If Only I Hadn’t Seen the Film…

Do you ever wonder to yourself how different a book might have been if you didn’t already know the plot? Although I always prefer to read the book before I see a film, sometimes I see the film not knowing a book even existed, and if the film’s good then the book’s likely to be better, and I just can’t wait to read it. If only I had known it was a book and read it first. I suppose this is the issue with cinema being more popular than literature – I mean you don’t see the latest novels advertised on the sides of buses do you? Some times we only know a thing exists when someone decides to make a film of it – like Twilight for example – published in 2005 and no-one had heard of it until 2008 when R-Patz came on the scene. Anyway, my point is, if you know the twists before you even open the first page of a book then you’re letting yourself in for a little disappointment, aren’t you?

Let me just warn you now before you read any further that this post contains spoilers.

Well, this twist-spoiling has been the case for a number of books I’ve read recently. The one that really bothers me is Gone Girl. I wish so much I had read the book before seeing the film because I’m dying to know how convincing Amy’s narrative really is – did everyone really believe Nick was guilty until Amy fakes her death and drives away? Was everyone else taken in by Amy’s diary, the fabricated ‘truth’ designed to incriminate Nick? I’m guessing I would have been because I’m a bit gullible when it comes to books, but I’d love to know if I would have really fallen for that. For some reason I always trust the narrator – I mean, why would they lie to me? Well this is why…to create a damn good story.

Gone Girl - 2014

The book I’m currently reading is Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson. The film I saw last year, and I really wish I hadn’t. Don’t get me wrong, the film was amazing, but I have a creeping suspicion that the book is going to be better (if it weren’t already spoiled for me anyway). During the first few pages I’m sure the reader is supposed to have feelings paralleling those of the protagonist – who wakes up in an unfamiliar house with an unknown man in her bed – where is she? Who is that? What has happened? But these pages gave me absolutely no sense of worry or confusion; I knew from the outset that she suffered from amnesia. And the worst thing is that I know the twist ending. I still want to read it, because it was a truly good film, but I wish I’d known a book had existed and waited until after.

Before I Go To Sleep

I’m going to try really hard to stop doing this now because it’s ruining loads of good books for me. I wonder if you feel the same way: do you prefer seeing the film or reading the book first?

Over and out –



7 thoughts on “If Only I Hadn’t Seen the Film…

  1. Such a good point! Yep, I love reading the book first. I love being immersed in the writing and the craft where it’s an interaction between yourself and the book. The movie hinders that interaction.

  2. I’m in quite a muddle about it myself. I have the Mazerunner movie, but Im delaying watching it because I want to read the books first. Should I watch the movie do you reckon? The books are definitely better in getting to know the characters better.

  3. When I read a book after the film, I immediately see the actor as the character, it really frustrates me when lots of scenes, eventualities or certain characters didn’t happen or not present or not even hinted at during the film, to make it more cinematic. Big mistake!
    If you see the book out there read it! Then watch the director’s interpretation… Film, It’s a painting of the book – Just tell me the whole damn book please Mr Director.

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