I say: This one of the few books where I thought the film was much better. I did see the film first, and I cried, so I couldn’t wait to finally read the book.
This is such a powerful story I can’t even know where to begin. Also, I don’t want to turn this into a comparison, but there are a lot of elements of the story that are better conveyed if you can see them. Melinda spends a lot of time working on her art project, which is to draw/create a tree in different mediums, and although we are told how difficult and frustrating it sometimes is, it was easier to understand when I was seeing it.
Having said that, I think that Halse Anderson does a great job of describing the ostracism, loneliness and desperation that Miranda goes through every day. It’s frustrating being on the reading end because all you want is for her to tell someone – anyone – but the words don’t come out for a long time. Also, the guilt and the way she blames herself makes this all the more poignant.
This should be required reading in school.
There’s one ‘scene’ that I really loved and that stood out so clearly, and that is when Miranda scribbles something on the bathroom wall at school and then returns later to find replies from other girls. It’s all anonymous, but it becomes such an empowering moment for her, and I think that’s the deal with being a teenager; you don’t want to be alone in your thoughts and experiences.
So, even though I really love this and the message and I probably would have given it more than a 3.5/5, the film version made me sort of see it in a different light since they told the story in a different way. It’s wrong to say it was told in a better way, it was just a different version that I prefer.