#bookquotes

#BQ Before I Fall by Casey Carlisle

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages, but the release of the film adaptation has given me the push to read the book.

This quote really jumped out at  me though. I love the twist of perception and tone of positivity.

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Film vs Novel – Fallen

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Where some angles fear to read.

I read the book over three years ago, and wasn’t overly impressed, but was interested to see if the movie could improve on my opinion.

On the surface, ‘Fallen’ is a thrilling story about forbidden love. And I enjoyed all the supernatural elements in the novel, though its execution was burdened with over-used tropes glutting the YA market. The movie did little to fix this, the characters still felt two dimensional, and it even managed to create a worse insta-love scenario between Luce and Daniel.

The whole age-old mythology of angels vs demons and reincarnation lost its edge.

The story itself is interesting, although nothing new or surprising, and if it hadn’t been such a lumbering read I would have rated it higher. You could predict the plot easily and I was a little disappointed how the climax (battle) of the book took place off screen. There were some unique devices within the novel, like the use of shadows to glimpse a window into the past, I really liked how this was done. But amnesia and flashbacks are two of my pet hates in a novel – they are cliché and overused.  The film watered down the story line so much – dropping out the roles of certain characters that teach and interact with Luce to the point that I just about wanted to puke. The reason/role the school of the Sword and Cross was also omitted. By the end of the film, I felt like I’d only gotten half of the story. The film failed to do a lot of the set up established in the novel, and did a gross disservice to ‘Fallen’ in my opinion.

The SPFX, especially that of angel wings, was pretty impressive though – it was my favourite aspect of the movie. ‘Fallen’ is aesthetically beautiful and melancholy. The visual tone is executed really well. But that old saying about polishing a turd…. with such a problematic story to begin with, there wasn’t a great deal you could do with it and remain true to the original novel. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded if it had a much darker, biblical tone, given the characters some depth and attitude that wasn’t steeped in an ancient battle of good and evil.

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Having said that, there were some scenes that felt like an ‘80’s music video : lighting effects, camera pulling in and out of focus, hair blowing in the wind… cue the ‘Heart’ soundtrack.

Luce, the main character, was too insipid for me in the novel. She reacted to the circumstances around her, and lacked strength. I can understand what Lauren Kate was trying to convey with this story, but neglected to give her main cast any sort of edge. Similarly Daniel and Cam, fighting for Luce’s affection, were equally two-dimensional. Both had strong chauvinistic attributes and I failed to connect with any of the characters or their love story. The film managed to give Luce an edge I was hoping for – I actually liked Addison Timlin’s portrayal of her. Daniel was played well by Jeremy Irvine (*swoons*), but I still found his character too aloof and brooding to care about. Cam felt much more dynamic on the screen (played by Harrison Gilbertson.) I had mixed feelings in the novel with him being painted as the tempting villain, but in the film, a layer of genuine concern of Luce’s well-bring shone through.

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Lauren’s writing is easy to read, and I enjoyed her style – she just kept losing me. I feel if you cut the book down to half its size to ensure the pace pulled you through the story, Luce would have been seen as a survivor rather than someone who simply endures. By the end of the novel I was more interested in the periphery characters: they had powers and attitude that stirred my curiosity. In the film I sat there blinking at the screen when the end credits rolled – I did not know what was going on with the periphery characters at all. And Penn – what happened there? Blink and you miss it, and none of the cast seemed concerned or affected by what went down.

Many of the reveals in the novel are slowly released, where in the film, much of it is dumped on the viewer in the first fifteen minutes and I was left wondering where the story had to go. If it weren’t for the digital effects I would have gotten really angry.

I do know the studio bought the film rights for all the books – and some sequels could help redeem this series, because this movie debut did feel like the first instalment of a series or a tv pilot… so there may be more to come.

Given the movie managed to interest and entice me much more than the books, it definitely surpasses the written version; though I felt it missed out on some important elements of interest from the books – and the pacing was a little off.

But if you love epic love stories, and angels, and don’t mind a passive protagonist then you will love this book or film. I had rated the book two stars on Goodreads, and in comparison, I’d rate the movie 2.5… an improvement, but still, no cigar!

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Film vs Novel – Nerve

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The novel ‘Nerve’ had the distinct tone of a toned-down horror movie – the film, however, was a completely different creature.

I found the book compelling. I giggled at some of the dares the Players of the app are put through, and my pulse raced in others. I also liked the interactivity of the Watchers. The concept of the game gave me that silly high you get when you do something stupid as a teenager. That thrill of breaking the rules and giving into abandonment. Some of the dares are lame, but it is to be expected for building tension. The film highlighted different motivations for the main characters – redemption, money, or breaking out of the box people keep labelling you with. I found the movie much more thrilling, and the complexity between the cast more interesting with tension and jealousy coming in to play. It also added an air of mystery around the origin and reason for the game, and the introduction of the Watchers (and Controllers). Where the book is fun and innocent, the film is intricate, daring, and foreboding.

nerve-film-vs-novel-pic-02-by-casey-carlisleOur protagonist Vee is a cute, bookish and unassuming girl – very much how I was in high school. She has a strong moral compass which is what kept me reading. She was crapping her pants, but stuck to her morals and always found a solution she could live with. She remained true to this impression in both the film and the novel. I loved Emma Roberts portrayal of her. She nailed the shy yet determined aspect of Vee to a tee. You could also see the uncertainty and excitement come through a lot more with Emma Roberts’ interpretation of Vee.

Ian, one of the men in Vee’s life, felt a little stereotypical, and a lot of eye-rolling went with his story, but by the end of the novel I actually thought he was pretty decent and genuine. The same goes for Sydney, Vee’s bestie for the experience I got reading the novel. In the film we get a more possessive Ian and a self-absorbed Sydney. I felt it added a better dynamic and allowed our protagonist Vee to shine. Praise goes to the screenwriters!

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Tommy, the love interest for the book … well I’ll let that one go. He’s a bit of a mixed bag and I think there is still more of his story to tell. This can be said for many of the cast as well. They all have their motivations for joining the game NERVE – to better their lives, to become famous, to have an adrenaline rush… but the snippets into their lives was truly interesting. Like peeking into the lives of strangers, grotesque and fascinating. The movie explored this much more deeply with the interpretation from actor Dave Franco. We get a horrific and tragic backstory for Tommy. Also there is a nefarious element to the game not present in the novel that I felt added something extra – leading up to a more satisfying climax.

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The ending for the book, though I loved the intelligence and strategy of it, did not have the thrill of the beginning dares. It devolved into a clichéd Mexican standoff. But I did like the twist ending. I love a bit of cheesy, in-your-face tone the leave the reader/viewer saying WTF? The movie, though still remaining true to the concept of the book, added a layer of social responsibility.

The pacing is top-notch, I found myself reading three-quarters of the book on one sitting, until my eyes started drooping. The storyline isn’t what is so attention grabbing, it’s more like the anticipation of what comes next… and that’s the whole book in a nutshell. It’s done really well for what it is. It reminds me of those campy cult classics people love, where substance is low, but it connects to something primal that we find impossibly entertaining. The movie did it all better, but the storyline felt flawed to start with, but the big screen version certainly redeemed ‘Nerve’ in my eyes. Still cliché, but entertaining.

The whole book was a wonderful satire on fame, and what it costs you. It was also a sanatised poke at all these ‘Saw’ movies… Surprising to find layers like this in ‘Nerve.’ I’m glad the film departed from this element, instead focusing on the core motivations as to why someone would choose to partake in the game, as either a Player or a Watcher.

Jeanne Ryan, had a wonderful writing style. I felt like I was thinking the words as I read them. No grand descriptions or lengthy inner monologues. It was simple and to the point – which is what you need to build tension and move the pace along. The treatment of the film was as equally thrilling, entertaining and funny, though I am confident in saying it pulled it off with greater finesse than the book.

I would have enjoyed the novel far more if we got to get to know the characters better (like the film), had dares with higher stakes (like the film), and more adrenaline inducing scenarios (like the… well you get the point). Additionally, a bigger conspiracy and a bigger peek behind the curtain – and that is in the film! It’s as if the screenwriters read my mind and added all the little things I felt were lacking from the book. Even though ‘Nerve’ is a standalone, it sets things up enough that it could be considered the start of a series. I liked the open-ended tone that both film and novel conclude on. Enjoyable, silly fun.

Book 3.5 stars, movie 4 stars

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Film vs Novel – The Girl With All The Gifts

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The novel by M. R. Carey got a lot of press on its release, surprisingly the film adaptation entered the market with a murmur. Which is surprising considering the big named actors in starring roles. I was wondering if the film wasn’t going to be all that good since the distributors hadn’t put a lot of funds behind promoting the movie. But it turned out to be more satisfying that I had expected.

The novel starts with Melanie’s point of view. A child in chains and strapped down, locked away in a high-security facility. We get more background and explanation of who Melanie is, and her scope of intelligence in the novel – some of it a little long winded – but both screen and written version project her innocence and curiosity while hinting at some dark danger hiding underneath. I will say that Melanie, and the other children like her, residing in the facility looked healthier than described in the novel. I didn’t get that cute-creepy-fragile-dangerous image from the actor (Sennia Nanua) portrayal of Melanie.

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We also get a large helping of scientific and biological background in the novel about the epidemic and about Melanie and her class through the narrative, where in the film we get small info-dumps along the way. I think I preferred the way the movie unveiled the plot, though I felt we needed more of an introduction to Melanie and her cognitive abilities. Who knows, maybe it was there and ended up on the cutting room floor during the editing process.

One major element that annoyed the heck out of me from the film: the music was distracting and off-putting. It didn’t add to the ambiance or add feeling and tension where it was meant to. In my opinion, Cristobal Tapia de Veer did a massive disservice to the film with her soundtrack.

Glen Close added dimension to the scientist (Dr. Caroline Caldwell,) subtle hues that made her character more realistic. I felt the written version of her was too single minded at times, dangerously coming near to reading like a caricature. Gemma Arterton captured Helen Justineau perfectly, her performance depicted everything I’d seen in my head when reading the novel.

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There was a certain ‘campness,’ like a B-grade horror film to the book at times, but thankfully I didn’t get any of that when watching the film. Though I will say the soldiers felt more like secondary characters in the film, where they provided over-stylized machismo in the novel that actually had me laughing.

The ‘Hungries’ seemed more zombie-like in the film because of the onmipresent viewer, where in the novel from Melanie’s POV I got more of a rabid dog/monster vibe. I would have liked to see the epidemic steered further away visually from zombies. It was getting there, but didn’t quite match what I thought was being described in the novel.

The film is definitely visually brutal. Maybe because of the changing POV’s and lengthy description in the novel, I didn’t get so much of the gore as I did from the film – the impact lessened by the amount of words in between key events. Additionally, I had a different vision in my head of the fungal ‘trees,’ nowhere near as megolithic as shown in the film. Maybe a little more like something you’d have seen on classic Star Trek episodes on some alien planet.

There were some small plot points in the film that had me going ‘huh?’ I had to flip through the book again to see if I was remembering them correctly… I won’t discuss them here though. I can see how they were included for the tone of the film and while they won’t spoil the ending, they would remove certain surprises. So I’ll say that the overall story of the film is similar to the novel, it just has a few tiny tweaks. And I put that down to M.R. Carey also having written the screenplay.

I liked the tone and perspective of the novel, and how it was based (mostly) in a youngsters mind analysing scientific data; but found the movie more entertaining (minus the weird soundtrack) and paced much better. There is definitely a stronger tie in to the Pandora metaphor in the film – but doesn’t have the speculative ending like in the novel.

On a side note, I’m glad they kept with the original name of the novel for the film adaptation, I know they were tossing around ‘She Who Brings Gifts’ for a while.

It’s a close battle to which I prefer, but I’d say the film only just scrapes in above the novel, based on more realistic depictions of the cast, pacing of the story, and the symbolism throughout – all keeping in the same tone for the film throughout. The novel, while wordy, suffered pacing in parts, and some of the scenes felt forced or unrealistic, though much more creepy than the film.

Go check out the film.

Go M.R. Carey!

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Film vs Novel – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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There was a lot of hype around the release of both the film and the novel – but did it live up to expectations? Was the extrapolation onto the big screen true to the narrative of the book? I have some mixed feelings, but both mediums were highly entertaining.

I found ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ a bit slow at the start of the novel. With two false starts, I ended up persevering over a Sunday before I got hooked. The setting was described brilliantly, I really felt like I was there. A back drop of WWII almost felt like an homage to the battle within Jacob’s conscious, as well as the challenges the “Peculiars” faced. The twist on the origins of the gifted, or those with abilities – known as peculiars, in addition to the introduction of time manipulation was brilliant. Completely sucked me in. The melancholy strong in the narrative of the novel was replaced with eerie sense in the film. The movie also instantly throws us into the action, little time was spent setting up Jacob’s circumstances and frame of mind.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Film vs Novel Pic 08 by Casey Carlisle.jpgTying in old photographs into the narrative brought a fresh aspect to the reading experience adding authenticity to the story. It’s great to find novels starting to break the mould when it comes to formatting and finding more interesting ways to present a story. They were equally represented in the film, though lost that air of creepy. I did like the colour grading of the movie though, a soft muting of colour and shift in hue gave the movie an old-time feel.

The writing style is mature for YA – there were a few words that I needed to look up in a dictionary – which I liked. I love learning new ways to express myself succinctly in print. The composition of Riggs sentences was almost lyrical at times, like an old fable. The dialogue of the Peculiar Children and Miss Peregrine matched the era they were living in, which added a layer of authenticity and fascination for me. Seeing this play out on the screen however, was sometimes a bit cheesy. Whether it was bad accents on the actors behalf, or their delivery of the lines, I found myself giving the side-eye at a few moments.

Thankfully, after a stumble through the beginning, the second half of the novel was incrementally more gripping. The movie, however, true to adaptations, was well paced and moved the story along quickly. I will say it took license to grandiose some of the scenes that had me wondering what the hell was going on – that wasn’t in the book!

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Film vs Novel Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.jpgOur protagonist Jacob is an intelligent young man grappling with his own demons, wondering if he is mentally ill. I love how he grows throughout the novel, in small graded steps – it felt very realistic that he goes through small changes instead of one giant leap. You get a real sense of wonder and fascination through his eyes as he slowly starts to prove or disprove the stories his Grandfather has been telling him all his life. In the film, played by Asa Butterfield, I felt captured the hopelessness and depression of Jake’s life brilliantly. Out of all the casting – Asa matched how I pictured Jake the most. The slow and gradual development of his character transformed into a bit of a rush on the screen. His relationship with Emma was tweaked a little and brushed dangerously close to instalove.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Film vs Novel Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle.jpgAs for the Peculiar Children, and Miss Peregrine… while I came to sort-of like them. There is still a lot of unknowns, and I’m sure we’ll get to know them more intimately in the following two books of the trilogy. Something about their behaviour was ‘off’ Even though they are likeable, until I hear some more backstory, or an origin story, I don’t think I’ll feel entirely comfortable with them. Miss Peregrine, played by Eva Green in the film did a commendable job. I’ve seen her in other works and have to say the acting, make-up, and wardrobe really let her shine.

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I also have to mention how sufficiently creeped out by the white eyed wight in the novel. *shiver* Though the film gave them (and the hollowgast) a more comical tone and I wasn’t frightened at all… and can I mention the CGI – umm, yeah not spooky or matching the tone of the novel at all. Leading up to their reveal I was anxious, but as soon as their wriggly form appeared, I just wanted to shrug. Though to be fair, it they had been made too scary, it would have pushed the rating into ‘MA’ territory and completely missed the demographic.

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Pretty much all the characters were all interesting (even if they weren’t peculiar) for the novel, because they all had mysterious motivations. I’m dying to find out more. This was a great first book for a series in setting the scene and intrigue. With the movie, it destroyed a lot of the mystique for me. Sometimes it was stereotypical, sometimes over the top. Some of the characters cast with actors I felt too old for the part and didn’t look as though they were born in the era they were supposed to (see the photographs in the novel). Though their performances were good, the production lost authenticity for me – much in the way the Twilight franchise had with over-made-up actors.

I noted how the special abilities the characters possessed hailed more from the day of travelling Side-Shows rather than psychic powers or X-men type abilities, which I felt add to the ambiance of the novel, tying into the old photographs and the WWII setting. These abilities were tweaked in the movie to either be more present in the storyline, or add cinematic special effects. So much so that at the end of the movie I’m concerned that I’ve been spoiled for books two and three in the trilogy. Yes – the ending of the movie is different to the novel. I’m uncertain if it is because the movie is a solo endeavour, or because of poetic license, but things went down that I definitely did not read about, (about the wights, the hollowgast and their motives, not to mention Emma’s ability) and hope it hasn’t ruined the rest of the novels in the series for me. So maybe it’s better if you read the entire trilogy before viewing the film… I’ll let you know after I read ‘Hollow City.’

I got many surprises from the plot. There was an obvious aspect around Jacobs fate, which is needed for this series to work, but the rest of the arcs had me guessing. Which I loved. There are still a lot of surprises in the film too – its divergence from the plot of the novel, the special effects, the costuming, some added scenes. It’s all very entertaining, but the overall plot, like the book, is predictable.

A highly entertaining novel and film, and something I’d easily recommend to all my friends, family, strangers on the street… Really excited to see where this series goes. But the book slides in just above the movie for my rating. The entertainment value and ability to set the tone for characters and keep the scare factor of the darker elements of the story are far superior in written word.

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Film vs Novel – ‘Cujo’

Will Kings’ story of a rabid Saint Bernard stand up on the big screen?

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Though ‘Cujo’ is not as spooky as many of Kings other titles, I did like the supernatural element and themes of dominance through violence. I’m not convinced that it translated to the movie as the interconnectedness was lost through omission of certain plot points. Where the book is slightly misogynistic, the film in its 80’s horror cinematic style fails to capture the soul of its written counterpart.

The novel took a long time to build up. However, the writing style helped keep it from getting boring. There was always a little snippet of life outside the main plot – given that not a lot actually happens in this book. I loved all the little details. Masterful storytelling. I was engrossed even though the pacing felt slow in the first half.

I also love the mix of the supernatural even though it was small, it added a layer of connectedness and contributed to tension making some scenes terrifying. With a variety of characters and points of view, both good and bad and all different shades in between, each important ingredients to a wonderful narrative. However, the movie failed to include the malevolent presence in Tad’s closet – it was reduced to Tad’s childhood fears. Where the novel used the closet monster as both a precognition of foreboding, and a supernatural presence that haunted the area; the movie just had a rabid dog.

 

Great complex characters, including Cujo the dog, whom left me with conflicting emotions. His story is so bittersweet. As a dog lover, I did find it difficult to see the corruption of such a beautiful and caring canine from something out of his control. Whether intentional or not, the symbolism of rabies, alcoholism, violence, and the evil entity infect and corrupt completely; and it takes sacrifice and a lot of guts and determination to battle such elusive foes. The dogs acting was pretty good for the film, although wagging his tail in some of the attacks gave away some of his menacing air (not to mention his hair goes from short to long and back to short again in some scenes.) The make-up was a little over done, both on Cujo and towards the end on Tad and his mother. Both humans being the star of the film (Danny Pintauro and Dee Wallace respectively) and victims trapped in a smouldering car as Cujo’s rabies forces him into insanity and violence.

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Tad’s screaming got on my nerves somewhat, I wanted to throttle him at one point, and ended turning the volume off to continue with the movie.

Steve Kemp’s (played by Christopher Stone) retaliation on Donna (Tad’s mom) in the movie for ending their affair, was made to look more like a violent break in and abduction rather than a sexual power display of vengeance and shame as it is described in the book.

One other thing of note about the film were the policemen. Those scenes were constructed terribly. And the work the Sheriff’s station partook looking into Kemp ridiculous. It had much more efficiency and a sense of urgency in the novel. On the screen everyone in a uniform seemed like some bumbling hick.

The novel has lots of gore towards the end, adding to the desperation and devastation it drove home the shock at the end – which I did not see coming. This conclusion is different for the film, I guess to appeal to cinema audiences (and King himself stated if there was one change he could make, this was it), and dramatic effect. Pretty cool but loses the tone and themes of the book.

There was one thing that was not tied up though, and even missed in the final comments for the written version, and I thought King dropped a prime opportunity to leave us with a shiver. It has been connected as a sequel to ‘The Dead Zone’ where the supernatural presence in Tad’s closet is a boogeyman incarnation of Frank Dodd. Both the novel and film failed to tie up this loose end, or leave us with an ominous scene that the presence is still out there.

All in all a turbulent horror story about the corruption of innocence and inevitability of evil (and man). It still stands as a tale today, but certain technology (like cell phones and better mechanics) may render the plot a little defunct.

Cujo‘ is the only book to date (apart from Kings detective novels) that hasn’t had me pulling my legs up off the floor for fear of something reaching out of the darkness to try and pull me under. And well, the movie, I was too astounded at the ‘80’s special effects, occasional overacting and cropped storyline to get any type of fear or anxiety built up.

I’d rate the novel one notch higher than the big screen version… go Kingy!

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Film vs Novel – The DUFF

Mean girls and pop culture clash with friendship and first love…

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This review and comparison comes as a massive surprise for me – mainly because I had such polar opposite emotions concerning each, and the outcome as these two duke it out have bucked the trend…

The novel was both fun and frustrating; where the film was hilarious, engaging and intelligently comedic without being offensive.

I liked the sarcasm and comedy in both mediums. As well as some of the issues it tackled – like slut shaming. And the ending for both was pretty cute too.

My frustration came because some of the characters were stereotypical in the novel, and a little swearing that felt like it was included on purpose to give the book an edge… And its approach to sex. We don’t get any of that in the film. I know many adaptations tend to sanitise aspect of the book for a ‘G’ rating and wider audience appeal, but this time it was a matter of social responsibility. Additionally, the book is very much ‘white-washed,’ where we get greater diversity in the film. *hoorah!*

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I didn’t really connect with the written version of Bianca at all – her casual approach to sex at such a young age. It was self-destructive (and yes, that’s the point) but I wouldn’t be comfortable letting my nieces and nephews read this book in their pre-teens unless I could engage them in an intelligent conversation over sexuality and intimacy. It pitched the characters into situations they weren’t emotionally prepared to handle. I’m not naive, I know this situation can be very real and happens in a real high school setting, but I felt as though there wasn’t a strong enough emphasis placed on the decision to engage in no strings sex with a random partner/s. It was fickle and frankly, distasteful. The movie kept the relationships (minus the sex) grounded in something tangible, which added depth and realism to the characters and story line. I appreciated and applaud the topics ‘The DUFF’ tackles.

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Bianca spent the entire novel kidding herself – it was so frustrating. I literally shook the book at one point trying to get her to wake up and stop acting like a flake. Which is great that it is so engaging, but all for the wrong reasons. When I got to see her played by one of my favourite actresses on screen, Mae Whitman, I was elated. She was genuine, approachable and socially inept in a geeky-girl sort of way, more reflecting the age when girls grow up and become aware of the social mechanics of the sexes; as opposed to an ugly duckling story.

Wesley was just as bad with his attitude from the book. Seriously, if this is the calibre of teens and role models, I really worry about society. Couldn’t Keplinger have rounded them out with some redeeming features at the start of the book to stop me feeling like I was hanging out with a pair of lame-assess? Thank goodness the screen version, played by Robbie Amell added some boy-next-door qualities, making him likable and a more grounded human being.

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I did not appreciate the parental story arc in the novel – it lacked something organic to make it feel believable (for both of the main cast) and the plot twist, though I can appreciate the drama of it all, was not written all that well in the aftermath. The films twist on parental roles only enhanced the tone of the story, and added a much more poignant message to tug at your heart strings.

Keplinger’s writing style is pretty easy, but a little flat. For a teen narrative, and an ironic one at that, I was expecting much more humour, one liners and brilliantly timed coincidence… but there was none of that. We get it in spades with the film. The plot, though interesting and engaging meandered a bit and left the climax with a soft punch instead of some big dramatic event we have come to love in YA. Again, the film resurrected the tone and climax in true (if somewhat spoony) style.

I have already purchased the sequel to the novel ‘Lying Out Loud,’ and hope this will redeem Keplinger for me, otherwise, if I get another lack-lustre impression, I will abandon any interest in any of her titles for the foreseeable future.

The movie adaptation was sooo much more sophisticated, had better comedic timing and pop culture references, and dealt with the DUFF phenomenon in a much better (socially responsible) fashion. I don’t think I want to recommend this book to my friends, unless you’re a big book nerd and curious to see the origins of the screenplay to the Hollywood blockbuster. But a big nod to the movie. It’s everything a fun teenage comedy should be. Film for the win!

the-duff-filmvsnovel-pic-04-by-casey-carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

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