If there is a movie coming out that is based on a book, I am a big proponent of reading the book first. It’s good to have a background, a familiarity with the source material. I do not, however, always believe that the book is better, simply because it came first. I like to think that I can take the book and the movie as two separate entities. Of course, for those books that I really love, it’s impossible to not be super judgmental of the movies. But the point is, I try to see them as two separate works of art. Every single person that picks up a book has their own view of how it looks and interprets it differently, including filmmakers.
Having said all that, I recently saw the trailer for the movie If I Stay. I had heard of this book vaguely when it came out when I was in college, but I never read it. The movie trailer seemed a bit melodramatic, but I figured I’d probably see the movie eventually, so I should read the book. So I did.
Please excuse me while I go bawl my eyes out.
This book is not that long, but I appreciate that. Being able to get a story across in full with a minimal amount of words is a skill I greatly admire in other writers. This book is also slightly predictable, but maybe that’s just because I already knew the basic plot from the movie trailer. But it’s still kind of a beautiful, albeit heartbreaking story: when you feel like you have nothing left to live for, would you choose to stay or go?
I’m not going to give too much away in terms of plot because it’s better for you to read it yourself. All I’ll say is, this book really surprised me, in a good way. And of course I then immediately had to read the sequel, Where She Went, which is very different in the way the story is told, but equally interesting, entertaining, and heartbreaking.
The movie comes out tomorrow. I probably won’t see it since I rarely actually go to movie theaters anymore. But once it’s on Netflix, I’ll be all over it.
The point of all this is to say, you should read this book if the movie appeals to you in any way. And if you are an adult, don’t be deterred by the “young adult” label. I firmly believe that a good book is a good book, no matter how old you are. And this was a surprisingly good book.