat in the movie theatre almost trembling with anticipation. And you know when you open up a book and within the first ten pages you know that the book is going to be something special? I knew that within five minutes of the movie starting. This was going to be a great movie.

It was incredible – all the characters and scenes in the movie were just as I had imagined they would be. Everything was perfect.

The movie was a roller coaster of emotions and when it ended I felt absolutely exhausted, but completely fulfilled. I almost cried and by the sounds of sniffles around me other people, well actually, all of the women, were holding tissues up to their noses.

The Book Thief, as the movie, was alive, big, real, and heart wrenching.

Not only is The Book Thief one of the best books I’ve read, the movie would be up there to with my all-time favourites.

Book or the movie? This is hard one… but I’d go with the book by just a smidgeon.

So in the above three cases, I’d go with the book just because, for me, it contains all the elements. I don’t need the movie as I have such a vivid imagination I can see it all playing out in my mind.

What about you? What Young Adult books and movies did you enjoy? PS: Don’t mention The Fault in Our Stars – I have a special blog coming up soon about this book and movie.