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A bookshelf with books and a camera. The bottoms of the books are melting off the shelf.
All Arts & Culture The Print Issue

The book did it better

Words by Lynette George

Visuals by Brithi Sehra and Jerry Zhang

Dear film industry, 

Books have been everything to me since I was a little girl. I am a product of all the words I’ve read over the years and all the worlds I’ve envisioned while reading them. I was the kid on the school bus who scared the living daylights out of everyone by randomly gasping aloud at unexpected plot twists. Do you remember the kid in your gym class who always had a book in their hand for some reason? Yes, that was also me. Being an international student in Canada may be difficult, but leaving all my books behind might’ve been the hardest part. You get the point—I love books. 

In particular, I loved the Percy Jackson & the Olympians books as if they were my children. That was the first series that got me hooked on fiction.  So, I can recall my naive excitement when I heard about the movies. Of course, that excitement was short-lived once the life-altering sense of disappointment set into my bones right after I watched them. That’s what I deserve for having expectations from two nauseating films meant to encapsulate five books’ worth of plots and storylines. 

I think it’s understandable when I say that if I need to watch another mediocre movie adaptation of a phenomenal book, I might combust into a ball of pure, unfiltered rage. Oh, wait—I already did. 

A quick question for that first set of Percy Jackson movies, the Shadow and Bone show and anything remotely connected to the Divergent series: Why do you exist? I understand contractual limitations, financial difficulties and economic priorities taking precedence, but, truly: Why did you waste my time? 

I didn’t know I was getting a one-way ticket to ‘Plot Hole Central’ when I started watching the Divergent films almost a decade ago, and yet that is where I ended up. So, film industry, if you’re planning on rewriting the whole plot of the book anyway, I would recommend calling it something else. Dangling that carrot of false hope is a desperate cash grab at best. Be better.

Additionally, combining two totally separate series by the same author into one big blurry mess, makes it exactly that—a big blurry mess. Are you wondering why characters from the Six of Crows duology ended up in Netflix’s adaptation of Shadow and Bone, even though the Shadow and Bone trilogy is an independent series? Well, I’ve yelled that question into the ether multiple times myself. All I heard back was resounding silence. Honestly, same. 

Film industry, all of this just begs the question—did you even read the book? Did you sit under a cozy blanket on a cold, rainy night and take the time to do what I did? Did you see the light, hope and joy that I saw on those pages, or did you get transported to the grey world you brought to my screen? I’m watching what you made and I feel like you didn’t, because what else could justify this disrespectful corruption of plotlines? 

I ask you one thing: Please stop. You aren’t very good at translating the beauty of novels onto our screens, so maybe—and hear me out here—don’t. I understand that your mouth starts salivating at the thought of how fiscally rewarding turning books into films can be. I get that all you see when you enter a library are mines, filled with shiny, juicy diamonds shaped like novels, waiting for you to grab onto. But please, keep your grubby hands off of good books.

Nothing makes for better reviews than an audience with zero expectations, so write your own stories. All you’re doing by ruining our favourite books is volunteering yourself as tribute to get ripped to shreds by stans on the internet. 

Spare us. Save yourself. Leave the books. 


A Bookworm

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