Dear Reader, please tell me that you have either read the novel or seen the film adaptation. (Pardon my Bronte when this is an Austen post.) The two do not match up well at times (they have very similar dialogue, but circumstances and the ending are completely different), which actually makes it so much more interesting because you can enjoy both as – almost – two different stories.
I’ve seen the movie 12+ times since I bought it last year on a whim. I’ve reread the book three times (though I guess it should be two and a half since the second time through, I skipped over the boring parts that I didn’t care for during the first read).
During a sleepover with one of my friends (because even college students are not too old for slumber parties), I made her watch “Austenland” with me since she hadn’t seen it before. We laughed. We commented. I’m fairly certain that she loved it. After that, I explained the differences between the book and the movie and why (Lord forgive me for this) I actually prefer the movie. Horrible, I know! I feel like a terrible literature loving just for having said those blasphemous words, but I stand by my opinion. The ending was better in an entirely different way. Maybe it’s because I saw the movie before I knew it was a book, so I was expecting something different when I was reading and it just didn’t happen. Anyway, I love the movie and decided that I should reread the book again.
After my friend went home, I started and finished the book and had a more positive reaction to it than I had had in my past encounters. It was weird, but I felt that something clicked this time that hadn’t before. I loved the ending (even though it’s different from the movie’s ending, which I love so much because JJ Feild! come on). I hadn’t loved the ending the past two times, but I did this time around.
While reading, I’d tried to form my own images of the characters instead of squeezing the actors into Shannon Hale’s words when they clearly didn’t fit. I felt that it was completely different because they were all new people (besides JJ Feild and Keri Russell who I kept as the stars throughout my reading because they’re simply too perfect). Martin became taller and more capable; Captain East became a British Clark Kent; Miss Charming became a little less crazy-but-still-sweet; the Colonel was much more handsome and far less “flaming;” Amelia was older; even, I admit, JJ Feild’s sparkling blue eyes turned dark to become more Darcy-esque.
It changed the experience, and I am quite happy for it! I left out any spoilers from this post on purpose. I implore you, please, go out and buy the book and movie and enjoy both. They’re too good not to!