The book is always better than the movie. Right?

The book is always better than the movie. Right?

I attempted to read World War Z recently. I mean I really attempted. I read over half of the book and tried to pretend it was what I was hoping it would be, but I finally just stopped because it wasn’t. I’ll admit I watched the movie first and when I bought the book, I was hoping for as thrilling of a plot line as the movie. I assumed it would follow Gerry Lane, Brad Pitt’s character, the former UN investigator as he traveled around the world trying to find the source of the outbreak and how to stop it.

It didn’t. Spoiler alert, kids. 

The entire book was from the point of view from tons of different people as the virus spread, and I guess it was somewhat interesting to see it unfold from the eyes of so many characters but it also made it difficult to want to continue reading. I easily set it down after each character’s testimony was finished, and reluctantly picked it up again to follow someone else’s.

Frankly, I am happy they made a movie out of World War Z. I vastly preferred the thrill of the movie.

I do not usually feel that way about books. I mean, I am a Harry Potter addict and I can tell you every single scene in the movies that defers from the pages of the books. I also am that pretentious person who read The Great Gatsby and believe they made the movie a lot more flashy than what the story line intended. The Hunger Games I felt was close. The Hobbit was okay, but I remembering enjoying the book far more than the first of the three movies.

I suppose the no-brainer answer here is whether one read the book or watched the movie first. But my question is, wouldn’t we all be biased then? How can we REALLY prove that the book or movie is better if every one of us would have to watch or read one or the other first?

My favorite book of all time is Looking for Alaska. I mean, I am obsessed. At 14 years old, this book about a handful of rambunctious teenagers trying to understand the meaning of life, changed my own perspective on life. It challenged every fear I’d ever had, and gave me a lot of hope regarding my future. I became partial to its author, John Green, and since then have read pretty much every book he’s published.

Now John Green recently announced one of his books, The Fault in Our Stars, is turning into a movie. It’s a great book. I read it in less than twenty-four hours and was hooked, but The Fault in Our Stars is no Looking for Alaska. Another spoiler alert kiddos, but a book about two kids falling in love while dealing with cancer can get anyone emotional. Alaska was so much deeper, and I have always felt, one of the most original plot lines I’ve ever read.

So basically I was quite devastated that Looking for Alaska wasn’t going to be a movie. I’m not saying it’s personal, but it’s sort of personal. This book changed my life, after all…


But I had a bit of an epiphany after trying to read World War Z. I can’t help but criticize and not appreciate probably an immensely well-written piece of literature; simply because I watched the movie first. And so maybe it’s best that Looking for Alaska stays as a book. Maybe it’s best so that people don’t go out and watch the movie and decide to never read this powerful book, or else when they do attempt to read it, have no appreciation for its deeper meaning.

Even after my disappointment with World War Z, and the fact that I’ll probably never finish reading it I still believe books are better than their movie counterparts. I may have preferred the movie, but the book must be better – or else why would they have made a movie out of it?

Also, you should all go read Looking for Alaska if you haven’t. Especially before someone decides to make it a movie.

“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

– John Green, Looking for Alaska


Do you think any movies are truly better than the book? Have you read World War Z? Looking for Alaska?


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  • Allie Cossack says:

    I had the same exact problem with World War Z! But the movie, I feel like it could hardly be the same story except that it has the same title and is about zombies. I feel like a movie the way the book is written would be really interesting, but I definitely find that it’s hard to pick back up, especially after a particularly dry account.

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