Books Are Much More Than Stories

Do you prefer a book or its adaptation on the big screen?

Guaranteed discussion that splits readers and movie goers.

Avid readers almost always favor the book to the movie.

I am one of them.

To the exception of a few books: Catch me if You Can – much more entertaining as a movie, in my opinion – or Argo – for the same reason, but Argo doesn’t count since I am a Ben Affleck die hard fan.

Seriously, most books are almost always much better than their screen version.

Even children’s books? Especially children’s books.

Although we do know who wrote Harry Potter, Twilight and the Hunger Games, mega literary successes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries turned into equally mega movie successes, we don’t often mention the authors’ names when we speak of these books and movies.

For Judy Blume and her books it is the other way around.

Hated by bigots and adored by everyone else, Judy Blume slashed the path to Laurie Hasle Anderson and her generation of fellow writers who chose to write about teens’ angst and issues related to adolescence.

Later, followed Sara Zarr, John Green, Jay Asher and many others.

But Judy Blume is undisputedly the writer who started it all. Her distinct voice when she wrote for teens was born with titles such as Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret or Blubber or Tiger Eyes.

In fact, Tiger Eyes, one of her best sellers, will hit the screens on June 7th.

Among Judy Blume’s fans I’m sure the news sparks the question: will the movie be as good as the book?

Tiger Eyes was very modern when it was published in 1981. In her inimitable voice, Judy Blume wrote about death, sex, love, racism, and what it means to be a teenager.

But 1981, to teenagers who are 16 or 17 in 2013, like my son and his friends, is vintage in the best-case scenario, and usually plain ancient and even prehistoric.

Will a movie, based on a book, set in the early 80s, have the potential to attract our kids – even Judy Blume’s fans – used to Harry Potter, Twilight and the Hunger Games, movies larger than life?

In all honesty, the kids are a pretext. The real reason, behind my mixed feelings when I read about Tiger Eyes turned into a movie, istigereyes selfish.

Some books and some writers, I think, remain more special than others, only because of who we were when we read them.

There are the books we read when we were very young and didn’t always understand. These books were better than parents and teachers. They let us err and fill in the blanks at our own pace.

Then there are the books we shared with best friends, first boyfriend or girlfriend, lovers, partners, husbands and wives. These books belong to our youth and their titles evocate in an instant these emotionally charged years.

And much later there are the books we read to our children and the books our children love so much that we need to read them as well.

All these books are much more than stories.

I want to remember them with the pictures they brought to my mind and the magical moments they accompanied.

I don’t know if I want to see how Davey/Tiger looks like or if I want to hear how Wolf talks.

So this is why, although I wish success to the movie, I’m not sure that I want to see Tiger Eyes other than through my imagination and my memory.

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