Book to movie turmoil

I am in a serious state of conflict. Serious.

My favorite book, Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, has been turned into a movie* and part of me wants to damn Hollywood and all the people who will go see it and the other part of me wants to be first in line for my tickets and jumbo popcorn.

This isn’t a book like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games** which we all expect to be made into blockbusters and which prove to be quite entertaining cinematic adventures. Although, one could argue that these were bastardizations. I digress.

This is my genre, my story, my life! I take complete ownership of this book and no one else is allowed to love it like me or allowed to turn it into some shadow of the story it is. Only I am allowed to think about the book and to adapt it to the film reel in my head.

Of course, none of this is true no matter how irrationally I feel it.

I worry that this book will be corrupted for me; that the way I imagine Bathsheba will be all Carey Mulligan, and the county of Wessex I designed in my head will be all the cinematographer’s doing—bastard. I’m afraid I will lose my imagined adaptation to this movie adaptation and never get it back.

I’m annoyed that people may jump on the Madding bandwagon. They will be all, “OMG, this movie is awesome. Blah blah blah. I’m illiterate and won’t appreciate the book in its full glory. Blah blah blah.” Posers.

Worse than people liking the film and rejecting the novel are people that will read the book and love it. Enter hipster attitude. I liked it before it was cool, therefore, I am better than everyone else and deserve some sort of badge noting my superiority. Perhaps a pair of Far From the Madding Crowd Ray-Bans.

The most valid concern I have is that the story will be manipulated to please a modern, mass audience with the creation of a superfluous plot line, an over-sexualization of the story, or a touch of gore and foul language to spice things up. Why mess with a good thing? If the creators of the film adaptation felt it in good judgement to alter the story to its audience, they could’ve chosen a different book (like one I don’t care about), or, here’s a thought, come up with a new story.

I’m being harsh. I don’t know if this movie will ruin my life as badly as I anticipate it doing so, and it appears I may not have the courage to prove my theories positively or negatively.


This quote hangs in my son’s room: “And at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall be–and whenever I look up, there will be you.”

Some readers may be thinking to themselves right now, “wow, this girl is batsh*# (my husband would agree). This book isn’t even that great or one of the better T. Hardy novels.” To those readers, I don’t like you.

I jest (but in seriousness).

Nearly final note. After finishing Far From the Madding Crowd for the first time a few years ago, I mentioned to my then boyfriend, now ball-and-chain, that if we ever had a little boy I wanted to name him Gabriel after Gabriel Oak because, “if ever I had a son, I would want him to grow up to be of the same character and demeanor of this guy.” A week later I found out I was pregnant with a boy, and guess what, his name is Gabriel.

I can’t have the actor playing Gabriel Oak to suck at life or to have the fictional character be misrepresented! Think of the consequences!

It seems all is against me, even NPR keeps telling me that Far From the Madding Crowd is in theaters. What’s a girl to do? Wonder forever or indulge a morbid curiosity? Or, more likely, put it into perspective that in the purview of life’s problems, this isn’t one.

*This is NOT the first film adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd, but I chose to write about this one because it’s now.

**Katniss Everdeen is named after Bathsheba Everdeen. Small literature world!


This better not suck

I’m a literature nerd. If I could, I would read all the books all the time. Especially of the Victorian Persuasion (bedumchhhh!).

One of my most favorite-est-est books in the entire universe is Far From the Madding Crowd by the stupendous Thomas Hardy. I love this book so much, in fact, that I’m naming my yet-to-be-born-son after the protagonist in the story—Gabriel. No lie.

A week before I found out I was preggers, I turned to my then unknowing boyfriend (now husband), “If we ever have a son, can we name him Gabriel because I want him to be exactly like this character in this book I read.”

He agreed, and how fortuitous! A week later we found out little Baby Gabey was growing inside my belly. Destiny.

Anyway, I digress. Because I love this book so much and could reread it a million times enjoying it each and every turn, I’m deeply afeared for a new rendition of a film version set to come out next year. Look, I know there are already films of this movie in existence, but you know how it goes in this day and age, get some cutie petutie actors, sexualize the plot, take the understated and overstate it, and bang! the movie fails the book and thus makes the book less than its former, virginal self.

It doesn’t help matters that the only line of the description (as seen on IMDB) of the movie so far is: “A beautiful young woman maintains a relationship with three very different men.” Seriously?! That’s the take-away?!

Look, I’m sure it will become further descriptive like: “Based (or loosely based) on the novel by Victorian author, Thomas Hardy, this story is about a beautiful, vain woman who captures the hearts of three very different men that go in three very different ways.”

Bleck. Stupid movie makers.

Carey Mulligan will play the part of Bathsheeba Everdeen. Just don’t make her blonde and I don’t know if I truly care who plays the role. I realize Bathsheeba’s character metemorphasizes throughout the story, but she’s not the most lovable literary figure, most of the story she’s a stupid early 20-something brat (in my opinion, and one in which I could relate to [minus the farming part]). But Gabriel Oak—he’s the man. Perhaps I glorify him far too much, or maybe even the book makes him out to be too honorable and good with just enough flaw, but seeing the actor playing him doing a sub par job (which, honestly, even a perfect actor acting it perfectly wouldn’t meet my standards, so sorry, Matthias Schoenaerts) would ruin much of Madding for me.

But alas! I am also intrigued! I want to see it! I’m terrified that the imaginary world I’ve created will be destroyed by the world cinema will create, but I’m still ever so curious. It’s the price paid whenever any book is made into a movie. All of a sudden, Bathsheeba doesn’t look like the one I imagined, but Carey Mulligan. The town of Weatherbury no longer appears like it did in my mind from Hardy’s description, but from the set created to shoot the film.

Even worse, the plot deviates. All of a sudden, that “kiss” that Seargant Troy and Bathsheeba shared is now outright fornication in a field…before wedlock! Boldwood and Troy now get into a gruesome fight at the Christmas party that ends in arms and legs being tossed off and about like Mr. Potato Head parts. Worse yet, now Fanny comes back from the dead as a zombie craving the brains of Oak’s sheep.

I’m just worried that what I consider perfection will be tainted, not just for me, but for everybody. No one has to love the book like I do. No one has to love T. Hardy like I do. But no one should bastardize literature when it can be helped. Hollywood has done that too many times already. How many more books must suffer? I think I’ll start a nonprofit, “Save the Book: Stop Filming.”

Then again, perhaps someone will see the film and be like, “wow, this Tom guy had something going. I’m going to pick up Far From the Madding Crowd, and also, this Jude the Obscure thing looks pretty swell. Hmmmm, maybe I should look into those Bronte sisters I hear so much about too.”

In the interim, just in case the movie destroys a part of the magical literary pedestal I place this book on, I’m going to reread it over and over again. As if I wasn’t already doing that…