Warning: Characters in film may appear different than promised

Visualization is not one of my strengths. Book characters normally take on more of a presence than a concrete physical form in my mind. Thankfully, I am unaware of this process unless I utilize my $75,000 critical thinking skills (#thankyoucollege).

Please don’t cry for me, Argentina (or anyone else). I don’t think it hampers my reading experience. Plus, I am still aware of what the characters are supposed to look like, which is why it is so jarring when a movie falls short from even my meager expectations.

Is the character tall? Well then find an actor who is at least 6’1″ or a 5’8″ actress. Is the character pale? dark? tan? freckled? Then cast accordingly. Does the character have a distinct physical feature like messy hair, a set of piercing green eyes, or a lightning bolt scar? Then at least find contacts and a wig.

John Green recently caused a little hullabaloo when he announced the actress selected to play Margo Roth Spiegelman from “Paper Towns” is none other than British super model Cara Delevingne. The casting decision has since grown on me, but initially I was one of the protesters (just, you know, internally and to Moose).

Green does not focus too much on Margo’s individual features. Instead, he continually reiterates how her physical features take a backseat to her personality, presence, and aura of mystery. Casting Delevingne strikes me as funny as she is foremost known for her body and face.

Main character Q made random comments on Margo’s physical features throughout the book:

  • “It wasn’t even that she was so pretty. She was just so awesome, and in the literal sense.” (p. 14)
  • “You can’t divorce Margo the person from Margo the body. You can’t see one without seeing the other. You looked at margo’s eyes and you saw both their blueness and their Margo-ness. In the end, you could not say that Margo Roth Spiegelman was fat, or that she was skinny, any more than you can say that the Eiffel Tower is or is not lonely.” (p. 50)

When I read the book, I pictured a girl who looked more like Mary Elizabeth Winstead (think Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World) or Brie Larson. To be fair, Delevingne is the only one out of the three who has blue eyes like Margo. Also, Delevingne is known for her larger-than-life personality, much the same as Margo.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? (Cara Delevingne)

Some movies make me question whether the casting director paid attention to the book’s description. For example, Shailene Woodley plays Tris in the film adaptation of the “Divergent” series. Woodley is a 5’8″ natural beauty, whereas Tris is described as  a short, bird-like girl with a long, thin nose almost too big for her face.

Unknown (Shailene Woodley as Tris)

Maybe Hollywood can’t handle having a striking— not beautiful or attractive— actress helm a young adult franchise. #toomuchtoosoon #overit

If I watch a movie before reading a book, the author has to make it really clear the blue eyed, dark haired chick is actually a brown-eyed blondie. For example, Anne Hathaway will always be Princess Mia Thermopolis in my head. I don’t think Mia is supposed to be as lovely as Hathaway is, but so it shall remain!

My favorite by far is when readers are wrong about what a character looks like— GASP! I know we Bookworms are supposed to be the experts in the movie theater, but even we get it wrong from time to time. Remember the ridiculous outrage some people expressed over Rue being played by a young black actress?

Rue_tribute_portrait (Amandla Stenberg as Rue)

“Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins makes it clear Rue is not the white kid many readers somehow pictured on page 45, “And most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes…” I’m not sure how so many people misconstrued this one.

I’m sure there have been many a casting sin, but I am still broadening my genre consumption. This blog post has made me wonder what LOTR, The Walking Dead (comic-verse), and Game of Thrones fans think of the casting decisions for their beloved books, etc. #theworldmayneverknow

(I’m just kidding, just Google that shizniz, we Bookworms are a loquacious bunch.)

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Hurts so good— wait. What?

Are you a self-respecting human being?

If you answered yes, do yourself a favor and stay far away from Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series. If Kindle had not been so dang insistent, I too would have remained at a safe distance (#ignoranceisbliss).

Unfortunately, the Kindle app on my phone recognized a pattern in my reading choices. The miniature “Green Rider” book cover began popping up under the recommended books section. I could not help but take note of the gray and green cover with the large brown horse and panicked rider.

(Sidenote: The reason I could not overlook the cover is two-fold. First, there are only like 20 recommendations and as I do not often buy books through Kindle— #paperbackkeepsthehatersback— they do not often change. Second, and this is the embarrassing one, I have been known to read a romantic Kindle Single or two, so a lot of the covers look like this or this. Naturally, the cover of a fantasy book stood out a bit.)

Kindle proved to be more stubborn than I. The book failed to impress me the first time I read the free sample. However, reviews from 405 readers averaged 4.5 stars out of 5. The book kept popping up, so eventually I gave in a second time— and had a blast following Karigan G’ladheon on her journey across Sacoridia on the back of strong-willed Condor.

I tore through the book and immediately plunged into a #bookhangover (you know what I am talking about). Amazon assured me the book was not a standalone. There were five in the series.

“This is wonderful,” I thought to myself. “All of the books are out!”

Ok, so that one was my fault. I get that. I should not have been so presumptuous, because you know what they say about assuming. I launched into the second book, devoured the third, and spent Christmas dollars on the fourth and fifth. And here is where reality exploded in my face.

The fifth is not the last book (and it departs from the style/storyline of the first four books). Further research brought the publication date of each novel to light:

Unknown Unknown-1 Unknown-2 Unknown-3 Unknown-4 IMAG2001

(1998)          (2003)         (2007)          (2011)           (2014)         (#didthemath)

Four to five years separated each of first four books. I know the last one came out three years after the first, but arguments could be made the fifth book could have used more time in the editor’s lounge. I know that sounds catty, and that is not usually my game, but she threw a curveball. (If you read the Bridget Jones post, then you know how well I handle those curveballs.)

What can I say? I have been spoiled by the prompt turn-around times of Meg Cabot, Rachel Caine, and Patricia Briggs. Heck, the millennials reacted like B.F. Skinner’s rats to the every-other-year release dates of the Harry Potter (<– #justforfun) books. We lined up like well-trained pups every other summer for the newest installment.

So this is what I face: either another three to four years before the next installment, or a book that holds little resemblance to the first four. It is like being told you can go to Disney Land— in three years. Or, your favorite singer comes to town, but the head-banging rocker is suddenly picking his way through a bluegrass tune on a banjo.

If you have the patience of a saint and enjoy fantasy books, I recommend you check out the series. If you are anything like me, set a Google Alert and don’t look into the series for another 20 years. By then there will be at least seven books (#sorrynotsorry).

Pointing fingers and stealing endings

Helen Fielding deserves the blame here, folks. She won my heart through “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and then crushed it with “Mad About The Boy.” The former is one of my favorite books of all time. When I heard the news (spoiler alert), it felt like a punch to the gut.

I am sorry to say I did not give the book a chance— such was my misery. Instead, I listened to some crackpot critics and pushed its existence from my mind. However, my friend Moose was not to be deterred. She read the book and said it was better than she expected.

(So maybe we can blame both Fielding and Moose. They can be the Diabolical Duo in this story.)

Moose’s brief review (just a sentence really) bounced to the forefront of my mind as I wandered the library aisles recently. A thought came to me suddenly. An urge soon followed. What if I just read the last bit of the book? After all, Helen Fielding had done me wrong.

It was jolly and pleasant and awkward and dramatic and just as Bridget Jonesy as ever. ‘Maybe,’ I thought to myself, ‘I should have given this book a chance.’

I immediately wrote to Moose about my actions.

Her reply:

“Noooooo! 

I am so angry at you for reading the last several pages!!! 

You know better than that, woman. 

You don’t deserve an ending unless you’ve read the whole book. 

How could you.”

How could I? Please. How could Ms. Fielding destroy my trust? I bought into her characters and the zany-fun format. As far as I could tell this series was not supposed to cause me pain. So, yes, when I considered the backstabbing turn of events, I thought it perfectly acceptable to read the end of the book.

You don’t deserve an ending unless you’ve read the whole book.

Is that really true? Maybe it makes me a better Bookworm to see a story through to the end in spite of the twists and turns, but does skipping really deem me undeserving of the ending? …It probably does. However, I still maintain this situation is partly Ms. Fielding’s fault. She did not control my actions, but she did trigger my frustrated response with her betrayal.

The two books prior to “Mad About The Boy” were filled with relationship woes, ridiculous friends, mortifying moments, and much f***wittage. There were no signs of true tragedy. Sadness is not what I signed up for when I fell in love with the first book! (As a teen I purposefully avoided Lurlene McDaniel and Nicholas Sparks books #notworthit). How dare she try to make me swallow that pill in the final installment.

And you know what? I completely understand tragedy popping up in odd moments— provided it fits with the storyline pattern. Is the book in question set in a dystopia? Characters will die. Are you reading “A Series of Unfortunate Events”? The title kind of gives a HUGE hint. Can the book be found in the thriller, action, horror, etc. sections? Read at your own risk. Have you fallen under the spell of the frizzy-bearded wizard George R. R. Martin? The guy barely gives you a chance to mourn one death before the next slaughterfest.

All I am saying is most of the time there is some time of WARNING and sometimes there is not (coughFIELDINGcough).

Feel free to unleash any blistering arguments in favor of Moose’s judgment. I’m sure you’ll have no problem (and maybe a little fun) knocking down my defense. And you know what? I’m probably going to add the third BJones book to my #readinglist2015 anyway.

Point to you, Fielding.