“Eh, the book was better.”
Said anyone who ever read a book before watching a movie or TV adaptation of said book.
“The Leftovers,” the HBO series starring Justin Theroux and Liv Tyler, met “The Leftovers,” the literary novel with genre pretensions by Tom Perrotta at the end of June and … the streak remains unbroken.
Now, fact is it’s virtually impossible for the book to not be better. (Worthy companion books written to tie in with a screenplay are another story, another column.) Novels just have the time and the space and the leeway to occupy readers’ imaginations. We get to make a movie in our head from the book, and anything that deviates from that is going to get judged.
But most of the time if we read a book there’s a span of months, if not years, before the TV or movie version gets made. That movie we made in our heads settles, dissipates. It’s easy to look at “Game of Thrones” if you’re years away from the first reading of that book; not that it’s stopped purists from noting the significant changes between the books and the show. It’s less easy to ignore the differences, though, if you’re fresh from reading the book and diving into the series.