“The Book Is Better”

film-reelHow many times the comment is made when the movie ends, “I liked it, but the book is better.”

The book. Full of page after page of descriptive information and most especially nuances that film can never capture. “They left out a whole part of her life,” says the moviegoer. Condensed into two hours what took hundreds of pages to develop, explore and explain.

How often can we treat family and friends as though we’re watching a movie? We’ve condensed them into characters or isolated situations and freeze frame them. Sometimes, forever. Where’s that fuller context, those subtle feelings and unspoken words that only a book can contain instead of a film that feebly attempts to capture emotions through a glance, a smile, a frown or just walking away.

Reading a book first can wreck your moving watching experience. How about making your relationships like reading a book instead of segmented scenes that we seem to freeze into our minds and hearts. The complexity expressed in the written word stirs the imagination and drives us deeper into the life of the heroine or her villain. Films are linear when the read page brings to life the depth of anger, happiness or separation.book_PNG2115

Dad waves goodbye to his estranged young son in the film’s closing scene with his practiced tear. Credits roll, and you’re left with what you think he’s feeling. The book contains the same parting scene, but you’re able to smell and breathe the sensations he was feeling. (Yes, you can smell a book’s words!)

Relationships ought to rightly and justly be about reading instead of viewing. Our lives are about smells, scents, complexities, and wonders. A movie teases us just as our judgments do about someone or even about ourselves. The book of each of our lives is fully human – never to be viewed from a comfortable seat and eating popcorn from afar but front row seats seated next to those we love and care for.

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com.
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