A few weeks ago I was talking with my dear friend Pao. We were talking about Les Miserables and how it made her cry when she watched the play (several times), but she never been able to read the book.
We kept talking and at some point she said, “The book was just too much. I couldn’t stand it.”
To what I said, “But it’s the same story and you already know it.”
“I don’t know it’s different,” she said.
So we kept talking as we often do (we can talk for days without stopping) and came to the conclusion that there’s a difference at an emotional level between books and movies. When you watch a movie you can empathize with the character but at the end it is happening over there in the screen and to that guy. You can separate yourself from the character even if you cry or laugh. You can only relate.
When you read a book this story and characters live in your mind, being there they take things or traits of you and you become the one living all those things, good or bad. So in my opinion when you read a book the experience becomes more powerful because at some point you can’t separate the character from you. You are the one being in jail, you’re the one dying, and you’re the one marrying. All those emotions are in you and that makes the experience more real.
Of course all this is my opinion. I can’t wait to know what you think.