Saturday, 29 March 2008

The Gossip Girl books

Book to film or TV adaptations are always interesting, more so because it often boils down to what is left out rather than what is kept in. Hollywood bosses being the wusses that they are have made a habit out of turning successful books into films. From The Godfather to Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings; all have made it onto the big screen to critical acclaim You know what? Some film adaptations have actually turned out to be very good, in fact some have been better than the books themselves. The Devil Wears Prada is one of a few. Click on this link to find out what the top 15 book to film adaptations are.

In the case of Gossip Girl, the series - which aired on ITV 2 last Thursday - is so far removed from the book that I am wondering why creator, Josh Schwartz (who brought us The OC) did not just start from scratch. In both book and TV series the story takes place in New York and follows the extravagant lives of the sophisticated teens who attend the prestigious Constance Billard school. The key characters are Blair Waldorf, Nate Archibald, Chuck Bass, Dan Humphrey's and his younger sister Jenny with the charismatic Serena van der Woodsen taking centre stage. Serena and Blair are best buddies or they used to be before Serena slept with Nate, Blair's on/off boyfriend and then did a runner to boarding school. With Serena's abscondment Blair carves a niche for herself as the school top dog and she is not prepared to relinquish it upon Ms van der Woodsen's return. However there is a twist in the story which comes in the shape of a mystery blogger who keeps the students updated with the misdemeanors of Serena and co.

When I got hold of the book I was expecting it be like the 80s teen chick lit, Sweet Valley High with some colourful and engaging characters. Unfortunately none of the characters in the book do anything for me; Blair is sour and spiteful, Nate a non entity, Dan sort of vapid and even Serena herself comes across as flaky and forgettable. I am not sure if it is Cecily von Ziegesar's writing that puts me off but something is just not right with this book. The show on the other hand is funny, entertaining and engrossing. You really care what happens to all the characters including Chuck who is a bit of a twat.

Gossip Girl airs on ITV 2 on Thursdays at 10.00pm

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