The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend (2010)
By Kody Keplinger
In a previous blog, I wrote about the film, The DUFF. After watching it, I decided that I have to read the novel, The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend, which I did over the weekend and I’m glad I did. The book is completely different from the movie. It isn’t necessary to read the book before watching the film. Now, the main question one would ask is which is better? Book or movie? I would have to say, I like both of them. Each has their faults, but also merits.
First of all, the storyline for the book and film are completely different. The novel has a more complex, in-depth plot, which focuses on Bianca Piper’s insecurities with the word, “duff,” and her family problems. For example in the novel, Bianca’s parents are currently in the early stages of a divorce, which contrasts to the film’s set-up, where Bianca lives in a single-parent household. Furthermore, the novel develops well-rounded characters. For instance, there is more dialogue with Bianca’s best friends—Casey and Jessica—which we don’t get to see really in the movie.
In contrast, the movie mainly focuses on the romance development between Bianca Piper and Wesley Rush. In the film, Wesley helps Bianca “un-duff” herself. In addition, some of the main characters in the book become nonexistent or stagnant in the film. For example, Bianca’s father isn’t in the movie as oppose to the book, where Bianca’s father plays an important role in Bianca’s character development.
One of the things I found unique in the novel is its take on addiction. Many of the characters become an addict for something as a way to run away from their problems and reality; in which they find a means of escape from stress. Kody Keplinger alludes to Nathaniel Hawthrone’s character in The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, as an individual who uses escapism. Some of the characters in the novel, who escape from reality, include Bianca’s father, who relapses and turns to alcohol as a way to cope with his divorce, and Bianca, who starts sleeping with Wesley as “enemies with benefits,” in order to avoid her family problems.
Overall, the book and the movie are completely different from each other. So you don’t necessarily need to read the book first, before watching the movie. Personally, I enjoyed both versions. I think I understood why the film takes a different approach to the novel. There were many “hook-ups” scenes involving Wesley and Bianca in the book that if they put that in the film, viewers may question the PG-13 rating. One of the downsides to the book for me is that the novel tends to jump from scene to scene at times. For example, a character would have the intentions of doing some sort of action or event, and as a reader, we would expect further explanation or details about it; however, Keplinger does not provide any details about the act or event, instead she skips it and focuses on the aftermath. Yet despite that, the novel is cute and hilarious, and is something that you may want to consider checking out.