Bingo Square: Home, Something, Home
I started watching the movie adaptation of this on a recent plane trip, and only realized once I was further into it, that Love, Simon was based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, an often reviewed novel on Cannonball Read. My main motivation for starting the movie is that I quite liked the lead actor in Everything, Everything (I like that both the lead actors in that movie are basically working their way through YA film adaptions – can’t wait for The Hate You Give) – I’d like to think he is the kind of actor I would have had a crush on as an early teen but I think he may have been too nice for my tastes then? Although, Titanic’s Jack was a nice guy – even if I think I preferred Good Will Hunting’s Will.
Since I had seen the movie, I figured I might as well join the club and read the book. I feel like the movie made the setting feel rather generic so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the novel took place in Atlanta (ATL!). Overall, the book was a very faithful adaptation though there were some minor tweaks that changed things a bit. I wouldn’t call one better than the other, though, I liked both equally (probably helps that this was a matter of movie, then book rather than book then movie).
Since so many people have already reviewed this novel, I am going to have a few spoilers since I want to compare the movie and the book, and there should be plenty of spoiler free reviews on the site – in short, it was a sweet movie and sweet book about a gay teen who hasn’t come out yet figuring himself out and I recommend both.
Alright, now for the book vs. movie discussion (even though I am not using this for my book/movie bingo block).
Some of the changes to the movie portrayed Simon in a slightly more sympathetic light while others framed him in a more negative light. I actually appreciated this since neither vehicle makes him perfect but they slightly change the focus based on the medium and the timing of release.
For example, while the blackmail plot is pivotal to both versions since it sets off the plot, Simon played a more active role in the movie. In the movie, he talks to Abby about what a great guy Martin is, and makes statements and comments to discourage Nick from pursuing her, actively preventing them from getting together. In the book, Simon’s approach is much more passive. He invites Martin along to outings, giving him time and opportunities to interact with Abby but doesn’t do anything beyond that to push Abby or anyone else one way or the other. So minus 1 for movie Simon.
I also liked that book Leah was awkward but her anger was about friendships and her concerns about being left out; the movie felt the need to add a minor love story angle here by having Leah have a crush on Simon that he was completely oblivious too. Minus 1 for movie Simon for not understanding his friends and trying to pawn Leah off on Nick. But maybe minus 1 for book Simon for not inviting Leah to Midtown because she would suck out the fun.
On the other hand, book Simon never correctly guesses who Blue is. Movie Simon actually guesses correctly, even if he then decides he is wrong and makes a few more incorrect guesses before finally getting his big reveal. On its own, this does not make Simon good or bad, but the book shows Simon having subconscious bias while the movie does not. Book Simon has one suspect for most of the novel and he is white; movie Simon initially suspects Bram, a black classmate, then based on events, suspects a few others at various points in time. As I said, this doesn’t make book Simon bad, but it portrays movie Simon in a better light. As Blue says in the novel, if Simon suspected or guessed someone else, isn’t that because he wanted it to be that other person? I am not sure if Blue’s hints were obvious or if I just noted some subtle hints that he wasn’t white because I already knew how the movie turned out. For example, they talk about how tiring it is that straight is the default and Blue makes a comment about white also being the default. Nothing against teenagers, but I am not sure the average white teenager would have pointed out that white is the default but it is certainly something a non-white teen would notice. Since I knew Blue was black, I also felt like his description of his family’s religion and church visits fit into that context and might have been another clue if Simon was paying attention. Although that might be more one that makes sense in context without being a clue.
Basically, there were some minor tweaks between the book and movie that added some more drama in the film without changing the overall message or spirit. I would recommend both, especially since the film’s casting for Simon and Blue was so perfect!
So I just realized that I thought they had changed the love interest’s name in the movie but they had not. I was just internally calling him Wally because of his role in The Flash. He is still Bram in the movie. Oops. I really loved him in this movie, though! His character had a huge chip on his shoulder when introduced in The Flash so it was fun to see him play someone much less brooding (yep, the gay teen in the closet is a more carefree and less brooding role than kid brother in a super hero show – don’t know how it compares now since the only one I still watch is Supergirl).
Bingo Square: Home, Something, Home (Atlanta with special shot outs to Midtown, Little Five Points and the Varsity)
It makes so much sense that I would start with “Home, Something, Home” given how little I am home anymore with all the work travel (less than 50 nights so far this year – sob – I have a roommate though, so this is not an invitation to rob me).