After finishing the book, I had a long talk with my dad about it. He had recommended that I read The Graveyard Book, also by Neil Gaiman, so I figured he'd probably read Stardust, too. The agreement we came to is that the novel is fun, magical, and enjoyable without question. And . . . that the movie took this short little gem of a novel and expanded on it to make something even better.
I almost wish I had read the book first. Almost. Because the Robert De Niro character in the movie is not found in the book and he is by far my favorite. But maybe if I had read the book first, I wouldn't love Captain Shakespeare as much - who knows. Either way, I did see the movie first, so my expectations about the book were slightly skewed.
If you haven't seen or read either, I have no idea which one to recommend first. They are both wonderful. The movie, if you can believe it, is a bit more innocent. Seems like Hollywood would take the less-than-innocent parts of the book and expand on those, but it actually improved on them in many, many ways. I think both choices are excellent and I'd like to high-five Neil Gaiman for creating a story so imaginative and wonderful that it could be expanded upon! That is not always the case. But Gaiman does it masterfully! I need to finish The Graveyard Book now - before someone makes a movie out of it.