The Novel or the Movie?

by Evelyn Cullet

I recently read an article in the book section of our newspaper that really disturbed me. It stated that "if you haven't read the book, you shouldn't worry, because a flurry of movies pegged to best-selling novels will be in theaters soon." These are considered to be primers for those who've never quite made it through the "real deal".

That statement tells potential readers that they don't have to read the book. I think that's sad, because I personally love to read the novels behind the movies, both contemporary and vintage. But whenever I see a movie taken from a novel, most of the time I'm disappointed by the changes in the story lines, and in the character's appearances either as I've imagined them, or how they were described in the novel. And no matter how good the actors are, or the directors is, there is no possible way the camera can capture the emotions I feel when I'm reading the author's original words in print. There's so much that's missing in the movie version.

IMHO, the difference between seeing the movie and reading the novel, is like having someone describe how it feels to fall in love vs. falling in love yourself. I hope I'm not the only reader who feels this way.

Bio: Evelyn Cullet has been an aspiring author since high school when she enjoyed writing short stories. She began her first novel while attending college later in life, and while working in the offices of a major soft drink company. Now, after early retirement, she finally has the chance to do what she loves best; write full time. While She enjoys playing the piano, is an amateur Lapidary, and an organic gardener, writing has always been her passion. She is a former member of the Agatha Christie Society and is currently a member of Sisters in Crime. Evelyn and her husband live in a suburb of Chicago.

Love, Lies and Murder

In this prequel to Masterpiece of Murder, Charlotte Ross sees her world about to crumble when the man she’s in love with–her mysterious boss, John Trent, announces his engagement to someone else.

Charlotte’s best friend, dubious globe-trotter and mystery author Jane Marshall, arrives back in town only to stumble across the gruesome body of the town’s millionaire industrialist.

 Jane becomes too wrapped up hunting for the murderer to help Charlotte in her embarrassing attempts to stop her ex-lover’s wedding. Charlotte decides to join forces with her friend, hoping to ease her heartbreak while helping to find the old man’s killer. In the process, the two self-appointed sleuths turn their small town upside down as their snooping leads them to discover that people are not always who they seem–and a single error in judgment can prove fatal.


Here is an excerpt from Love, Lies and Murder. 

Five o’clock couldn’t come soon enough for Charlotte. At a quarter before the hour, she turned off her computer in anticipation of leaving a few minutes early. Calling in sick the next day had seriously crossed her mind, but she didn’t want to give John the satisfaction of thinking he’d caused her to show any kind of weakness.
At the stroke of five, the front door was nearly within Charlotte’s reach when Ruth walked up to her. She grabbed her arm and whispered in her ear. “I have to talk to you, but not in front of them.” Ruth pointed to a group of co-workers preparing to leave the building. “Come back into the hall with me.”
As she followed Ruth into the hall that separated the lunch room from the front office, Charlotte was convinced Ruth was going to let her have it for what she’d said earlier, so she braced herself for the worst.
But instead, Ruth seemed edgy. She ran trembling fingers through her short, dark hair and fumbled to pull a slim cigarette from her handbag. “If I don’t find out where Jim is, I think I’ll lose my mind.” She paced the hall in front of Charlotte. “He’s been leaving me threatening messages, telling me to keep my mouth shut, or he says I’ll end up like Alyssa.” She produced a folded paper and handed it to Charlotte. “Look at this.”
Charlotte opened the folded paper and read the typed message out aloud.
“Don’t talk to the authorities or you’ll be in the morgue.”
Ruth snatched the paper from Charlotte’s hand and shoved it in her purse. She took a long drag from the unlit cigarette. “He must have gone into his office right after I left for lunch today. Probably searching for something he left behind. I’m sure of it.”
Charlotte focused on Ruth’s shaking hand as she rolled the unlit cigarette between her fingers. Something seemed off about all of this. “If he was here, I would have seen him come in and leave.”
Ruth waved the unlit cigarette in the direction of Longbourne’s office. “He’s got a secret entrance. He uses it when he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s here.”
“What was he looking for?”
“Anything that might incriminate him,” Ruth said. “I noticed the cache of money he always keeps locked in his desk drawer is gone. The point is, if he could sneak in here without anyone knowing, he could easily kill me.”

Love, Lies and Murder - Amazon -
Masterpiece of Murder - Amazon -
B & N -
Wings ePress -

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I'm so glad you're visiting my blog today, Evelyn!
Evelyn Cullet said…
Thanks for having me, Marilyn. It's a pleasure to be here.
Patricia Gligor said…
I completely agree, Evelyn. I'd like to back-slap the person who wrote that article! Encouraging people NOT to read? What an idiot!
The good news is that, a reader is a reader is a reader and there are LOTS of us out there. Which reminds me, "Love, Lies and Murder" is getting close to the top of my TBR list. Can't wait to read it!
marja said…
I guarantee you, you're not the only one who feels this way. I've been disappointed in so many movies because of changes they made. They books are almost always better, and no one should make a comment about seeing the movie instead of reading the book.
Marja McGraw
M.M. Gornell said…
Not read a book!??? It's even hard writing the words...jeez. Good blog!

I can usually tell when a movie's been made from a book because it has more depth than other movies. That said, only once did I think the movie was better than the book.
Evelyn Cullet said…
It's great to have the writer's point of view on this, and since I know you ladies are all readers and movie-goers too, I'm delighted that you took the time to stop by and leave a comment.
I thought the movie Water for Elephants was close to the book. I ended up reading the book twice and glad I did.
Evelyn Cullet said…
Marilyn, I thought the movie, Now Voyager, was as close to a book as I've seen, almost word for word. And then the production company changed one of the scenes, and that ruined it for me.

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