This summer has, by and large, been a challenge. We've had pet issues, we've had central air installed for the first time in over a decade (I've been without central air since I left the US in 2004!!), we've had funerals, and birthdays, and travel, and immigration issues, and cleaning, and broken ereaders and a Harry Potter class for the munchkin that has had us spinning... It's been really hard to come up with literally *anything* to fangirl over. I want to fangirl over things like sleep. My own bed. An hour of quiet time in the afternoons. All things that are *ludicrously* lame to fangirl over!
Then, last night, it hit me. It's not the most fangirly of my fangirly things, but you know what? It's something I really appreciate. Even when it's spectacularly crappy. Book-to-movie adaptations.
I've made no particular secret of the fact that we're homeschoolers. Part of homeschooling, though, is getting the little ones to actually read. And want to read. And enjoy it when they do. I'd be lying if I didn't say this was a pretty decently sized chunk of why I love book-to-movies. It's just fun. The kids are more often willing to sit and watch a movie, even when they're not willing to sit and read the same book. But then it sparks. There's more? Not just what we saw on the screen? And suddenly, a reader is born. And if it doesn't take off on just one, there's another to try.
Bridge to Terabithia
How To Train Your Dragon
Mister Popper's Penguins
Magic School Bus
Alice in Wonderland
Not to mention all the adult-level books that will do the same for folks who make it to adulthood without being readers.
But, for the adults? There's something there, too. I'm learning I'm really a very unusual person when I read. I don't "see" people, places, anything. I hear them. I hear the people talking, the background noise of the street, the hush of a waiting crowd, the silence of a hotel at three in the morning. But, I never really see things - unless there are illustrations, of course. But movies? Movies give my imagination a place to start. Suddenly, I can not only hear Hogwarts Castle, I can see it. Once I have a place to start, I'm able to take off from there, but without that place to start, I often find that I can't imagine - not for lack of ability, but because I don't want to be wrong. Yes, I know. But it's still the case.
If I'm being really, truly, very honest about it, book-to-movie adaptations also make a number of older stories accessible. The Scarlet Letter. Jane Austen. Shakespeare. As the English language evolves, sometimes the past can be lost to the future - I know that if I'm reading, there is very little I want to do less than have to translate versions of English in my head while also fighting with the nasty little habit the letters in those words have of bouncing around from place to place. Turns out, watching the movies of these types of books makes this a significantly easier endeavor - not only do I have a frame of reference to imagine from, but I can hear the dialect, understand the words better, and have a vague idea of where the plot is supposed to go. It's so much easier to decipher a language when you have some idea of what is meant to be written than when you're going in blind!
Yes. I know, adaptations often suck, and they're nowhere near as good as the book they came from, and they're often horrifying, particularly One Specific Television Series That Killed Off Everything Good In A Book Series, but sometimes... Well, it turns out that they can do good more often than they do horrifying ill.