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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Comparing Love, Simon to Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli


The Book, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli, has been sitting on my shelf for a long time.  My daughter and her friends have all read it.  With the movie, Love, Simon,  coming out soon, I was finally compelled to read it.  I finished it just hours before I took my daughter and her friends to see a sneak preview of the movie.  While there are some differences between the two pieces, both are powerful stories of the struggle to find the right time to "Come Out".  

The Book:


What I Liked:
Simon:
Simon is a junior in high school and just wants everything to stay the same until he goes off to college.  He is fairly sure his family and friends will be okay with his being gay, but he doesn't want to deal with it at this moment.  As a parent of a junior in high school, I completely get it.  Kids are already dealing with AP classes, SAT tests and trying to get great grades.  There would be so much stress with just that to deal with, let alone coming out.

The Parents:
I loved the parents in this book.  They were very supportive of Simon, as he expected.  But what I really loved was how hard they were trying to connect with their kids.  They kind of go overboard which actually drives their kids away.  Sadly, I kind of see myself in them!  As parents, we really want to stay relevant in our kid's lives.  But as they become teens, kids also need some space.  It's a difficult balance for parents between being involved and being obtrusive.

The Friends:
Simon's group of friends are realistic, normal teens.  Several are dealing with divorced parents, and there are crushes and jealousy that are common in high school.  Even though they are initially more concerned with themselves, they eventually rally behind Simon.  

The Story:
Simon feels very isolated, so when he connects with a person called Blue over email, he is able to vent, relieving some of the pressure.  As their connection grows stronger, Simon comes to depend on Blue.  This is threatened when an obnoxious classmate named Martin takes a screenshot of one of his emails and begins to blackmail him.  I could really empathize with Simon.  He feels he has no choice but to cooperate with Martin.

Overall, I was very moved by the book.  It made me so angry I cried when Simon was being blackmailed!  I think it is definitely worth reading.

Rating:  






The Movie:


Differences Between The Book & The Movie:

Besides the name change, the movie streamlined the action in the book, leaving out Simon's older sister, and omitting the scene at the gay bar.  There was also a lot less of Leah's peevishness and anger, which made her an easier character to love.

There is one thing that I wish the writers would have left in.  The friends in the book make a point of apologizing to Simon for not being supportive when everything blows up.  This is missing from the movie.  I really wish they would have kept it in because it underscores the point that coming out is a huge, terrifying moment in a gay teen's life.  I thought the friends were being extremely selfish for not seeing this.

That said, this was a wonderful adaptation of the book.  I found the actors engaging and realistic.  These were attractive young actors but no one was a supermodel.  There are some really funny scenes that are new to the book (I don't want to describe them, so they aren't spoiled).  

I also really loved the parents, played by Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel.  While they were very supportive of Simon, I could feel some guilt from them too.  They felt like they were wrong to miss noticing that Simon was gay.  I got the sense that they would have wanted to be there even more for Simon to ease some of his worries.  I loved the scenes between Simon and each of his parents.  They were so wonderful, they made me cry.  As someone on Twitter wrote, "Simon has the parents every gay kid deserves".  I couldn't agree more.

If you have read the book and enjoyed it, I encourage you to go watch it when it opens on March 16th.  If you want to see more movies like this, please support it's opening weekend!

Rating:  




        
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2 comments :

  1. I’ve been hoping to come across a post like this! I loved the book and was curious to see how the movie compared to it. I’m glad you liked both of them! I definitely want to see the movie.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I liked both. But I read the book first, and felt like the movie didn’t really do Leah justice by making her the friend in love with Simon. Such a typical movie move, she is and should have been portrayed cooler than that. Also Norah and Cal? Weirdly diluted. ‘Blue’ and Simon were deliciously perfect though.

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