Book vs. Film – To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

It’s not like in the movies. It’s better, because it’s real – Jenny Han.

I’m prolonging the infatuation the world has with To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by writing this post, and I’ve only just finished reading the book myself. It was hard to get a hold of after the Netflix film aired. It was sold out. I had to wait; I’m not a patient person. Anyway, I’ve read the book, and watched the film about four times so I thought it would be a good idea to share my opinions on what has been one of the biggest film and literary highlights of 2018.

Every book lover is the book person rather than the film person whereby they prefer the book to film no matter what. I put myself in this category on most occasions. This is not one of them. Maybe it has something to do with watching the film before reading the book and falling in love with all the characters before I got the chance to know them through my own eyes; or maybe it is because the film is so damn good that it’s become irresistible. I’m not only talking storyline and characters, but it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. All of Lara Jean’s costumes and her room and everything is a true reflection of what is written in the book, but so much brighter too. Perhaps, that is just my imagination.

So, less of the ramble (channelling my inner Lara Jean) and let’s get into some of the main points for this Book vs. Film post!

KITTY IN THE BOOK vs. KITTY IN THE FILM

Kitty is probably my favourite character in the film, not so much in the book. In the film, she is a little older, a little wiser and her relationship with Lara Jean is far funnier than its classic sister-sister annoyances in the book. Of course, there is a lot less time to build the complexities of relationships on screen compared to between pages, however the entire dynamic is a lot more positive in the film. In the book, I see Kitty as a little whiney, babyish and a little funny. On screen, she is hilarious. Her heart is in the right place, but her actions are a little off-piste. Her sarcasm fits in so well with the family dynamic and the entire cast, and they couldn’t have picked a better actress for her.

MARGOT IN THE BOOK vs. MARGOT IN THE FILM

I understand Margot in the book, the reasons why she is the way she is; how she has become the person everyone relies on in the Covey household. There is a lot more back story in the book and in many ways she is illustrated as looking after the family. I get that she wants to have her own time, her own freedom, and she doesn’t feel complete without her family whilst she’s away. What I don’t like, however, is her ability to make Lara Jean feel small; her superiority as the biggest sister and her judgemental attitude. It is as though all of these negative qualities are wiped away in the film to leave a firm and strong young woman without the bitterness.

LETTERS IN THE BOOK vs. LETTERS IN THE FILM

We get to read the actual letters in the book. I love that. I’m a nosey person and I want to know exactly what has been said to each boy. It also gives much more characterisation to Lara Jean’s romantic, whimsical thinking and the boys she has loved. We now know about how Peter wouldn’t give the last slice of pizza away, or the underlying feelings of how she doesn’t want to love him, but she does anyway – from the seventh grade to now. The content in the letters in the film are insinuated, but you never actually know what she has written throughout it, so those first thoughts of love have almost been lost through translation into the film.

PETER K. IN THE BOOK vs. KAVINKSKY IN THE FILM

I think the entire world fell in love with Peter Kavinsky within the first twenty-four hours after Netflix aired To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. It helps that Noah Centino is a little bit of gorgeousness. In terms of the character, I did (again) prefer the film version – maybe I was just sucked in by all the cheekiness like the rest of the world. The book version of Peter K is just as hilarious and cheeky, but his obsession with Genevieve is heightened, and it didn’t feel like he cared for Lara Jean as much as she did him, whereas in the film, it was obvious that he liked her just as much, if not more.

TRADITIONS IN THE BOOK vs. TRADITIONS IN THE FILM

The traditions, both Korean and American, are in full force in the book. Jenny Han has brought to life a normal mixed-race family and a culture that I had no idea about until I read this book. I have read about Asian culture in the past in Young Adult fiction, and I have enjoyed it immensely. I always forget how much I love seeing the world through somebody else’s eyes; especially those who lead a different life to my own. Korean foods, drinks and events are highlighted throughout the book and jokes are made too. My favourite part is when Lara Jean’s Dad, who is white American, tries his best to keep the Korean culture alive in the house as though his wife is always there. In the film, anecdotes are made towards these crucial parts of the book, like the opening scene of the film with the family around the table eating a traditional Korean meal and when that Peter drives across town to the only Korean supermarket to get the yoghurt drinks for Lara Jean. It is an important aspect of both book and film, and I am glad that Korean culture has been brought to life for the masses.

PUPPY IN THE BOOK vs. PUPPY IN THE FILM

They got a puppy for Christmas in the book. This is better than no puppy in the film. Obviously.

Have you read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before? No doubt you will have seen the film. It’s practically a cult sensation. How do you compare the book with the film? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Love, Faye xo

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