The one thing I left my reading of If Only it Were True by Marc Levy feeling was disappointment. And a part of me wonders if that is fair, but the truth is that I don’t think I’d have read or cared about this book in the slightest had I not fallen in love with the Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo film, Just Like Heaven. When I found out that the movie was based of an actual book, my immediate design was to go and get myself a copy to read. And I was really excited to do so, naturally, as I’m the sort of person who always wants to read the books that films I really enjoy were based on with the hope that I will enjoy the book even more, I started reading it. And at the end of the day, after spending many hours rewatching Just Like Heaven, reading the book that it was based off resulted in nothing short of me completely hating the novel. The facts are simple; the movie was better than the book.
The heart, I think, of the story is fairly close to being the same. It follows a young man as he stumbles across a woman only he can see, one who is in a coma and with whom he soon finds himself falling in love. As the doctors at her hospital are considering taking her off life support, it soon becomes a race to see if he can wake her up. A story that was told brilliantly by the film, but became lackluster and mediocre in the book. And try as I might, I just didn’t like it.
Given the choice, I would much rather watch the movie than read the book. And for me, that is a rather unusual occurrence not to mention a nearly blasphemous statement. Various aspects of the novel were changed during its adaptation to film and, in my opinion, they were done for the better. I don’t think I would ever have ended up liking the movie as much as I do had it remained more true to the book. In fact, I’m not sure that I would have liked it at all.