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Catherine Called Birdy does book-to-film adaptation the right way

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It’s hard to find anything in pop culture that most people agree on, but at least there’s one broad statement about media that rarely starts arguments: It’s widely agreed that a book is usually better than a movie or show adapted from it, no matter how faithful or artistic the adaptation might be.

What no one seems to agree on is whether it’s better for an adaptation to faithfully follow the book or chart its own course.

Still, some screen interpretations of a book seem to be universally despised for what they alter. Take the most recent adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, which gives the novel an egregious modern update, turning Anne Elliot from a somber, sensible woman into a snippy, sarcastic one.

So to fans of Karen Cushman’s Newbery Honor-winning historical novel Catherine, Called Birdy, it may seem odd that writer-director Lena Dunham changed the book’s ending for the screen in favor of something more modern.

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