I’ve waited a long time for this day. The Hunger Games is finally in theaters. The women in my book club and our husbands have had our tickets for days, and tonight we’ll see the movie. My granddaughter read The Hunger Games for her high school English class. So my daughter read it too, then eagerly brought it to our book club. Honestly, I didn’t expect to like it, but it drew me in from the very beginning, and I loved it! So did every woman in our club. We span in age from early 30s to 70s, but we were in complete agreement on this one. So much so that we read the other two books in the trilogy. I’m on my third reading of the series—something I seldom do. Once we learned the book was being made into a movie, which of course was a no-brainer, there were times we’d spend our book club meetings casting the movie. Our personal favorite was Robert Downey, Jr. as Haymitch, but somehow, the producer didn’t get the memo. We’ll see how Woody Harrelson does. Judging by looks, Jennifer Lawrence will make a perfect Katniss. I love that Suzanne Collins, the author, has had such major input into the casting and making of the movie. My number one hope is that it stays true to the novel. With her influence I’m sure it will.
The first time I read To Kill a Mockingbird, it was 1969, and I was a junior in high school. As I read that amazing novel, so rich in character development, I remember thinking, “If they ever make this into a movie, Gregory Peck has to play Atticus Finch.” It’s as if the character was written with Peck as the model. Imagine my surprise to learn that a movie had already been made . . . starring Gregory Peck. The movie was very true to the book, which is as it should be. Other movies that have stayed true to the books they were made from are the phenomenal Lord of the Rings trilogy, the classic Lonesome Dove miniseries, and most recently, Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.
Often, reading a book will entice me to see the movie, but there have been instances where the movie has enticed me to read the book. One True Thing by Anna Quindlen, is one example. I love the movie—starring the quintessential Meryl Streep, how could I not? So I went in search of the novel. The same was true of Fried Green Tomatoes, one of my all-time favorites; as well as The Godfather by Mario Puzo, way back when . . . Saw the movie, had to read the book.
When it comes to books and movies I’m really bugged when screen adaptors mess with the ending of the book they’re adapting their movie from. To me it’s a form of perversion. If they want a different story, let them write it, but leave the author’s intent intact. Just my personal opinion.
Is there a movie that sent you in search of a novel? Have you been disappointed with a movie that didn’t stay true to the book? Any Hunger Games fans out there??
Sharon K. Souza is the author of Lying on Sunday and Every Good and Perfect Gift. Look for her newest release, Unraveled, coming in April. Visit her website for more information www.sharonksouza.com