When the Tables Turned

Photo Credit: flickr by regan76

Photo Credit: flickr by regan76

Years ago, my husband and I passed a household rule that prior to watching a movie, you had to read the book. The goal was to help our kids appreciate the value of the written word. (And also, we wanted them to recognize that what your mind creates is almost always better than a produced movie.) Through the years, there were a few moans and groans from the kids, but mainly acceptance. And occasionally, we’d miss the fact that a movie actually began as a book and all earned an immediate pass.

Earlier this year when The Fault in Our Stars movie trailers were released, the book started getting a lot of attention. Several of my daughter’s friends recommended that she read TFIOS.  And since my daughter wanted to see the movie, she asked for the book.  TFIOS was quickly devoured during Spring break.

And then she started the “you need to read this” campaign. You see, I’d been there, nestled on a chair, reading one of John Green’s books before. It was last summer when I stumbled upon Looking for Alaska. I’d never heard of John Green at that time, but loved his book. But I pushed back on reading The Fault in Our Stars. It’s not that I didn’t want to read his work, but John Green had already reached into my heart and tampered with my emotions until they bubbled up to the surface, demanding to be felt.* (TFIOS reference)

As the release date for the movie grew closer, my daughter started asking me when I was going to read. I continued to put it off, saying I’d get around to it. All the while, I was buying myself more time. And then she turned the tables on me. She wanted to go see the movie with ME and she wanted to talk about the book.

Alas, I couldn’t circumvent a rule we’d established. So this week, I read TFIOS and today, she and I are going to see the movie.

I’m not posting a book review because I would be one of thousands singing the praises of John Green, but I am glad that he’s writing books that my daughter wants to read. (and me too)

Do you like reading the book before you see the movie? Do you ever read a book after you’ve seen the movie?


15 thoughts on “When the Tables Turned

  1. Great rule! (Anybody now putting rules for children to transgress deserve a medal!) Now about books and movies, I seldom “do” both. Most movie adaptations of my favourite books, I find disappointing. (See García Marquez or Isabel Allende’s movie adaptations). And I rarely read the book after the movie. Now, with e-things everywhere, You can plug sound, music, and video into a book. Which you can’t on paper. Nice blog. I’ll come back. Have a great week-end.


    • Brian, I agree with you that watching the movie after reading the book leads to disappointment. (Lord of the Rings challenged that for me, however.)
      Which books by Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende would you recommend? Both seem to be amazing writers with many books to choose from.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.


      • Hi Elsie. García Marquez: 100 years of solitude, and Love in times of cholera are an absolute must. Isabel Allende: Many to choose from: La casa de los espiritus. Eva Luna, Of love and shadows (not quite sure what the english title is). She writes in a variety of styles and topics. She also has three books starting with “The city of the beasts”. Kinda “YA” (whatever that is) but very fresh. Barnes and Noble now! 🙂


  2. TFIOS is my next “to-read” book. In fact it’s mentioned in my scheduled post for next Monday!! That is a wise rule for your kids. I often forego the movies because I always read the books first and have been dismayed too many times that they don’t cast the characters appropriately. I can’t bear it when the movie role is nothing like what I’ve conjured in my mind. Or they leave out relevant plot.

    I hope you two enjoy the movie!


    • Sammy,
      I agree with you about having a certain image for the character and then being disappointed. And when they skip integral plot points, I start making a mental list.
      TFIOS was a rewarding read. I think John Green is extremely talented. Looking for Alaska, which I read last year, may still be my preferred story. I hope you enjoy TFIOS.
      Thanks so much for stopping by. We did enjoy the movie.
      (The continuous, soft echo of sniffles in the theater added to the experience :).


      • Thanks, Elsie. I plan to read his earlier books AND have kleenex handy for book & movie! It’s sweet that you and your daughter could share both.


  3. Call me starstruck, but I’m probably more likely to read a book when I learn it’s going to make its way to screen. The latest books that fit that category are The Martian (Andy Weir) and The Leftovers (Tom Perotta).

    The novel I was most excited to read—several years after seeing the movie—was Watership Down. For a cartoon about bunnies, that movie was intense!


    • James, I find it interesting that you are more likely to read a book after finding out it’s going to screen. Are you looking to compare the works or do you want to know all the details and smaller plots (which movies often are forced to leave out due to time?)

      I must confess I’ve never read Watership Down.:) But I have heard many people sing its praises. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by. Have a great one.


    • Patricia, I agree about knowing the story after seeing the movie. I’ve wished several times that I had read the book first before going to a movie, but have never read one after.( I felt that way about Les Mis. I would have preferred to read that one)
      Do you have a variety of books on your TBR list or they mainly in one genre?
      Hope you had a great weekend 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.


  4. I’ll never forget when I had a young friend nagging the life out of me to READ HARRY POTTER! YOU WILL LOVE THEM! Yeah. Yeah. And now… well. She was right!
    And now my kids will hand me books to read. *sigh*
    I do like to read the books before a see the movies, but sometimes it makes me avoid the movie, because I loved the book (The Golden Compass). I will search out books if I did like the movie.


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