There have been books where I’ve liked the movie version equally well, but I think this is the first time I actually liked the movie significantly better. The movie did an awesome job using dialogue directly from the book. This could have been bad since the dialogue in the book felt a little stiff to me. Instead, the movie really brought the quirky characters from the book to life. In the book, the humor of the lines the characters were saying rarely came across; in the movie, the characters often made me laugh out loud.
I also thought the transitions between past and present in the movie were a little smoother than in the book. The movie some times changed where we learned about particular past events, but I thought these changes were improvements. The movie added some scenes that weren’t in the book, but this didn’t bother me because the additions were in the spirit of the book and didn’t come at the expense of cutting parts of the book.
The sound track to the movie was perfect, good enough that I’d just sit down and listen to most of the songs. I also really loved the casting, although having seen the movie before the book may have caused my imagined version of the characters to match the casting rather than the other way around. In summary, there were some things a movie worked better for than a book (scene transitions, short plot, delivering funny dialogue, etc.) and these things compensated for some of the book weaknesses, making the movie a much better medium for this story.