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Let me answer that for you, read THEN watch. Hands down, this is always the best way. I know there may be some out there who disagree, but this is my personal preference.

Being a reader, I’ve always read books before seeing the movies. If I happened to watch a movie before reading the book, then I just didn’t read the book. Simple as that. I don’t know why I did things this way, I just did. Once I saw the movie, I would have no desire to read the book. However, if I read a book, and then saw that a movie was coming out about it, I usually couldn’t wait to see it.

Gone_Girl_PosterThis last year though, the universe conspired to force me to watch a movie, then read the book. A very frustrating experience. My mom’s birthday is in November, and each year my sister and I take her on an overnight shopping trip. This year everyone was broke, and mom opted to spend the day at the movie theater instead of shop. We happily complied. Since it was her birthday we let her pick the movies, and one of those movies was Gone Girl.

We watched it. We spoke to several people who also watched it. Most of the people I talked to hated it, mostly because of the ending. (Don’t worry, I don’t like to include spoilers, and I won’t.) This included my mom and sister. I found it fascinating (those of you who know the story…no judging). However, I was a little put out, because I knew I still had to read it. Gone Girl  was the January book pick for my local book club.

Gone_Girl_(Flynn_novel)It was SUPER hard, but I did make myself read it. I enjoyed it, but I also know that I enjoyed it a lot less than I would have. You see, I kept trying to figure out when the next part, or twist in the story would occur. I kept looking for how Flynn would portray something from the movie in the book (she is one of those rare authors that gets to work on the screen play based off her book).

If I had not seen the movie first, I know that I would have felt everything more strongly during my read. Also, it would have been 18 thousand times more exciting. Lastly, I could have created my own picture of Nick and Amy in my head. Instead, all I saw was Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Which is fine I guess. In they end, they fit the characters well.

This is a very well written novel. It has twists and turns and crazy psychological stuff going on, just the type of book that I love! But I feel that my reading experience was diminished because I kept comparing it to, and visualizing the movie. I didn’t realize just how  much I like to do my own visualizing. I like to create the characters in my head and paint the setting with my own brush and colors.

Why don’t I feel this way about movies when I watch them after I read the book? I’m a huge movie fan as well. I think it’s because I already know the original story, so I’m not missing anything if it gets cut, or left out of the movie. I also enjoy comparing my vision to that of someone elses. I can then decide which version I like best. Or, I can decide that both have their merits. Either way, I’m already familiar with the WHOLE story, and they can’t change or takeaway any of the pictures I’ve already created in my head. Of course, this could all be rubbish and some psychologist could come by and give me a completely different reading on this particular issue of mine.

Either way, always read before you watch…