Book to movie: ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, September 19th, 2018 at 5:26 PM

“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” has caught quite a bit of attention since it was released on Netflix in August.  

In all fairness, I’ve always been the type to say the book is better than the movie, and the movie did improve on some things, but there were some noticeable, important aspects left out.

I think the most noticeable thing that the book had, and the movie didn’t, was all the scenes involving Josh. In the book, he plays a bigger role than he did in the Netflix version. Laura Jean and him remain friends for awhile after the letter was sent, and he even kisses her during one of their fights about Peter. Laura Jean writes another letter after Josh and Margot’s breakup, when she realizes she still has feelings for him, even after the letter she wrote years ago. 

While Josh has some character building left out, so does Peter. Peter originally drives an Audi that only seats two, while changing to his mom’s minivan to drive Kitty around. Peter comes off as a complete jerk in some of the things the movie left out, as well.

The movie, while leaving out some scenes I think are important, builds better characters for the most part. Margot, in the book, completely tears into Laura Jean and tells her father about the rumors (the video in the movie) while in the movie she does get upset, but doesn’t let it affect their relationship as much.

Also, Peter tells the high school that he and Laura Jean didn’t sleep together, but in the book, he never addresses it and it’s the reason him and Laura Jean fall apart. Speaking of that falling apart, the movie shows them rekindling while the book ends with Laura Jean writing to Peter.

Other scenes changed include the initial car accident. Laura Jean never almost hits Peter in the book, as she instead gets into a car accident and he sees her waiting for Josh afterwards. Also, the kiss scene on the track doesn’t happen. Instead Laura Jean rushes Peter and kisses him in the hallway to prove she’s with someone when Josh tries to talk to her about the letter. 

The biggest change is that Peter isn’t using Laura Jean to make Genevieve jealous, as he does in the movie, he’s using her to put some distance between them as he doesn’t like being “owned” by Genevieve. Laura Jean does think that he’s still in love with her throughout most of the book (as it is in the movie). 

I think that while I still loved the movie and was OK with most of the changes they made from the book (a book can simply go into so much more detail), I strongly hold that Josh would have been a better character with the addition of any of the friend scenes. 

The changes in the movie don’t really take away from the story though, while movie Peter and Margot seem nicer. The movie changed some of the memorable book scenes and, honestly, they’re great. I like both versions. The detail in the book is amazing, and the changes in the movie make nicer people.

Erika Burkholder can be reached at

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