Monday, April 11, 2011
Some stories need to be retold to each generation. Publishers and Studios love doing this because it's guaranteed sales/money, right? It worked before so it should work again. But what about you? Do you get exhausted hearing the same old stuff?

In Ally Condie's debut MATCHED, she touches upon this a little, though I'm not sure it was entirely her intention. In her dystopian future, only 100 works of literature are chosen to represent the past, only 100 pieces of music are available for listening to in their social hours. Their rec. time is scheduled and there's only so much choice.

But there's one character who goes to listen to the music every day after work. He finds something different in it each and every time. What a gorgeous sentiment. (Just another reason why this book is in my list of favs). For sure, some things are worth re-telling over and over again.

At the moment, it seems to be fairytales. Any theories on why this is so popular? I haven't seen the remake of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, but I have to say that when I saw the trailer, I was really geeked for it. So many books are coming out this year (and are apparently flooding agents' inboxes) that give a new spin on an old classic.

Do we really want the same stories over and over again? I know that I love certain kinds of tales, but I also want them to be fresh and original. Very difficult task. What's your favourite retelling of an old classic (movie or book)?

p.s. Don't forget to enter yourself for the 3-book giveaway, by leaving a comment on our previous post. Winners announced May 2nd. Thanks, Sarah. xx


Kristan said...

Confession: I've heard the Red Riding Hood movie isn't very good. But I'd be willing to see it at the discount theater!

Do I get exhausted hearing/reading the same stuff? Well, it depends. If it's done well, then no. I mean, myths and fairytales and fables have been around forever -- and some people even argue that EVERY story is a variation on one of about 7 total "templates." Agree or disagree, it's easy to see the overlaps and similarities.

But each and every time, the writing has to be good, and the story should be made relevant to its time. Like Clueless as a remake of Jane Austen's EMMA. Perfect example of a modernization! (Don't know if it's my fave, but it's up there.)

So, as you said, retellings CAN be wonderful -- so long as they are "fresh and original." Of course, that's easier said than done. (Isn't everything? :P)

Juliann Wetz said...

I go back and forth as to whether I like re-tellings of fairytales. Which is a little ironic, since I’ve written some. (Ironic or hypocritical?) But I think what I do like about it is that I’m already familiar with the characters and the new re-tellings often offer a surprise to an otherwise tired story.

Dawn said...

I love the retelling of fairytales, as long as they are done well, as Kristan said. I just reviewed "Entwined" and absolutely loved that she didn't really modernize it, but made it her own.

On the whole "Red Riding Hood" movie - as soon as I saw the trailer, I thought 'isn't that based on that game where you're either a villager or a werewolf?' So I wasn't impressed and will wait for it to come to

We Heart YA said...

Kristan and Dawn, I agree about RED RIDING HOOD, but I think it was the idea that really drew me in. I heard about the bad reviews so I, too, will be waiting for redbox.
Retelling fairytales is not really new, but it seems to be booming right now. I'm fascinated.
Stephanie is reading ENTWINED so I'm eagerly awaiting to hear what she thinks, but will definitely check out your review, Dawn.

Juliann, thanks for commenting on both sites. :) I too go back and forth (I'm an indecisive Libra, after all), but you've got a good point--you don't really have to establish the base for the story/characters. You have the advantage to tap into people's assumptions and turn them on their head. Fun!

p.s. My favourite retelling right now is Disney's "Tangled." I heart Rapunzel and Eugene Fitzherbert.
Sarah xx

Dawn said...

Ahhh - "Tangled" was adorable! My whole family went to see it for my birthday! Yes, my 44th

Unknown said...

I think the re-telling of stories is kind of magical. It’s been in our culture for so long. If you think about it the first stories weren’t written down; they were just passed on by word of mouth. And each time a new person told the story, it was altered from its original form, simply because it was impossible to remember each and every word. For me, these modifications are one of the reasons the re-telling of stories appeals to me. I know I like the basic premise of the story, I’ve heard it before. But maybe this new version will put the characters in a new situation that tells me more about their motivations and how they feel. Maybe there’s an additional layer to the story that needs to be brought to light. And no matter what, when a story is retold it always hints at what is important to readers during the current time period. I think the re-telling of stories is important to our culture, it shows where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Excited about this blog! It’s such a great idea!

Unknown said...

Natalie, LOVE what you have to say. "When a story is retold it always hints at what is important to readers during the current time period" Yes! And the retelling of stories is kind of like participating in the story of says so much about us "where we've been and where we're going."
Joseph Campbell talks a lot about this in his books THE POWER OF MYTH and HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES. It makes me feel like I'm a modern sage or something! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.

Priya said...

I enjoy reading fairytale retellings just because it's so interesting to see how each author takes a story and makes it his/her own. And I LOVED Tangled as well - it's now my favorite Disney movie!

Lauren said...

Like Priya said, I also enjoy reading retellings. The one off the top of my head is Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman. It's the story of Hades & Persephone. There's a new book called the Goddess Test that also includes their story, but more. I think its really cool to see authors different perspectives on stories and fairytales.

This isn't a fairytale, but it's about a retelling that I'm interested in. The book is called Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray; it's a retelling of Hamlet, told by Ophelia's point of view. Now, I've never read Hamlet, but I think by reading this updated version will give me a jist of what the original was actually like. Judging by the reviews, it will probably not compare to Shakespeare's, but it's fun to see the characters 'new and improved'.

Thanks for following; I'll definitely catch up with this site as much as I can! And adorable background :)

We Heart YA said...

Lauren and Priya (gorgeous name), thanks for your comments. Absolutely agree that it's just so interesting to see an author take a classic and make it their own.
I am going to look into RADIANT DARKNESS and THE GODDESS TEST because mythology is one of my favourite things...there is a series of books that I read where famous writers took on retelling a myth and they were so good. I think I still need to get a few, but Margaret Atwood did one and Jeanette Winterson. Good stuff. must read it one day. It's definitely one of the more "accessible" Shakesperean plays. Thanks for all these recommendations! Ophelia is a great character, so seeing her story imagined would be amazing! Hamlet's a bit of a spoiled ninny, but nevermind. :)
Sarah xx

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



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The Bitter Kingdom
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Mind Games
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Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
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The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
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