We've all experienced the disappointment of seeing an abysmal movie adaptation of our favorite book. Some of this is due to reasonable constraints of film such as time, while other changes must occur in order to fit a different artistic medium.
When it comes to books with female protagonists, Hollywood creates train wrecks. The ability to portray a relatable girl is beyond their grasp. If she is bookish, it must be ignored. If she is a tomboy, she needs to be softened. And God forbid she have sincerity or virtues, because she must be either corrupted or turned into Pollyanna. All girls, in the Hollywood parlance, are brats.
The two most egregious examples that come to mind are Sara from A Little Princess and Harriet from Harriet the Spy. The girls are at extreme opposites from each other in almost every way, but Hollywood manages to butcher both characters. The movies made them relevant to the average '90s middle school girl infatuated with Backstreet Boys and Nickelodeon.
|He is relevant|
And boy are they. A few years into her stay at school, her father dies of scarlet fever in India without a dime to his name, and penniless Sara is forced to live in a cold, rat-infested attic by the evil Miss Minchin, who takes Sara from the classroom and puts her to work in the kitchens. Through her trials, Sara proves her kindness by giving to those hungrier than herself and refusing to take vengeance on Miss Minchin or her hateful classmates.
In addition to her virtues, Sara is an engaging storyteller with a passion for reading and imagination. As a scullery maid she copes with her predicament by comparing the attic to the Bastille prison. Best of all, she manages to be good without being saccharine, and she has her own pitfalls and struggles to overcome. In other words, she is old-fashioned in the best sense of the word.
Stay tuned for the problems with Harriet.