My September UBFP Newspaper Article – Book Vs. Movie – Which One Is Better?

I know I’m not supposed to be posting today, but I wanted to share the article I wrote for the Upper Bucks Free Press (the newspaper I write for) for the September issue! The online version was just published. To see the online version of the newspaper, click HERE (see page 16).

I hope you enjoy the article!

Book Vs. Movie – Which One Is Better?


“The book was SO much better than the movie” is a statement I hear a lot. It got me wondering, is the book always better? To me, the answer is an obvious yes, but I’m a book person.

For example, I LOVED the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books (Jeff Kinney), but I hated the movie. I think that Gregory’s self-centered character is much better as cartoon in a book than in the movie. In the movie Rowley wasn’t nearly as goofy as he should have been.

They also took one of my all-time favorite books, The Lightning Thief from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (Rick Riordan), and made it into an okay movie. I mean, they took out Clarisse, one of my favorite characters, and they even took out Ares, the god of war (how do you take out the god of war from a story about Greek mythology with fighting in it?!?). The fight between Percy and Ares has got to be my all-time favorite fight scenes from any book and it wasn’t in the movie. Of course, the movie wasn’t horrible. It was pretty good and, I think, for someone who hadn’t read the book, it was probably great. There is lots of action, great special effects, and cool monsters.

But still I wondered what other people think. So, I took matters into my own hands. I decided to post a poll on my blog (, where I asked my followers which they thought was normally better – the book or the movie.

96 out of the 117 people who responded said that the book was either always better or mostly better than the movie. This didn’t surprise me. I run a book blog after all so they probably think a lot like me. What I really liked about the poll was reading why they chose the answer they did. Most people said that in a movie, you don’t really connect with the characters as well as in a book, making it hard to sympathize with the character in the movie or really know what they are thinking.  I think that’s true. If a book is well written, you know exactly who the character is and what they are thinking.

Another interesting response from the poll was that 15 people said that which you like more depends on what you saw/read first; movie or book. They said that the version of the story you experience first is usually the one you really like. Personally, I think this is true too. If you read the book first, and love it, the movie won’t really come close to matching it and differences in the stories (if there are any) will bother you. I think the same thing goes for seeing the movie first.

I learned a lot from the comments people left on the poll. Some people felt that the movie is just one person’s interpretation of the book and they’re completely different art forms. Because of this, you can’t really compare them, but you can enjoy both as long as you keep this in mind.

Another group of people said that movies provide a visual experience that books just cannot provide. I can definitely see this point.  From the book, I would have never imagined Medusa as completely frightening as she appeared in The Lightning Thief movie. Some people also said that movies give life to the setting of the story by being able to actually see it.

I don’t know about you, but I think I will always prefer the book. Then again, I will never give up on experiencing the movie.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to grab my popcorn and mosey on down to the movie theatre to see the newest Percy Jackson movie, The Sea of Monsters. I am hoping to see Clarisse in this one!


P.S. I saw Percy Jackson #2 – Sea of Monsters, the other week – It was MUCH better than the first movie! Clarisse was there! 😀

Categories: Newspaper Columns, Other Stuff Related to Books and Reading

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18 replies

  1. Great article, Erik! I fall in the camp of generally liking the book better too. Hope you enjoy the Percy Jackson movie. I have yet to read the books!

  2. I loved this article, Erik! I am also happy to hear that The Sea of Monsters was better than The Lightning Thief. I was disappointed that Clarisse wasn’t in the first one and I had to remind myself to get over the changes I wasn’t happy about and think about it as a movie. I have been planning to see it- but have been a little nervous it wouldn’t live up to the book.

    I think I always love the book more than the movie- but like you I don’t stop seeing the movies. If I know a movie is coming out I sometimes wait to read it so that the movie isn’t ruined. I read the book afterwards and usually the two are so different that the movie version doesn’t sway my imagination. I did this with The Help and I actually enjoyed the book and the movie. Seeing the movie first didn’t take anything away from the book- which was nice.

  3. Great article Erik. This will always be a topic of interest. I tend to prefer the book over the movie, but I also know that a screenwriter must distill so much of the book into 90-120 min. to tell the story on screen. The book turned into a movie that really dissappointed me was “The Polar Express.” But, I also don’t read all of the books before I see a movie. And, there times when I’m really not interested in the book and will just watch the movie because it’s on HBO.

  4. What a well written article. It will get people thinking and talking. Many times when I get together with friends, we discuss this very topic. Keep up the good work!

  5. Thanks, Erik. People who love middle grade and young adult books are lucky that so many movies are being made out of them now. It seems like every other time I see a movie trailer on TV it is from a book I know about.

  6. Fantastic job, Erik! What I found most interesting about your article is the fact that whatever media people saw first is what they enjoyed the most. This is an excellent topic.

  7. Enjoyed this article, Erik. Instead of just a cliche statement, it was backed up with lots of solid reasons. Interesting to hear everyone’s opinions. And I have to say I agree! Now to go see Sea of Monsters…

  8. Interesting artical. Very entreating. I agree that Dairy of a Wimpy Kid books are better then the movies though the movies give life you have to do it right to make it as good as the book and make the caricters as similar as possible to make it look like the book in real life.

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