Book Truth

imageThere are truths we discover that become such an ingrained part of our knowledge that we take them for granted.  It feels like we’ve always known them to be fact.  Today I was reminded of what it felt like to discover one of those truths through the eyes of my fifth-grade friend Sara.

Sara has always been an avid reader.  She was one of my first graders a few years ago and I’ve enjoyed watching her grow through the following grades.  Recently she shared with me that her family is going to Florida and she will be at the Wizarding World at Universal Studios.  She wants to be prepared to get Maximum Potter Enjoyment, so she is reading the whole series cover to cover.  Although she has read a wide variety of books, for whatever reason she had not yet read any Harry Potter.  But now she is hooked!  In fact, she was returning book #5 when I saw her in the library this afternoon but looking to check out book #7.  She told me she had #6 at home ready to go but just wanted to have #7 nearby so she wouldn’t have to wait to start it!

Sara and I chatted for a moment about the books and her trip, and then I asked if she had watched any of the movies.  She moaned and said “Yes!  Unfortunately I had already watched 1-4 before I read any of the books!  I wish I hadn’t done that!”  She was completely frustrated with the details from the book that were missing or changed in the movie–and she told me about every single one of them.  Then she exclaimed, “If I had only ever watched the movie and never read the book, I would know NOTHING!”

I loved my conversation with Sara because it reminded me of how I felt the first time I saw a movie that didn’t live up to my expectations after reading the book.  Over time I have developed a carefully maintained set of rules that I stick closely to regarding the timing of when I read (or reread) a book in relation to watching the movie.  It gets a little complicated with these series books that are adapted into a movie with several sequels–but I follow my plan to the letter!  If I do, I find that I can really enjoy both without getting too frustrated.

Sara is just learning how to find balance as a reader between enjoying books and the movies made from their stories.  She is developing her own set of rules.  It was a treat to talk to her about her discovery and reassure her that she isn’t the only reader who feels this way.  She has a lot to enjoy ahead of her—and she plans to read and see it all!




  1. Beth Cook · March 10, 2016

    I totally get how Sara feels! I never watch the movie if I haven’t read the book first! But it is still hard to separate the two and not compare. I always feel that the movie has let me down in some way. 🙂 I love the written story and I guess with the movie there is only so much time to tell the story. 🙂 Stay strong, Sara! Stay true!


  2. caroline524 · March 10, 2016

    I understand her sentiment. I can recall several movies that didn’t live up to the books. It could make for a good discussion about the story details left out.


  3. Anne Donnelly · March 10, 2016

    I still don’t know where I stand on this issue…sometimes I think it’s better to read the book first, other times I feel that you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment by doing that. Often, if it’s a book I really really love, I simply won’t see the movie while it’s in theatres (I did this with The Giver, for example). That way if I don’t like it, I at least didn’t pay $10 for a movie ticket!!


  4. Kristi Lonheim (@lonheim) · March 10, 2016

    So fun for her to find someone that understands that movies can be a let down and boosts her excitement for her reading. It sounds like your, so far, perfect plan is a secret. Sigh. I just don’t see movies of books I enjoy with very rare exceptions.


  5. Erika Victor · March 10, 2016

    I love that you got to have this conversation with a fellow book lover who is also a former student- it is great to see students growing up and always nice to talk with book lovers. Maybe your secret plan will be a future slice? I have never liked a movie better than the book, but my hope is to not hate the movie of a book I love.


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