I am a monstrous fan of retellings.
And I say “monstrous” here not because I have have scary talons or evil hair, but I say “monstrous” in reference to Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendek where a monster says “I’LL EAT YOU UP I LOVE YOU SO”. And that not my aesthetic. Like it = eat it.
I want all the retellings for my lunch.
Unfortunately “all the retellings of ever” DO NOT EXIST. Because some people missed the memo that their queen (me) has decreed these books to be written (right now) and since they haven’t been written I’m forced to write this post, stamp my foot thrice, and probably devour the sun while I wait in righteous indignation.
You see, I don’t just want fairy tale retellings, I want all types of retellings. Historical retellings make my heart beat faster. Classic novel retellings make my soul do the polka in anticipation. The same goes for folklore and myth retellings! But whyyyyyy? Why am I so obsessed with retellings? SIT TIGHT, I HAVE A MINI LIST.
- It’s a new spin on an old story so it has a homey, comfortable feel and a “oooh I know where this is going” feel which is pleasant.
- It actually encourages me to the read the original and I’m mostly ALLERGIC to classics.
- Seriously I break out in symptoms like (A) panic (B) what is that word (C) are they speaking English, and (D) why am I doing this.
- Very unfortunate.
- Seeing how authors weave new and old together is astounding and the PLOT TWISTS THAT COME OUT OF IT ARE BETTER THAN LIQUORICE TWISTS.
- I’m already predisposed to like it, which is great because liking books = my favourite hobby.
A long time ago when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I wrote a wishlist of historical retellings I need. Today I’m listing 10 classic retellings I want to read but don’t exist yet. And I’ll link up with Top Ten Tuesday for their “freebie” prompt. Which is just rude because they expect ME to make my OWN ideas????? How can I break rules (which is my 2nd favourite hobby) if I’m the one making the rules???? THE INJUSTICE.
But yet we shall move forward and prevail.
1. THE SECRET GARDEN
I have mentioned this before, but every time I think about it I GET SO RABIDLY INSPIRED that someone needs to write a retelling of this. Immediately. I volunteer. But not immediately because I’m drowning in book idea as I’ve perhaps mentioned.
But just imagine…
- creepy garden that likes to eat people
- mysterious houses of hidden children…or ghosts?
- cranky heroine who’s been ripped from her family because she’s actually a wizard and will accidentally make the garden come back to life
- scones and tea probably because it’d have to be somewhat a British story and I’d get somewhat hungry reading it.
2. ROBINSON CRUSOE
Okay truth: I ACTUALLY LOATHED THIS BOOK IN HIGHSCHOOL. But apparently hating a book is very good inspiration for figuring out how you’d like it to be instead. The original is so racist (all classics are really racist yikes) and it drove me to carving a canoe out of a tree using only a spork for tools, and then sailing to Crusoe’s island and slapping him.
I still think a retelling of this would be fantastic. Particularly if we set it in space, made Crusoe a girl, and abandoned them on some galactic planet that wants to eat them alive. Unless Friday still wants to eat them alive? Because everyone likes a little cannibalism. Light taste snack yum yum. *
* I’M KIDDING. I NEVER WANT TO READ ABOUT CANNIBALISM AGAIN BECAUSE I HAVE AND IT WAS TRAUMATIC AND GROSS AND NO.
3. A CHRISTMAS CAROL
The most awesome thing about this tome is: GHOSTS. I should also explain I have a mild infatuation with ghosts for no reason that is logical or sane. I just like them! They’re so tragic and deadly! Best combo.
- a teen boy of a dark and miserable manor whose family gets murdered
- he decides to travel through time to find someone who’ll raise them from the dead
- HIS TIME TRAVEL COMPANIONS WILL BE OTHER GHOSTS
- and of course he’s rich and miserly because #Scrooge
- and he can fall in love with a frog on the way …
oh wait that’s the Muppet’s Christmas Carol not Dicken’s
4. BLACK BEAUTY
If your first thought was not “OMG CAIT!!! MAN EATING HORSES!!” than obviously I’ve failed at raising you. Because HELLO MAN EATING HORSES!!! This would work so so well with paranormal twists with evil horses that get bought and sold through slavery (they could even shape-shift!) until they break free of slavery and EAT ALL THE PEOPLE. Or, well, become a strong proud race that fights for equality?
(Or they could eat all the people…)
5. THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER
Many of you pineapple smoothies are not from Australia so you might not recognise this one. I shall explain in brief! It’s about (A) a poem by a famous ancient Aussie, (B) where a dude saddles up a horse and rides down a really steep mountain to round up some stallions to save his name (I think) (C) which is really stupid and everyone should’ve died, (D) there’s a movie go watch it, (E) and it’s about horses and the bush and mountains and forbidden romance and death. SO OBVIOUSLY I LIKE.
An ideal retelling would include…
- Possibly demon horses from the snow lands
- Where people sell them on the blackmarket but have to go into like an Arctic type setting with dangerous goblin infested glaciers to capture them.
- Don’t tell me goblins don’t like snow. YOU DON’T KNOW IF YOU HAVEN’T ASKED THEM.
- We could have a boy (or girl! The girl from snowy river!) trying to capture snowy demon horses to get enough money to live but ends up teaming up with them or something intelligent which I can’t think of right now BECAUSE EVERYTHING IN THIS POST IS FROM THE TOP OF MY HEAD.
- Also people fall off glaciers and die.
- Australia would be proud.
6. THE 7 LITTLE AUSTRALIANS
Again, another Aussie classic but LOOK AT ME I’M HAVING A PATRIOTIC MOMENT. (It’s nearly Australia Day so this seems fair.) But this is an excellent children’s classic about 7 bratty kids who make everyone’s life a horror with their tricks and mischief and mayhem. It ends so so badly that Small-Young-Cait never read the last 4 chapters because they made her so sad. That’s back when she had a heart.
Why is she talking about herself in 3rd person? No one knows.
But if we let these children be evil mischievous cute and fluffy faeries who act as changelings and kidnap children and take their places to cause havoc — OH AND IN A MODERN SETTING — this would be delightful. There’s nothing more fun than ancient faeries being children and trying to figure out a toaster.
7. HUCKLEBERRY FINN
I didn’t get along well reading Tom Sawyer in my wayward youth, but Huck was so TRAGIC and I have a small tendency to be entire mush with tragic boys in books. All you basically need is a raft trip (again, LESS RACIST THANKS) and cruel parents. It’d be actually fantastic if this was really diverse and also steampunk with rivers of oil and stuff. Just sayin’.
8. THE 100 DRESSES
Has anyone heard of this one??? Just me??? WELL, IF SO: just know it’s a children’s classic about a Polish girl who draws dresses but is too poor to own one and everyone at school is mean to her..and I swear it’s better than I just made it sound. I thinks he disappears tragically at the end?
Anyway, can you imagine:
- magical dresses that turn you into whoever you want to be
- so then you can travel around the world stealing things by turning into other people
- or like steal a throne
- or a whole kingdom too maybe
- and have identity crises because they’re fun to read about with people with too many identities
- and it could be super magical and gorgeous and contain genteel stabbing.
9. AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
Obviously “the world” is kind of dull so “the galaxy” is actually what we need here. I would also vote for this to be a thief story, but have I suggested turning like EVERY classic on this list to either DARK or THIEVING? If so: oops. But what if two thieves had a contest to see who could get around the galaxy fastest and steal the most things? They could be enemies THAT FALL IN LOVE. Aliens in the background. Planets exploding. Guardians of the Galaxy meets Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles.
You need it. I need it. My bookshelf needs it. My dog needs it. My eyeballs request it twice.
10. CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG
DID ANYONE KNOW THIS WAS A BOOK BEFORE NOW?! Because I didn’t. I was googling around for what makes a classic (apparently it’s 70 years until the book is in the public domain and I think all of these qualify?) and discovered this was a book! I for one adored the musical. (Except for the child catcher who freaked me out so much I think Small-Cait died and this is a ghost typing and running Paper Fury. Which would explain why I like ghosts.) And all I’m saying is there is so much potential here.
- City where children are illegal!
- Maybe because they have magical powers they grow out of when they get older.
- This would do very well as a dystopian so the magical car could be a computer system that takes care of children when the adults fail and raises them as its own, like AIDAN from Illuminae except he was killing everyone — but that’s just a small difference.
- SING WITH ME NOW “TRUUUUULY SCRUMPTIOUS. YOU TWO ARE TRULY SCRUUUUUMPTIOUS.”
- Excuse me.
- Also down with the government. Many children, running out of the shadows with their motherly computer system, taking down the evil rulers.
- It’s beautiful.
All I need to do now is kidnap some authors to write these for me.
Or I could write them, because I’m suddenly infatuated with all of these ideas at once. And I literally made them all up in half an hour while I wrote this post. MY IMAGINATION NEEDS A “CHILL OUT” SWTICH.
But that aside, I think we emphatically need more classical retellings! There are tons of Jane Austen inspired books in the world, and there’s a few Phantom of the Operas and a million Shakespeares. So why not these too!?? I have demands and an appetite and they need to be met with more than sandwiches. Although I do love sandwiches too.