I am throwing down the gauntlet this month by tackling the issue of book-to-screen adaptations. People can get very heated about this topic, especially when it comes to how their most beloved books are treated. In order to reduce the wrath I might induce, I am avoiding The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter Series. Those fan bases are far too entrenched and intimidating. Others are better equipped to enter that foray.

With prolific streaming services these days, it seems like every new fiction release is being optioned before the ink is even dry. In some cases it is obvious that the writer was composing with a video version already in mind. Or rather, someone thinks it might be time for a "modern take" on a classic. Needless to say, both viewpoints are well substantiated by their adherents. Below are some examples of successful retellings and some subpar ones. There are even a few that demonstrate that the book may have even been improved. These are entirely my own opinions, but I certainly welcome any challenges to my selections.

Screen Versions That Are on Par with Their Source

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood
Darkly Dreaming DexterThe Dexter Series by Jeff Lindsay
The Queen's GambitThe Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank RedemptionRita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
The Princess BrideThe Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Sopranos by Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall

The Book IS Better

Cloud AtlasCloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Gulliver's TravelsGulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Old Possum's Book of Practical CatsOld Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot
In the WoodsDublin Murder Squad Series by Tana French
The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Better Than the Original

YouYou by Caroline Kepnes
Schindler's ListSchindler's List by Thomas Kenneally
The Silence of the LambsThe Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Jurassic ParkJurassic Park by Michael Crichton
The GodfatherThe Godfather by Mario Puzo

November's Featured Reviews

The Woman in the WindowThe Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Recent Readings

I have just finished reading My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham-Jones and Billy Summers by Stephen King. I also really enjoyed listening to the audiobook version of The Dare by Lesley Kara.

Right now, I am in the middle of Wish You Were Gone by Kieran Scott, and I am listening to The Next Accident by Lisa Gardner.

Know of any other examples that fit the above categories? Want to debate my choices? Bring it on! Drop me a line at jnmegan@gpl.org.

As always, I love suggestions and feedback, and I hope to hear from you.

Until next time: Be safe, be well and be well-read!

So, who am I, anyway? I am a resident of West Groton, with a husband, 4 teenaged children and a Samoyed puppy-all of whom are systematically destroying our house. I am currently working part time at the Groton Public Library and in a former life I was employed as a Director or PR/Marketing at a high-tech consulting firm. My BA is in Psychology, but most of my time was spent in college earning a Concentration on the Novel. That is all to say that I make no claims at being an expert of any kind and my thoughts, opinions and mistakes are solely my own. I am just a person whose passion for books has continued to grow from the moment I was first able to grip and gnaw on them, and I have been devouring them ever since.

Nov 01, 2021 / Joelle M Egan