Having watched the movie before reading the book, there was no question that I was going to have to feature To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before here. As I admitted in my review of the first book, I committed a cardinal sin for book readers. While Howls Moving Castle was an honest mistake this was not. I admittedly choose to watch the film first as the plot of the book was not in my typical wheelhouse for reading pleasure but a quick movie that was raved about on Twitter when it came out to Netflix I could get behind. It is because of the film that I decided to pick up the book.
In most book to movie adaptations, you lose a lot in translation; however, as this book was adapted by Netflix rather than Hollywood, I feel like everything was treated well. Honestly, the treatment To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is so impeccable, I think this is the most faithful adaptation I have ever seen or experienced. The movie held to 90% of the keynotes and strokes of the book.
There were two significant changes in the two mediums one of those changes being actually quite good and not failing the book at all. The good change comes from the movie, not ending where the first book does. The film travels into some of the story that is told in PS I Still Love You, which I mention in my review there as well. I think, in doing this, the movie gives a more satisfying conclusion to story that the book leaves as a bit of a cliff hanger. The other major change is with the character Kitty, Laura Jean’s little sister. (If you wish not to be spoiled for the book or movie but want to read my concluding thoughts, please skip to the second to last paragraph.) In the book, Kitty sends out Laura Jean’s letters as a way of getting revenge for almost revealing her crush while in the movie Kitty mails the letters as an act of altruism because Laura Jean seems lonely. While the spirit of Kitty still shines in the film the mark was missed slightly here as Kitty is a character who rarely if ever does something for someone unless she gets something out of it. For purists, this change may drive you up the wall but it honestly doesn’t break the story, and much of Kitty’s personality still shines through.
Any other change made between the book and the movie I feel is minor such as the setting for a few conversations. Such as Margo finding out that Laura Jean has/had feelings for Josh and where Peter gets his second letter from Laura Jean. However, these settings are not of significant impact to the story, and the conversations had between the characters. Another change that was of note to me is the contract. In the book, Peter suggests the idea of a hand in pocket while in the movie Laura Jean does this. Additionally, in the novel, Peter and Larua Jean write that they will not make the other watch movies they don’t want to see such as no Rom-Coms for Peter while in the film they contractually agree to see a few specific movies. Again these changes don’t impact the experience or the overall story.
Honestly, I think both the books and the movie are worth the experience. If you were to only pick one to experience out of all of it though I think I might choose the film over the book simply due to time and how accurate the movie is. You honestly don’t miss too much between the two. This is not to say the books aren’t excellent reads. Also, I am excited for the fact that Netflix is planning to release a second film which I am sure will be faithful as well, and I cannot wait to see what happens in the movie compared to the book. With that said, the superiority to the books is you can read now what happens while you have to wait for the upcoming installment to see what is next for Laura Jean and Peter. Did I mention there is a possible new love interest in the next book/film?
For those who have seen the movie and read the book, which do you prefer? Are you excited for the next film? For those who haven’t seen or read, do you have an adaptation to recommend that you feel was pretty accurate?