Friday, December 5, 2014

If I Stay, by Gayle Forman: Book vs. Movie Adaptation

*Disclosure: I received If I Stay on Blu-ray combo pack plus a copy of the novel in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I read the novel If I Stay by Gayle Forman back in 2010 or '11, and recently picked it up again to reread. I also was able to see the film adaptation of the book back in August 2014, and I reviewed it over on my film blog.

I was glad I reread If I Stay recently, because I had completely forgotten there were so many differences between the movie and the book adaptations.

Here's a quick synopsis of the story:

Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

I gave the movie 3 out of 5 stars, but would like to watch it again to re-evaluate; sometimes my initial impressions aren't always correct, or my opinions can change upon a second viewing.

I had forgotten that the movie is very different from the novel upon which it's based, in this instance. Both the book and the movie show Mia's life in flashbacks (in the present, she's struggling for life in the ICU) but the movie is a little more choosy on what it shows from the book material. One great scene in the movie involved Mia playing cello, Adam (her boyfriend) playing guitar, and everyone jamming out at a BBQ at her house, and this is included in the book as well.

The book also gives a lot more backstory on Mia's best friend, Kim, and her feelings towards Adam; in the movie, we see how they initially meet, at their school (he's a rocker in a band, she's a cellist) and certain parts of their relationship, but not all of it.

In the novel, Mia finds out she got into Julliard before her car accident, also, and in the movie, I believe someone opens the letter for her (I think Adam does, but not 100% sure on that) and finds out that she was accepted, while she's still in a coma.

The novel also ends rather abruptly, although I'm not sure how else Forman would have lengthened the ending. Did you know there's a sequel, called Where She Went, that's from Adam's point-of-view? I read that as well, but back in July 2011 - I recommend that to fans of the movie or book, if you want to know more about Mia and Adam.

So should you read the book, or see the movie? I'd actually recommend both, as I really enjoyed the book - it's a fast read - and I overall liked the movie too. Because they are so different, the order in which you watch/read them doesn't particularly matter, either.


{To buy both If I Stay and Where She Went: click here}
{To buy the movie on Blu-ray combo pack: click here}


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