I next bought the book, which I couldn't wait to get reading (I had questions from watching the movie). Naturally there are differences (as most movie adaptations have) but again, as with Howl's Moving Castle, the changes did not detract from the story. I enjoyed reading this English version of what I had only seen yet as a Japanese story.
Today I watched the English version. I cried at the end. Actually it was sooner than that, but when I began to cry it was at a very heartbreaking scene. Marnie was begging Anna for forgiveness for leaving her alone at the silo (yeah it's a wee spoiler, but I just wanted you to understand that this is the moment that I truly began to understand the point behind this story), which is that there are many kinds of grief, which shape our lives years after the loss has occurred. What Joan G. Robinson wrote is actually quite heartwarming, and is more about grief than I first realized.
It think it will become a great comfort book for me.
Grief issues aside, this is a great book and a wonderful movie. I wouldn't hesitate to buy them both.