If I Stay: Movie vs. Book Comparison and Contrast by Jaritza Santiago

If I stayOn August 22, 2014, If I Stay was released in theaters. For any person that went into any book store prior to this day, the person would come to realize that If I Stay is a book by Gayle Forman that on the cover mentioned it was soon to be a major motion picture. I happen to be an avid reader and seeing this trailer in the movies as well as the sticker on the book gave me a huge interest in reading this book before seeing the movie. The trailer gave off a romantic type of plot, which made me intrigued of what the book and movie might actually be about so I ventured into the journey of reading the writing of Gayle Forman a few weeks before the movie’s release in America. If I Stay is a really well written book and like all books portrayed on screen, the movie and the book had some differences as well as similarities.

If I Stay is about a girl named Mia Hall and it goes into one of the most important decisions of her life. Nothing seems wrong with her life, considering she has a happy family, a rocker boyfriend, and is in her final stages of high school. Mia’s parents are extreme rockers(her dad, Denny, formerly being in a local band and her mom, Kat, being a band groupie), but she somehow is a classical cellist with a little brother named Teddy. Now, Denny is an English teacher who wears bow-ties in the book and not in the movie , while her Kat is a travel agent, having a stable life to support their kids. This Oregon teen’s life is turned upside down when the one family trip to the grandparent’s house on a snow day leads to a catastrophic car crash. Both of her parents are killed and Mia and Teddy manage to barely survive the crash.

As Mia is rushed to the their local hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, she experiences an out of body state where she stares at herself as she is in a coma and realizes all the situations around her as well as the flashbacks of her life. In this process, it goes into how she became the person she is. While the family member’s show up in the hospital, both the book and the movie talk about how they have affected her and make her consider if she really wants to live as an orphan or to move on to death with her family. Her grandparents and family members show up, but the book goes into detail about some family and friends more than others.

In the movie, one of the flashback she has regards how Mia and her rocker boyfriend, Adam, started dating each other. He falls in love with her by seeing her play the cello and saves his money to take her on a date to a concert. In the book, the concert they attend happens to be a performance by Yo Yo Ma while in the movie, the concert they attend is from an unfamiliar female cellist.

Another flashback in the movie is about Mia’s college application process to the Julliard School in New York. She applies on the recommendation of her grandma and sends in a recording of her playing a very complex piece of music. The next step to the application process is going to an audition in California in which she was originally supposed to go with her grandma. Her grandma is close to her, but unfortunately, she was unable to go so Mia’s grandpa takes her instead. Mia and her grandpa happen to bond on their way to the audition, which was unfortunately not seen in the movie. The movie portrayed them a little closer than they actually were in the process of going on their Julliard audition road trip, but the result was still the same: she gave a performance beyond belief and of expert skill level.

Next, there was another flashback regarding the lyrics of music her dad composed in his former band in the book. It was a meaningful conversation that was not mentioned in the movie at all about how the lyrics he wrote happened to be more of poetry in a sense than actual songs.

Mia’s closest friend, Kim, does not arrive with her mom to the hospital like in the book and the diversion that she planned with Adam to get in to see Mia was more elaborate in the book. The book mentions bringing a celebrity that happens to be Adam’s friend and an audience to distract security while they go in and see her. Even though this does not happen in the movie, the same end result occurs: Willow, a family friend and hospital nurse, ends up getting them in and revealing the news of Teddy’s death.

Many flashbacks occur that are related to family moments, relationship moments, and her decision of wanting to stay alive or to pass on. Her grandpa, Kim, one of the hospital nurses, and Adam talk to her body while she watches in this out of body experience and even with the difficulty of leaving her family and friends to go to Julliard, she makes the crucial decision: Should I stay alive or die? The decision happens to be made and they left a certain bit of the epilogue out of the movie, but overall, I would definitely recommend the book and the movie, If I Stay, to other readers of the romantic genre. Overall, the book and the movie had plenty of similarities, but some significant differences as well. If you are a person that has to have exact details of the book and the movie the same, yes, this movie may not be for you to watch, but overall, the book and the movie are astounding as separate beings and not together as a whole, but two hours of the movie or 243 pages of reading this book are definitely worth your time if you read or love romance.

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