A Little Princess: Movie vs. Book

Like last month, when choosing which classic I was going to read was fueled by a movie.  I had an urge to watch the 1995 classic, A Little Princess.  This movie was a huge part of my childhood. My sister and I have probably seen it over fifty times, but I had never read the book.  I owned this beautiful Puffin Classic edition—that so perfectly match my Little Women and Anne of Green Gables copies (thanks Anthropologie)—so I was ready to dive into this whimsical story.


For those unfamiliar with the story, here is the Goodreads synopsis:

Sara Crewe, an exceptionally intelligent and imaginative student at Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies, is devastated when her adored, indulgent father dies. Now penniless and banished to a room in the attic, Sara is demeaned, abused, and forced to work as a servant. How this resourceful girl’s fortunes change again is at the center of A Little Princess, one of the best-loved stories in all of children’s literature.

I have to say, I was underwhelmed.  There are a lot differences between the movie and the book and I happened to enjoy the movie much more than the book.  The relationship between Sara and her father didn’t seem as strong in the book and they basically forget about her mother whereas in the movie we feel more of a connection (her mother’s old school, the locket) between Sara and the women who she never met.  I also think Ms. Minchin was a stronger character in the movie.  Book version Minchin seemed to only care about the money and status Sara Crewe brought to her school while in the movie there seemed to be a much deeper hatred.  You also miss Sara’s great storytelling and the parallels between her Indian fairytale and her father’s time in the war.  I think it added more depth to the story than just having him die and then that connected with everything going on with the next-door neighbors.

Despite being a huge fan of the movie, I did not feel the same way about the book.  Anyone have the same feelings? Or would like to point out what I missed from the book?

– Lindsay

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