PARENTS: YOUR PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED!
Wait, no…not THAT prayer…but hear me out!
Is getting your kid to read an assigned book harder than trying NOT to dream about Edward Cullen every night? Well, HAVE WE GOT THE WEBSITE FOR YOU. It’s called “That was NOT in the Book,” and it’s a collection of book-to-film comparisons that highlight the discrepancies between the original text and the movie.
I mean, FINALLY, right? Little Bobby sure as hell isn’t listening to your lectures about the value of literature and, like, literacy. But maybe he’ll listen to the Internet! THE INTERNET KNOWS EVERYTHING!
Finally, I feel like someone out there is listening. (Or at least got bored of cataloging all the nude scenes in every film ever made.) As wise, experienced members of the human species, we parents know all too well that Hollywood has a bit of the Midas Touch when it comes to screen adaptations of beloved novels and books. Staying TRUE to the text is not as important as, say, making millions of dollars. Furthermore, directors are certainly not keeping in mind your teen’s 8th period English quiz on Wednesday.
Let’s take an easy example, since someone brought up Edward Cullen already. Ahem.
The good folks over at That Was NOT in the Book have created a side-by-side analysis that contrasts the whopping 76 differences between Eclipse, the book, and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the film. Now, this is a user-contributed site, so some of the listed items seem relatively specific and/or worthless to the storyline. But, isn’t this the EXACT type of information your wretched English teacher would love to quiz you on?!
(Full disclosure: I am an unemployed English teacher.)
(Also: I hated those motherloving quizzes and DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE COLOR OF PIGGY’S GLASSES, OMFG.)
So far, the only downside I’m seeing here (other than the fact that it’s a wiki) is that there isn’t a huge catalog of movies at this point. This means that the likelihood of your kid’s assigned reading material being listed is relatively low. (No Great Expectations, in other words, or even Beloved.) And even those that are present seem unfinished. Obviously there was a lot of interest in pointing out that Edward makes a joke about Jacob’s inability to wear a shirt in the movie, BUT THAT TOTALLY NEVER HAPPENED IN THE BOOK. This is why there are nearly 100 entries. But when it comes to comparing the classic One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? There are exactly four.
So, yeah, you get the picture.
But the existence of the site still gets me excited. It’s refreshing to think that kids might still be looking closely at the original text, even if it takes a movie to get that to happen. I dunno. As a parent, this digital age both excites and terrifies me. How do we keep this love for reading alive when the rest of the world seems hellbent on finding the fastest path to gratification? Obviously, the best methods are going to involve us embracing the new and tricking the kids into liking the old. Or something along those lines. And I can live with that. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with the digital era if it finds a place in which to shroud classic texts? Er, I mean…honor them?
(Need I remind you all of the death of Encyclopedia Britannica just the other day? WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!)