The Giver books

Fun Friday: When our Favorite Books are Turned Into Movies

Fans of Lois Lowry’s 1993 young adult novel, The Giver, no longer have to wait for the much-anticipated film adaptation as the film premiered at midnight nationwide. The Internet has been buzzing for months about the differences between the book and the movie from the trailers that were released and interviews with Lois Lowry and others involved in the movie. (For those of you who need a plot-refresher, The Giver takes place in a utopian society in which pain and suffering have been eliminated from daily life. The story revolves around a boy named Jonas who learns and struggles with the dark secrets of his society’s past as he inherits the position of the Receiver of Memory). As much as we would like the movie versions of our favorite books to be exactly the same, they rarely are. This Fun Friday, let’s look at other book-to-movie adaptations that have notable differences from their book counterparts.


WARNING: Spoilers Ahead


My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Any fan of Jodi Picoult knows two things are necessary when reading her books: having a box of tissues within arm’s reach and to be ready for an unpredictable plot twist. Her 2004 novel My Sister’s Keeper is no exception to either of these rules, but the movie goes against the second point. The differences between the book and movie for most of the major plot points are small, but I don’t know any fan of the book who was pleased with the majorly changed ending of the movie. Anna’s death in a car accident and subsequent life-saving kidney donation to her sick sister Kate packs an emotional and thought-provoking punch to any reader. While having Kate die from Leukemia at the end of the movie instead of Anna is unbelievably sad, it’s predictable – and it pushes the carefully crafted ethical and moral dilemmas the book presents aside.


The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

We could dedicate an entire blog to the differences between the Harry Potter book series and movie series, so we are only going to focus on one difference: the omission of Peeves the Poltergeist from the movies. Although a minor character, he provided bits of comic relief that probably would have worked well in the movies as the plot lines got darker. Although his favorite activity was playing pranks those who walked the halls of Hogwarts, he proved himself useful In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by driving Dolores Umbridge crazy at the request of Fred and George Wesley. He also fought off Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. What’s strange about this characters omission was that the late British comedian Rik Mayall was cast for the part and filmed scenes for the first movie, but the role was later cut. With so much happening in these books, including everything in the movies would be impossible (or else they would probably be on the 12 installment of the franchise by now). Although, I know very few people who would be complaining about that.


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

I’m a big advocate of reading the book before the movie, but this is one of the few cases where I saw the movie first. So, when I decided to read the first of the Oz series (there are 14 books total!), I was surprised to find out that in the books, Oz was a real place. In the movie, the Land of Oz and everything that happens there is nothing but a dream to Dorothy. The book is often considered to be an American fairytale, and since fairytales aren’t real, having the movie be a dream is somewhat fitting. Although both end with Dorothy and Toto back in Kansas, I always felt that the change in the state of reality from the book to the movie shifts the tone of the overall story, as if the events in the book took on a greater sense of urgency than in the movie. Here’s one other fun fact about the differences between The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book and The Wizard of Oz movie: the famous ruby slippers did not exist in the book! In the book, they were silver slippers. So, why did the movie makers decided to change the color? Because red looked better in the new Technicolor technology than silver.

Cover Photo Source: Helga Esteb /

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Jenny is a Junior Executive at SJG. She earned her BA in Psychology and a minor in Educational Studies in 2014 from Colgate University. Outside the office, Jenny loves to travel (usually to Disney World), bake and watch copious amounts of TLC.[/author_info] [/author]