Confessions of a Literary Hipster

“I read that book way before it was a movie.” It’s a phrase I find myself saying more and more often; what with the imminent release of Anna Karenina and The Great Gatsby and such of the like. There is a certain frustration that some people will never understand.

1. The “Elitist” mentality

As a sophomore in high school I picked up Anna Karenina, the classic 600-paged tragic Russian novel. Needless to say by the end of it I felt extremely accomplished. As if I earned the right to know the plot of the story.  It’s not a feat accomplished by many.  This “elitist mentality” as my boyfriend calls it, reared it’s head when I was watching Nicholas Sparks’ The Last Song. I was quite unhappy to

Cover of "Anna Karenina (Oxford World's C...

Cover of Anna Karenina (Oxford World’s Classics)

discover that Miley Cyrus was cast as the main character. Cyrus did not fit Ronnie’s physique and personality in the slightest. Personally, I thought this was displayed best when Cyrus casually picks up Tolstoy’s classic and begins to read it on the beach. “In what world would that happen?” I thought to myself, “this girl tweets about her excrement for crying out loud!” Thus, the “elitist” mentality came out – I didn’t think Cyrus was good/smart/worthy enough to read the book like I did.

2. The Ruined Mental Imagery

This is probably the thing that bothers me the least, but as I read I know I have my set mental imagery. I, as well as pretty much all readers, have opinions about how everything and everyone should look and act. A movie is someone else’s interpretation. I don’t always agree with their interpretation.

Whenever I read a story and one of the female characters is described as a plain or just ugly woman, I always wonder about the actresses that get cast in these roles. Did they read the character description in the novel? Random thought, sorry.

3. The Sin of Hollywood Omission

Probably one of the scariest things about having a beloved book be brought to the silver screen is what could be left out of it. “What did they see as ‘unnecessary’?” In most cases, the scenes that are left out for the film’s sake are very small in the grand scheme of the entire plot. The only time I can remember being truly angry about that was when Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper came out as a movie. They changed the ending completely; I mean to the point where they killed off a completely different character at the end. That is just wrong.

With that said, I still don’t know if anyone really understands where I’m coming from. Looking over this I sound like a total snob, and trust me, that’s really not the case. There’s just something about reading a book, and then seeing it become a movie that some people will never understand.