Ep. 7. There are always two sides to a story

When characters become part of our collective consciousness, their stories transcend time and place, and their tales get told and retold. It is also often that these stories are reimagined and recounted from the point of view of another character, sometimes the villains, making for some entertaining and creative books.

Photo by Ed Robertson

    Original: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

You might change your mind about how wicked the witch is if you get to know her side of the story and her reasons for becoming evil. Maguire takes us to Oz again, this time before Dorothy arrives, and let us peek behind the curtain. 
Maguire's book is the inspiration for the popular Broadway musical Wicked, which is entertaining, funny, and endearing. When the musical showed in San Antonio, the San Antonio Current published an article with recipes inspired by the show and its characters. We particularly like the Emerald City Martini from Reel Mama and the Green Cauldron Fondue from Betty Crocker

Emerald City Martini

    Original: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The final scene of the original book mentions, obscurely, a maid observing from the shadows. Valerie Martin used this maid, Mary Reilly,  to give us her account of the story. As the book progresses, Mary becomes more and more involved in Dr. Jekyll's tortured life and her recount makes the story even spookier than the original. 
There is a movie adaptation of the book from 1996 starring Julia Roberts. John Malkovich, and Glenn Close. You can watch the trailer here.

    Original: Beowulf

Now is the time for the monster to tell the story. Grendel, the mythical creature from the Beowulf, shows his philosophical evolution through his stream of consciousness. Full of symbolism and redemptive value, this book is good bibliotherapy for astounding reflection. 

    Original: Jane Eyre

We are all familiar with Jane and Mr. Rochester, and the madwoman in the attic. But who was she before marrying her husband? Rhys tells us the story of Antoinette, a girl living in colonial Jamaica amidst rumors of family madness, before she gets married to Rochester and departs to Victorian England. When Antoinette tells her side of the story, Mr. Rochester is not painted in much of a favorable light.
For lovers of Wide Sargasso Sea and Rhys, Two Crows Quill Shop has created a portrait of Jean Rhys made with the text from the book.
This week, for Book vs. Book we have a double feature. The first two contestants are The Penelopiad and Circe, titles written from the point of view of two women who loved Odysseus. 

    Original: The Odyssey

In Homer's Odyssey, Penelope is Odysseus' faithful wife, who is left alone in Ithaca for 20 years when Odysseus goes off to the trojan war. While in Ithaca, she has to manage the country, raise Telemachus, and keep the suitors at bay. In Atwood's book, now it is the time for Penelope to tell the story. 

    Original: The Odyssey

In Homer's Odyssey, Circe meets Odysseus when he arrives in her island, Aiaia after a shipwreck. Circe, who is a witch and the daughter of Helios and an ocean nymph, convert Odysseus' men into pigs during their stay in Aiaia. When Circe is the one who tells the story in Miller's book, Odysseus and his men are painted in a different light from the original work.
If Circe enchant you in the page, you can take a trip to Italy and visit the Grotta della Maga Circe in San Felice Circeo (the island believed to be the mythical Aiaia).
Grotta della Maga Circe by yoursailor.com
If the trip is not an option, you can light Circe's Exile candle from FrostBeard Studio for a staycation.
For the second book battle, we have two books from the Neverland Universe: Tiger Lily and Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook

    Original: Peter Pan

Here, Tinkerbell narrates the love story between Peter Pan and Tiger Lily, who faced obstacles for their love in Neverland, but none prove bigger than the arrival of Wendy Darling.  

    Original: Peter Pan

What if Hook is not so heartless? What did really happened between him and Peter Pan? Christina Henry invites us to see Neverland as it was experienced by young Hook, who got to grow up after all.

    Original: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Most of us are familiar with charming Huckleberry Finn and his adventures. This time John Clinch narrates to us Finn's story from the adults perspective, and the dark personality of Finn's father is brought to the forefront. We decided to review this book in just six words, and here it is: Huck's trials before his river adventures. If you would like to share yours with us, you can do so in our Six-Word Review page.

    Original: Alice's in Wonderland

Meyer imagines a prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland where the Queen of Hearts is still young, loves to bake, and has a secret love affair with the court jester. We have chosen the cover of the 2018 paperback edition, whimsical yet minimalistic, for our Cover Gallery.

2018 Paperback edition by Square Fish

This week, in keeping with the theme, we selected a fairy tale told from the perspective of the villain for our GuessWork. Its first line goes: "Suppers at the royal court have become entirely too oppressive" If you know the title, visit our page and let us know. 

If you know of other retellings from a different perspective, let us know in the comments.

To buy books covered in this episode, visit our TBR Bundles


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