I respectfully reject your rejection.

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Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

I’m trying something new and radical this year: I’m choosing to believe in myself instead of waiting for someone else to do it.

…Okay, that might not sound that radical in the year of our Lord 2021, when Oprah and self-help books and Instagram influencers have been preaching for years the power of positivity and believing in yourself.

But my path to this point has been a long and arduous journey.

I am someone who simultaneously craves validation while pursuing life goals that come with a lot of rejection. The biggest of those goals is…


Throwing fidelity out the window

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Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

When we think of adaptations we love, we might reason that it’s because it remains “faithful” to the book. In post 1 and 2 of this series, I’ve talked about why the term “faithful” can be tricky when talking about adaptations, since our ideas about fidelity can be influenced by so many outside factors.

But today I want to focus on something different — namely, the adaptations we enjoy precisely because they offer a different experience from the book.

This enjoyment can stem from a number of reasons. Maybe we didn’t like the book, but…


Retellings as reminders

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Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

I remember reading and loving the original Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin, carefully saving up birthday and Christmas money to buy the next installments. At one point, I owned hundreds of the books, but in a rash attempt to show how grownup I was, gave them all away to a younger cousin. (Who, I believe, also gave them away shortly thereafter)

Despite my childhood devotion to the series, very little of the books remain embedded in my memory. I can remember the essentials of the main characters, a few stray story lines, and a rabid…


Racebending and Revisionist Fantasies

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Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Have you heard of a little show called Hamilton? Not many people have, so let me break it down for you. The musical, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, follows the life of Alexander Hamilton through the American Revolutionary War and beyond, using — of all things — rap.

After winning a bunch of Tonys and basically taking over Broadway, it recently began airing on Disney+ and now everybody’s talking about it again.

A lot of that chatter has been positive, and some of it has been critical. More specifically, Hamilton has been called to task for ignoring…


Retellings of classic literature as time capsules

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Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

Sorry if this disappoints, but this isn’t an article where I argue the merits of which Little Women adaptation wore it best. In this series, I’m less interested in ranking films than thinking through what it is that makes us connect with one adaptation more than another.

The easy answer to this, and one I hear most often, is “because it was faithful to the book.” Sounds simple enough. Of course we prefer the adaptation that most closely captures our experience with reading a book we love.

The problem is that the term…


Why we benefit from retellings

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Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

If you want to really inflame a group of book lovers, start up a conversation about adaptations. Most will have that adaptation, one that just didn’t do their beloved book justice.

E.g. — Can you believe they cut out that integral plotline from your favorite wizarding series? How dare they cast that guy as the hunky vampire? They clearly didn’t understand your favorite character and why she and her dragons should have ruled the seven kingdoms. Etcetera.

I’m guessing you’ve had an experience like this at some point in your life. And so have I…

Elizabeth Gilliland Rands

Writer, Mom, Wife, English Instructor, Dr., Chocoholic. Co-founder of Bayou Wolf Press and the Detours Ahead podcast: www.bayouwolfpress.com

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