ever since the days of my little house on the prairie book collection, reading books has been my security blanket. in times of self-discovery, i read ayn rand. through personal turmoil, amy tan was my comfort. in carefree years, nick hornby made me laugh. then, one memoir after another speckled my own life's story as they shaped my perspective and sensitivity. from one flew over the cuckoo's nest to a 1000 splended suns, the countless hours i've spent engrossed in stories are priceless to me.
so when a book i love gets turned into a movie, there's a certain amount of topsy-turvy happiness inside me. usually, i first hear through someone else and then frantically try to find the trailer or google images to see how hollywood's vision of these beloved characters compares to my own. more often than not, it's not even close.
in tinsel town's defense, it's got to be challenging to take this intricate story laced with in-depth characters, conversations and plots and turn it into a two hour blurb. even with this in mind as i enter the theatre, i still usually walk out let down by the live action rendition of the written word.
very few movies from books have lived up to my expectations. but when they do, it is magical. laughing through high fidelity with john cusack, crying through the joy luck club (even though the book was still so much better), cringing during fight club, and smiling throughout pride and prejudice. never has one of my favorite books as a movie surpassed my love of the book itself. nor, do i expect it to.
i do want to leave the theatre entertained and ok with what they did to the story. deflated after memoirs of a geisha or eat pray love, for instance, is a very flat feeling. so when i saw the preview for water for elephants, i held my breath that it would serve the book justice.
with a backdrop of the circus, sideshow, menagerie and a colorful hodgepodge of characters, my fingers were crossed that it wouldn't disappoint. i worried about twilight's edward, as the main character, ruining the escape to imagination by clouding each scene with less than tasteful acting and i feared reese witherspoon's blinding blonde hair would ruin the image of the brunette marlena as in the book. as soon as the movie began however, those fears dissipated and i escaped into a tale so pleasingly told that i didn't even find myself criticizing all the differences from the book. i actually enjoyed the movie, bunches.