In the past few weeks, our english classes consisted of reading a book we have chosen for ourselves, in my case it was “About a boy”. I have already written two blogposts about it which I recommend reading first here: “My first impression” and “My reading of About a boy”. We have also seen the adaptation of the book with the same title. This time I would like to compare the paperback and film and hopefully find some differences and similarities between them.
I have to mention first, that before reading the book in class, I have already seen the film two times before that, so I was quite familiar with the characters and plot. Nevertheless, I was still expecting something interesting and unpredictable to happen in the book, as very rarely are films exactly the same as the novel. It wasn’t any different this time.
Both the book and film begin identically, and the plot throughout is exactly the same. However, there are a few events which made them different. First of all, in the book there is a scene where Marcus is in a shop and his bullies want to make it look like he stole something, but the owner sees what they’re up to. This is another situation showing how the boy struggles with bullying at school and event outside of it. This situation was never mentioned in the book.
Another thing, is the relationship between Ellie and Marcus. Ellie’s role in the film is much less meaningful, unlike the book, where the whole ending is totally different because of her behavior and ideas. In the book, Marcus thinks quite a lot about the girl and there are many more situations in which she is involved. In the film however, Ellie occurs in the second half of it and is featured all the way to the last scene.
Quite a big role in the book has the band “Nirvana” and their lead singer Kurt Cobain, while in the film they aren’t mentioned at all. While there is just a small talk about Marcus starting to like rap music in the film, meanwhile music is a huge part of the book and has an important meaning. Music is the reason Ellie gets into trouble on the way to Cambridge, and this leads to the following events.
The difference of the ending is actually the biggest and most important one. Here we can also see how Marcus’ father is portrayed- his role in Marcus’ life is much bigger in the book than in the film, where he is mentioned very rarely and we see him only once or twice. The way the book ends, is that Marcus is on the way to Cambridge with Ellie to visit his father, but they get off the train halfway there. Ellie is in a bad state because of the death of her idol Kurt Cobain, and has decided to get drunk, which doesn’t end well either for her or Marcus. She misunderstands a display in a shop and chooses to break the glass, which ends her up on the police station together with Marcus. From what we see, the book doesn’t end in a much of a happy way, but both the kids learn quite a lot from the experience. The film however doesn’t show any of these events, and ends by Marcus singing “Killing me softly” on a school performance.
If I would have to choose between the book and the film, I would without doubt pick the book. In my opinion, everything was much more detailed, explained and the whole plot was presented in a much more serious way. The film however was very light and fun to see, so it is a bit shortened and less detailed alternative of the book.
In conclusion, I was very satisfied by both the stories, and I highly recommend to read and see them.