It is a rare occasion when a book lover will announce ‘the movie was better.’ It is not unheard of; I myself have said it before. Now I will say it again.
The DUFF is a book by Kody Keplinger. It follows a girl called Bianca who is the DUFF of her friends. The DUFF or the Designated Ugly Fat Friend is the friend in the group who doesn’t look as good as the others and, therefore, makes them appear more attractive. It is a comparison technique. Wes the school ‘man-whore’ explains to Bianca that she is the DUFF of her friends. Needless to say, this does not go down well.
So far, this is a typical high-school teen novel. However, it is from here that I begin to dislike the book. Maybe I went into it with false expectations. I had seen the trailer for the movie and had thought that looked like a cute, light-hearted, learn-to-love-yourself kind of story. This was not the case with the book. The book has much more serious undertones than the movie adaptation.
In the movie, the plot deviates drastically from the book. I think this was a turn for the better. The movie plot is basically a make-over story. Bianca recruits Wes to help her become the ‘dateable one’ in exchange for helping him improve his schoolwork. Bianca’s witty sarcasm and outspoken character are humorous and entertaining. It is light hearted and fun to watch. The ultimate message not to compare yourself to others is inspiring.
The book, on the other hand, takes a different approach to this story. I would go so far as to say that it would take less time to mention the similarities in the movie than the differences. Many of the characters behave differently if they exist at all. The book does not have a make-over storyline. It focuses on the outcome of Wes’ announcement that Bianca is the DUFF. The story takes a dramatic twist from here that I did not see coming.
While Bianca’s attitude in the movie comes across as funny and refreshingly honest, in the book she is a much more negative character. It may just be that sarcasm doesn’t read well in print, but it was much less enjoyable to read. There were some characters in the book that I did prefer. I thought many of the minor characters in this book were portrayed very well. Not the labeled stereotypes that this book is shouting out in protest about. They were the highlight of this book for me.
Another point about the book is that it is aimed at a slightly older audience, the later teens. There is more mature content, sex, swearing and the like. I feel that the book and the movie were definitely marketed towards different age brackets.
The message in this book, while the same as the movie, is achieved in a different way. I don’t think that this was as successful. None the less the message of loving yourself for who you are is one I think is worth promoting.
Both movie and book have a great central message. This can be appreciated in the serious tone of the book, or the playful tone of the movie. I, myself, thought the movie was that bit better.