Daily Archives: February 10, 2010

How Should I Handle This?

i love all your books and feel very strange now that i realized that i have finally caught up with Alice, being a junior in high school.  I had a few questions, personal stories and thoughts to share with you and i really hope that you read them : )

The first one that i wanted to talk to you about is how much your books seem to really relate to my life.  I am currently dating someone who i have dated ever since freshman year.  He’s genuinely the love of my life, although we had our rough times and broke up once or twice briefly.  Going back and reading the Alice books again, i see him and Alice in me and Sam (which is also ironic because Alice dated Sam.) I am pretty much a happy girl, although recently i went through a change that really set me back a little bit.

My parents had been having problems that i have known about since like 2 and a half years ago, when my sister was 5.  Maybe that’s why they never told her.  But anyway, my dad finally just moved out last friday.  The reason that he suddenly moved out was because of the fact that i found out that he was dating this b****, who has never been nice to me.  However, the other part that i don’t really like about her is the fact that SHE IS MY FRIENDS MOTHER!! so then my friend and i had this huge fight and what-not and when i told my dad angrily that he had to choose Christina (the woman) or me, he actually chose Christina, which hurt soooo much.  My first question for you is how should i handle this situation?

My next question i have for you is why you would sell your books to that movie company that made the worst rendition of your book that i could have ever imagined.  I know this may seem harsh, but from the moment when i was in 9th grade that i heard they were even considering doing a movie, i was like, no way.  I am against books being turned into movies usually, because i feel like it’s good to let the readers think about what the characters are on their own.  When books are turned into movies i feel as though the reader’s imagination is stole away.  Not to mention the fact that it also gives an easy excuse for not actually reading the book and just watching the movie.  Anyway, for like 2 years, i put off and put off and put off watching the movie, just because i was scared (you can laugh now 😉 ).  i was afraid that it would kinda ruin your books for me. Finally, on one day THIS year, i was searching through the channels on On Demand, and i looked in like the premium channels or whatever and i saw “Alice in-between”… and me, being INCREDIBLY brave to do something that most people could do WITHOUT hesitating, got up the courage to click it and watch it…and i had every reason to be scared.  Don’t get me wrong, i won’t go as far to say that the movie RUINED the books for me, but it definitely did not exactly fully express everything that YOU, as a very talented writer, had worked so hard to express.  I feel like you were totally cheated.  The casting choices were unbelievably off.  Phyllis, you could have TOTALLY at least found a company that would take this to a whole new level and take the time to work to get it on the big screen.  Or at least sold it to some company that would make it into a brilliant independent move.  Allyson Stoner?  Like…really? I mean, if you were going to sell it to them, couldn’t you  have said that you were going to have some input on the decisions?  I can’t say for sure for everyone else, but i can definitely speak for myself when i say that i was really disappointed.  The only casting choice i agreed with was Penny Marshall, just because i mean…come on, she’s a legend.  But lucas grabeal was wayyyyy off.  And the looks of everyone were like the farthest from what was in the books.  i’m not racist AT ALL but in your books you state that Elizabeth is italian, and then this movie comes along and she’s african american.  And patrick looks like he could be 9 years old.  And don’t even get me started on pamela. 

As much as i don’t want to sound like i am being critical, i definitely just want you to hear this because i don’t really know how much you care about it.  I actually don’t think that the movie in and of itself sucked.  Actually, i think it was okay.  But not for alice.  at all.  that’s the part that was so disturbing to me.  It wasn’t like alice at all.  Maybe that’s why it didn’t really ruin the books for me.  Maybe it was a good thing.  I don’t really know.  All i know is you must have had SOME Say in what that movie was going to be like, because of all of the legal things.  And i feel like you owe it to not only your readers but to yourself…and alice…to at least give that opportunity to someone who will fully depict what alice is all about.

Thank you so much for your wonderful books and for hearing me out…i look forward to hearing back from you!  you’re amazing!!!



Phyllis replied:


I think you’re giving movies way too much power to influence you.  If you loved a book, then see a movie about it that you don’t like, why should that affect your feelings for a book?  Do you do the same with people?  Like someone, and then, after a friend describes that person in an unflattering way, dislike him?  You also need to know a little more about how the movie business works.  Few authors get much say in how a movie will be cast or played.  Just ask Gary Paulson or Jerry Spinelli.  My agent makes the contacts, and because the same men who made the Shiloh movies made the Alice movie, I trusted them to do what they felt was best.  I would have made it differently, and I had a chance to change some of the script, and did.  But my job is to write the very best books that I can, not to make the best movies that I can. 

Regarding your father, it was a mistake to ask him to choose between Christina and you.  Sad as it is when parents divorce, no one really knows what goes on inside a marriage except the two people in it, and though it is natural that you would be angry/sad/disappointed in your father, you were way out of line in asking him to choose between his daughter and a woman he’s dating.  I’m wondering if there could possibly be a pattern here, and you tend to either/or/ reactions:  either a movie company makes a brilliant movie that completely agrees with your personal view of the characters or there should be no movie at all;  Either your father chooses you or Christiana.  It’s as though you’re letting a “bad” movie, in your view, almost destroy your love of favorite books; you’re letting a “bad” choice, in your view, by your father, almost destroy the father/daughter relationship.  The world isn’t so black and white, and things are going to happen you don’t care for.  But an “all or nothing” attitude is going to make things pretty rough for you down the road.  If I were in your shoes, I would apologize to my dad.  I would tell him that his actions/choice disappoint you and make you sad and angry, but he is still your dad, and maybe somewhere down the line you two can have a real conversation.  But stick to the way his actions make you feel; don’t attack him.  Some day the shoe may be on the other foot, and you choose to be with someone he doesn’t feel is right for you.  You wouldn’t want him to disown you because of the choices you make.

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