You’ve Seen the Movie…Now Read the Book!

I enjoy watching, in particular, two movies that are based on novels.  I’m sure you’ve seen these movies.  They are not only popular family movies, but they are also very well done.  If you’ve seen the movie, why not read the book?

The first is ubiquitous this time of year: A Christmas Story.  If I do not watch all 24 hours of this on TNT, I don’t feel like it’s the holidays.  Actually, this has become my all-time favorite Christmas movie, even out-ranking Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful LifeA Christmas Story is now a new classic, and people of all generations love it.  And why not?  It’s got nostalgia, it’s funny, it’s got a grumpy father, it’s got the sweetest of mothers, it’s got the most annoying of kid brothers, and it’s got bullies.

A Christmas Story was first released in 1983.  The movie is based on Jean Shepherd’s collections of essays In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters.  However, you can read just the essays that comprise the film in the book A Christmas Story by Shepherd.  It contains Ralphie Parker’s Christmas quest for the Red Ryder BB gun in all its glory.  There are only slight differences.  For example, the local bully was named Scut Farkas in the movie; in the book, his name is Grover Dill.  One of the essays was reworked for the film.  The scene where the Bumpus hounds come bounding into the Parker house and steal the Christmas turkey was not what Shepherd had in mind.  In the book, the dogs stole a ham and the incident occurred during Easter.  I, for one, am happy that scene was altered in the film, as it makes for a hilarious ending.

Recently, I’ve added Christmas with the Kranks to my favorite holiday movie list.  Christmas with the Kranks is based on the novel Skipping Christmasby John Grisham, which was a big but welcome departure for him.   Grisham’s novel and the movie version are only slightly different.  For instance, in the book, Blair’s fiance, Enrique, has never been to the United States before and did not go to college with her.  I love that, at 177 pages, it can be read in one sitting.  I would actually recommend that you read it that way.  It’s hilarious and heartwarming, as the Kranks learn what the holidays are truly about: family, friends, and togetherness.

I know you’ve watched both of these movies with your family and/or friends.  Now I want you to read the book.  You’ll love them both!

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

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