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To Watch or To Read: Rating Book-To-Movie Adaptations 

I love book-to-movie adaptations. There’s nothing quite like watching your favorite characters come to life, once words on a page, and depicted through the visions of a director. The only problem with this movie-making technique is that, more often than not, the film is not how you imagined it in your head and you leave the theater disappointed. So, here is a list of popular books-turned-movies and what I think about them.

“The Art of Racing in the Rain” written by Garth Stein and directed by Simon Curtis

One of my favorite books of all time, “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” is both a delightful read and an exciting film. Both versions of this story made me laugh, cry, and want to buy a dog. I recommend reading the book first and then watching the movie. 

“The Fault in Our Stars” written by John Green and directed by Josh Boone

Although this may break the hearts of John Green fans around the world, I think the 2014 movie adaptation of “The Fault in Our Stars” is a million times better than the book. I remember sobbing at the end of the movie, starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, but felt little emotional attachment to the characters in the novel. I highly recommend the movie, but Green has written better books, like “Looking for Alaska,” “Paper Towns,” and “An Abundance of Katherines.” 

“Divergent” written by Veronica Roth and directed by Neil Burger

Yet another movie adaptation starring Shailene Woodley, “Divergent,” is a wonderful book and film. The book was an easy read, like many other post-apocalyptic novels, and the movie helped me better understand Roth’s descriptions of the different factions. If I had to choose one or the other, however, I would recommend watching this movie. 

“Room” written by Emma Donoghue and directed by Lenny Abrahamson

A quick read and a heartbreaking film, this psychological thriller “Room” is a very well done book to film adaptation. However, because this story is not for the faint-hearted, I recommend the book more than the movie because it is less graphic. 

“The Help” written by Kathryn Stockett and directed by Tate Taylor

Wow, this story is so amazing. Stockett and Taylor had very similar visions for “The Help,” and I can’t decide if I prefer the book or the movie. Although a tale of white-saviorism, “The Help” never fails to make me cry. I highly recommend reading the book and then watching the movie to fully appreciate the power of the women in this story. 

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Although not movies, I also recommend watching the series below because of their similarities with the novels. 

“Big Little Lies” written by Liane Moriarty and directed by Jean-Marc Valiée and Andrea Arnold

One of the most star-studded series I’ve seen in a while, “Big Little Lies” is a crazy good psychological thriller. I watched season one before reading the book by Liane Moriarty, who also wrote “Nine Perfect Strangers,” and was mind blown at how similar the show and book were. I definitely recommend both! 

“Bridgerton” written by Julia Quinn and directed by Chris Van Dusen

In order to fully understand the drama in the famous Netflix series “Bridgerton,” it’s important to also read the series. With each book corresponding with a season (at least so far) it’s easy to keep track of the plot and enjoy the historical and smutty interactions between the characters. “Bridgerton” the series is also similar to the books. 

As an avid reader and movie fan, book-to-movie adaptations are my weakness. This being said, I usually prefer the book. What are some of your favorite book to movie adaptations?

Lanaya Oliver

CU Boulder '24

Lanaya is originally from Colorado but has lived all over the world. She loves to play sports, paint, write, and bake. She is double majoring in Psychology and Spanish and dreams of becoming a sports psychologist!