Road Trip Wednesday: Don’t Read The Book

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question.This Week’s Topic: What movie have you seen that actually (gasp) improved on the book?


I couldn’t narrow it down to just one so here’s my top five:

1. The Devil Wears Prada

The book left me kind of flat but the story really came alive on the screen, mostly due to Meryl Streep’s Ice Queen on Steroids portrayal of fashion mag mogul Amanda Priestley.

2.The Lord of The Rings

I know in some circles this is considered literary blasphemy but I was often bored and flat-out confused by this book. When I need secondary research materials (scorecard, family tree, topographical map) to keep everything straight, the story is perilously close to being Complicated for Complicated’s Sake. The movie definitely catered to my visual learning style.

3. The Bourne Ultimatum

I confess that I have never been able to finish a Robert Ludlum novel. For some reason, I love thrillers more as motion pictures than books. Of all the “Bourne” tales, I got the furthest on this one but the story didn’t crackle to life until I saw this movie.

4. The Princess Bride

I found William Goldman’s approach interesting (for example, interrupting the narration to tell readers how the story’s affecting his family) but the movie is emotional, hilarious and one of the most quote-worthy films I’ve ever seen.

5. Jaws

The movie whittled Peter Benchley’s book down to its most essential elements: shark, shark and more shark.

12 thoughts on “Road Trip Wednesday: Don’t Read The Book”

  1. I’ve seen several bloggers nominate LOTR, so I don’t think it’s blasphemous to say. Peter jackson did a fantastic job keeping the spirit of LOTR while losing all of the really boring parts 🙂

    I totally second you on ‘The Princess Bride’! The movie is one of my faves (who could ever forget Westley facing off with Vizzini?) but the book was decidedly ‘meh’.


    1. LOTR is such a popular book and definitely World Building 101, but there was so much to slog through and I got completely lost. The movies actually gave me a much deeper appreciation for the story’s complexities without a headache. 🙂


  2. Lord of the Rings and Devil Wears Prada seem to be popular choices. I adore the movie version of Princess Bride and I’ve been meaning to read the book for a long time. I have to admit that I didn’t actually know that Jaws and The Bourne Ultimatum were books…


  3. Totally agree with you about The Devil Wears Prada and The Lord of the Rings. Great books, but better movies. The Princess Bride is another superb movie, but I’ve yet to read the book. I think with a lot of these, the books are actually very good. After all, a good director has to have something of quality to work with if s/he’s going to make a great film. But in these cases, the movie managed to do something better with the story. In the case of TDWP, it was to make Andrea a more likeable protagonist, and Miranda more ruthless, but in a strangely appealing way. I think the movie also brings more focus and cohesion to the story. With LotR, it was condensing Tolkien’s long descriptions into amazing camerawork. Good choices! 🙂


    1. You’re right, I didn’t really care much for Andrea in the book and I thought she nailed Amanda’s ruthlessness but that glimmer of vulnerability wasn’t apparent until I saw the movie. My post title is a bit tongue-in-cheek, with the exception of the Robert Ludlum, I actually enjoyed the books but not as much as the movies. 🙂


  4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s next is so much better as a movie than a book. There’s fantastic ambiguity at the end of the movie that’s missing in the written version – everything’s spelled out there and just isn’t as interesting a way to wrap up the story.


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