Books put to the screen test

By 4th March 2014 Blog

silver-liningsI was recently on holiday in Lanzarote. Have I mentioned that already? Sorry, but it was a wonderful break. One of the books I read while sitting by the pool sipping a beer was The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. I’d watched the film last year and thought it was superb – Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for her performance while Bradley Cooper was nominated.

The book, I’m happy to report, is excellent too, and while the big screen adaptation does make some changes to aspects of the story, it has remained quite faithful to the source material.

I don’t know if Matthew Quick was happy or not with the film. I’d like to think that he doesn’t actually care, having pocketed cash for the film rights and undoubtedly seen an increase in sales on the back of the film. The fact that the adaptation is a very good one is just an added bonus. I have occasionally read articles about what is better – the book or the film? There is no debate, since every sane and sensible person knows that the book is always better, even when it’s not, just because it’s a book.

I can’t actually think of any occasion where I’ve preferred the film version of the story to the written one, although Field of Dreams, which is the film version of WP Kinsella’s wonderful novel, Shoeless Joe, comes pretty close.

In the past I’ve worried whenever a favourite book has been made into a film, but I’ve come to accept that they are two separate entities, and it’s near enough impossible for a film to stick rigidly to everything contained within a book.

And here’s the dilemma for a writer. If I’m lucky enough to get a call from Hollywood offering me suitcases full of cash for the rights to any of my novels, should I insist on a faithful adaptation to maintain my artistic integrity, or should I just take the money? Those of you who know me will already know the answer to that one…

My new book, Read All About It: My Year Of Falling In Love With Literature, is out now. It’s extremely unlikely to be turned into a film now or in the future.



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