Chances are that, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you recognise the name of this series: book vs adaptation (I know, I know, 10/10 for creativity!). I did one of these what feels like ages ago, but today I’m officially restarting this series, and not with just some title: the first book/adaptation I will be talking about is a very loved YA contemporary!
Simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda had been on my TBR for the longest time, but now I’ve officially read it! Right after finishing it, I watched the movie Love, Simon with my mom and, well, to hear what I thought, you’ll have to read some more of this post! Let me tell you this already though: this is a story of love, the defaults our society sets for us and ultimately: being queer. My expectations were high, so let’s take a walk and I’ll tell you all about it, okay?
This post and review are spoiler-free. However, it does include some general thoughts and discussions of what happens, vague but still present.
Simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda by Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young adult, Contemporary
Representation: gay, black and Jewish main characters
Trigger/Content warnings: blackmailing, bullying, homophobia, public outing
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
Love, Simon (2018) — directed by Greg Parlanti
Based on the novel by Becky Albertalli
Screenplay by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker
Short description: Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.
Let’s not beat around the bush and just get it out of the way: I enjoyed — or rather: I loved — the movie way more than the book. It made me feel so much, whether we’re talking in terms of joy or hope or just the general feeling of being understood. I even dare to say it’s one of my new all time favourites, which I sadly can’t say about the book.
Now, you have to understand that a three star-rating is still a really good thing from my perspective. I enjoyed Simon vs the homo sapiens for sure, plus it tackled some subjects I think are really important. Its qualities for me lie in how relatable and real it felt. It was so true to being a teenager and you really are stuck in Simon’s head.
That last thing I pointed out is really admirable, but one of the reasons I couldn’t love this book all at once. I just…don’t like Simon at all? He’s very judgmental and overall not a likeable character for me, which made being stuck in his head a bit annoying.
But except for that, I was just enjoying it. It didn’t feel like some unforgettable story or one that gave me so many emotions. It was just a nice story, and that’s all it needed to be for me!
There was one mutual problem between the movie and book for me, though. I really loved the friendgroup, especially in the movie, but at one point they’re just doing the worst thing at the worst moment: not being there for Simon because of selfish reasons. I don’t know, that just didn’t sit well with me.
And now comes the most shocking truth of them all: Love, Simon stays quite true to the book, but makes changes either way…Changes, I mostly like better than the way it went in the book. I know, I know! It feels weird to even type that, but alright…here’s my conclusion:
While reading a fan favourite book, I found a new comfort movie. This is an outcome I definitely didn’t expect but…oh well, I’m happy about it nonetheless! Despite the book not being as much for as I had hoped it would be, I totally fell in love with the adaptation! It’s relatable to the point of making me tear up because I just felt so understood. It brought me so many wonderful feelings and I already can’t wait to rewatch it!
This was a chaotic post that wasn’t as in depth as I had hoped it would be because…guess who forgot to take notes while reading and watching! But I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless! I guess you could say this is an exception to the rule we know all too well: the book was better. But have you watched any adaptations lately?