Book Review: How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller by Julia DeVillers

Back in 2006, Disney Channel released the DCOM Read it and Weep, and it soon became one of my favorite movies, as the main character, Jamie Bartlett, becomes a bestselling author at age fourteen. Being a writer since childhood myself, Read it and Weep was a source of hope, as I was twelve at the time it released. Back then, I didn’t care if I read the book the movie was based on, as I didn’t become an avid reader until I was a senior in high school. Fast-forward to a couple months ago when I was watching Read it and Weep with my boyfriend, I decided I finally wanted to give the book a chance.

ReadItAndWeep

While the book, titled How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller, ended up being a four-star read for me, I initially had problems with it. This review will be a bit backwards from my usual reviews, as I’ll tackle the negative aspects first, solely due to the fact that up until the second half of the book, I was considering giving it two-stars.

Issues with the First Half

Drastic Changes from the Movie Adaptation

For the most part, I’m okay from movies straying away from  non-important book details, such as a character’s hair color, minor characters’ names, etc; however, upon reading the first few chapters of How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller, I noticed the following differences:

  • Connor wasn’t a life-long best friend of Jamie’s
  • Jamie has an older sister, Allie, in the book instead of an older brother, Lenny, in the movie
  • No family-owned pizza parlor in the book

These three in particular disappointed me a bit, though that’s no fault of the book. Just know that if you’re looking for the book to be a lot like the movie, it’s not. But, the book still holds strong on its own merit.

Jamie’s Characterization in the First Half

Okay, I’ll admit, I found Jamie a bit annoying in the movie too, but book Jamie is a bit nerve-wracking in the first half of this book. I know young teens are prone to being obsessed with celebrities, being popular, and hating the mean popular girls, but Jamie was a little over-obsessed with it. Her narration oftentimes sounded like a middle schooler, but she was also quick to call the Populars the b-word on several occasions. It was difficult for me to like her, especially when…

Her Author Career Skyrockets Overnight

The movie does an excellent job of smoothing over exactly how Jamie’s book becomes a bestseller so soon, but the book… it just isn’t plausible. Jamie writes a journal entry that accidentally gets turned in as an English assignment, and her English teacher who has connections in the publishing industry manages to get said journal entry into a bidding war against publishing houses. And this grand journal entry… it’s not that grand in the snippets we receive.

But, that’s not all. Once a publishing house picks up Jamie’s journal entry, they allow her a week off from school to finish the rest of the book, which she finishes, and then they don’t need to edit it because it’s just so good fresh off the computer. No, that’s not how this stuff works. Even long-time bestselling authors don’t produce perfect first drafts.

How the Second Half Changed My Mind

Jamie’s Wake-Up Call

Long story short, after Jamie goes through tons of diva moments and edges on everyone’s last nerve, she realizes the real reason she wrote her book in the first place: to help girls with low self-esteem gain confidence. The second half focuses more on how Jamie decides to embrace her inner Is (the main character in her book) to help out fans who come to her seeking advice.

The second half humanizes Jamie more than ever before, and readers are shown that there is more to her than her initial superficial behavior. Jamie ends up being a reputable character, and someone who young teens can look up to.

This review is about as backwards as backwards can be, with three negative sections and one positive one. There are a few more positive points, such as epic plot twists in the second half, but I’d rather not spoil those, as they are much different than the events of Read it and Weep.

Overall, this book transformed from a two-star read into a 4 star read. It takes a truly special author to do this, as I’m usually stubborn about my ratings. XD

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Talk to Me, Arrowheads!

Have y’all ever seen Read it and Weep? Do y’all have as big of a celebrity crush on Jason Dolley as I do? XD Let me know in the comments!

Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.

-Allyson 😀

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As an author and blogger, my goal is to teach writers that there is a way to write realistic, thought-provoking, redemptive Christian fiction that honors God while not sugarcoating the realities of the world. 

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