She Struck Him as a Fixer-Upper, a Block of Clay Ready for Pygmalion’s Chisel: The Overnight Socialite

Day 18) R is for Remake: Choose a Book that is a Retelling of a Classic

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The Overnight Socialite by Bridie Clark

I was in the college campus bookstore because I needed to buy some scantrons and decided to look around as my friend’s birthday was coming up. She is really into being environmentally friendly, so I was looking at the recycled products when I spotted one of my favorite things: Clearance Books. You know how I feel about that.

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I didn’t really see anything that I was interested in or would be a good gift for my friend. As I pushed the books around I spotted this one.

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The first thing that intrigued me was the cover and how the hair is butterflies. I flipped the back over and read that it was a retelling of Pygmalion, the story most would recognize as its musical form My Fair Lady.

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I thought it sounded interesting and was reduced to a good price, but I felt like I couldn’t buy it as I didn’t have the extra money for myself and was supposed to be shopping for my friend. So I left it behind.

I don't need it.

I don’t need it.

Later I began thinking about it.

Good job screenwriters.

I just couldn’t get it off my mind so I ended up looking for it in the library.

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But they didn’t have it!

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But I was able to ILL (Inter Library Loan) it and I got it from another place.

Double double yay

I then read the story and quickly loved it, finding it hard to put down.

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Now you know how I feel about remakes and sequels:

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But this was nothing like that. I thought this book was absolutely amazingly written and was incredible in retelling the story.

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Background:

So the original play Pygmalion takes place during Victorian Era England. Eliza Doolittle is a woman from the lower classes who sells flowers to survive. She comes upon an angry Professor Henry Higgins, an aristocrat, who is appalled at how her cockney butches the English language. He makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he could take Eliza, teach her how to talk eloquently, and she would be able to pass off as a wealthy woman. He never imagined that Eliza would take up his offer, but she does and Col. Pickering insists on them continuing the bet.

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Plot Synopsis:

In this version, we are in modern day Manhattan. Wyatt Hayes IV is from an old family stock, high in the community, and biological anthropologist with his doctoral degree from Harvard. He is bored with his life and stalled career, and disgusted with the way that these modern Manhattanites conduct themselves. More like the Kardashians, taking every bit of limelight they can, rather than being the Jackie Onassis.

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He breaks up with his longtime girlfriend, Cornelia, as all she cares about is becoming a “brand” and working on her “career” as a socialite.

That guy!

He heads over to his favorite bar to hang out with his friend Trip Peters, fellow Gothamite and complains that these women today, are just like the animals he’s studied.

Or them

Or them

Meanwhile, Lucy Jo Ellis is the daughter of a manicurist in Milwaukee. She came to New York in the hopes of becoming a fashion designer; but has barely been able to scrape by on her pay as an assistant seamstress for a designer. She believes she is given her dream when she is gifted an invitation at the designer’s fashion show, but that turns out to be a call for assisting in catering and does not go well.

ouch Hermione

Fired, and with zero options and no money; it looks like Lucy is headed back to Milwaukee.

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Wyatt muses on this thought of society women like the animal kingdom, and as he drinks decides it is the perfect project for him…for a book! He could take any average woman and using his knowledge of the animal kingdom and New York socialites; he could change her into the top debutante.

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A chance meeting with Lucy, as she is trying to make her way home, he bets he can turn her into the top socialite.

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Lucy reacts like any normal girl would, and freaks out thinking that he is crazy or trying to pick her up. She takes off.

I'm getting out of here

I’m getting out of here

However, with no possibilities coming her way and living on her last dollar she decides to take Wyatt up on his crazy experiment. Wyatt is eager for this to work as he has his book deal, which he has not told Lucy anything about (bad idea)

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And Lucy believes that when she becomes a socialite she can use that to create bonds with the right people, finding a new designer to work with or possibly even start out on her own.

Double double yay

Will Wyatt be able to make due on his bet and turn her into a real lady?

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Or will the whole plan flop?

Not good

Not good

Will Lucy be able to score her dream job?

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Or will she become the laughingstock of the upper crust and be kicked out of New York City?

And run fast

And run fast

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How Does It Compare?:

I thought the characters were amazingly well done and I loved how the book was able to follow the map of the original story; but at the same time infuse it with their own style and create a new-old tale.

Some changes that the author, Clark, made , I felt enhanced the story. She added a girlfriend for Wyatt’s Professor Higgen’s character, being the catalyst for his bet. She is shallow, vain, and only cares about her image; being the foil for Lucy.

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We also have a girlfriend for Trip (the Col. Pickering character), being Eloise. Eloise is a personal shopper/stylist ad gets recruited to assist in dress and makeup for Lucy. The two become fast friends and we become invested in her and her distress over Trip’s lack of commitment.

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Clark also extends the characters of the Eynsford-Hill family; the mother, daughter Clara, and son Freddy (Max in the book). Mrs. Eynsford-Hill is a social climber; trying to overcome her family’s downfall by trying to marry her children up. Her daughter is closer to the mother while Freddy is ruled by both women in his life. In the play, they treat Eliza poorly when they see her as a peasant, Freddy later becoming one of her biggest admirers, falling in love with her. In a way they are seen as Eliza’s accomplishments; so well trained in being a lady they don’t even realize she is the same women from before.

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In this book we spend a lot of time in their head and learn that Clara wishes to have wealth and fortune, but is willing to put that aside for love and true happiness. Freddy, Max in this book, isn’t interested in continuing “wall street business” but is more comfortable creating things and doing capentry. He has a lot more to him, and eventually strikes out on his own. He later becomes a love interest for Eloise, who is tired of Trip’s stalling.

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I thought this was a fantastic read and highly recommend it.

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To star the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to A Quest of Swords and Wizards: The Crown Conspiracy

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For more retelling classic literature, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more modern remakes, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

For more on Oprah Winfrey, go to I Have A Problem

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Today’s Christmas carol is Silver Bells. It was written in 1950 and composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. At first it was called Tinkle Bells, until Livingston pointed out the other meaning of tinkle.

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There is a big conflict as to where the idea came from. Livingston was quoted saying the idea came from hearing the Salvation army bells, while Evans said it was a bell on their desk. Oh well, it doesn’t really matter as a great song came out of either source.

The song was orginally sung by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in The Lemon Drop Kid, but the first official release of the song was done Bing Crosby and Carol Richards.

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For more Bing Crosby, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

For more Christmas Carols, go to So You’re the Little Woman Who Wrote the Book that Made this Great War: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

 

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What Are Your Priorities

Books are the most important things out there.

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I mean seriously, they rank high on my priority list.

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I mean they are some of the most important things out there:

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After all:

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For more of my love of books, go to Not a Priority

For more book-filled posts, go to I Must Stay Strong

I Must Stay Strong

So the other day I went to the bookstore, and you know how much I love that.

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But this time I had a plan. I had far too many books at home that I had yet to read; so I wasn’t going to buy myself anything, just birthday shop for my friend.

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But then when I started looking I found all these books half off.

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So I grabbed a bunch I liked along with some potentials for my friend. But then I looked at the bargain books. They were beautiful hardcover classics and oh, my I wanted them all.

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So there I was with stacks of books, looking and wanting them all.

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Nothing else I seem to have this problem, except with books.

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But then reality hit me. I already needed more shelf space, and really have books spilling everywhere.

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So I did one of the hardest things, I had to put some of the books back.

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Instead I bought one book, a selection of stories from One Thousand and One Nights, in a beautiful hardcover book for only $8.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

I then bought a copy of Tarzan of the Apes for $2.50; a steal of a deal.

Double double yay

But then I had to do something with all the books I wasn’t taking home. So I stacked them on top of each other and carried them around the store putting them back. One of the employees saw me and asked if I needed a cart, but said no I was putting things back. He was worried about me carrying so many. But I was like I work in a library, I do heavy lifting like this all the time.

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Because you know, that’s how I roll.

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For more book-filled posts, go to One Hot Date

For more on bookstores, go to Walk My Way

Speed Racer

So I’m sure you were expecting this.

But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m taking about the type of racing, the sport I excel at.
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We only have a limited time on this planet. Not only are there books over 500 years old, but new ones being written everyday.

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So much.

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Sometimes it hurts to look at my to-read list. Or when I go in a bookstore or library.

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It’s true, there probably not enough time in my life to read everything I wish. But as long as I try, it’s worth it.
Reading

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For more Dr. Seuss, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more book-filled posts, go to Drug of Choice

For more quotes, go to Normal is Boring

Stranded for Good

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I read this book  once about a girl getting stranded in the library and I used to hope something like that would happen to me. Being stranded in a library or bookstore may sound crazy to some but:

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Like in the movie The Day After Tomorrow, when they are all trapped in the library, that would be absolutely perfect for me.

MeanGirls I know right!

I mean except for the deathly, freezing temperatures; that’s like a dream come true.

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Yep that would be pure bliss.

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For more book-filled posts, go to Smells S’Wonderful

Dream Location, Dream Guy

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Yep dreaming of this day:

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After all:

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And come on guys, we all know this is a fact.

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Right? Although they better not try to approach me when I’m reading or else nothing is going to happen. Yes, wait until I’ve finished with the chapter.

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For more book filled posts, go to Tea Time

The Biggest Bill You Should Be Paying

Boy Meets World Problem

I do have a problem. I can’t stop buying books. Even when I have no room for them.

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No matter what arguments I make, I end up taking at least one book home.

bksBut hey, what better thing to spend your money on, right?

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I wholeheartedly agree!

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For more on C.S. Lewis, go to Simply Fantastic

For more book filled posts, go to I Have a Problem

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Right to Vote

I Have A Problem

Boy Meets World Problem

I have an addiction

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Yep books are a drug and my life long addiction.

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I try to fight it, but…

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But I just can’t seem to stop…

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Who am I kidding?

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I can’t fight it any longer.

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For more bookish posts, go to It’s Fantastico!

For more of my fav quotes, go to Color Blind

Taking in Strays

I have a problem:

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I just take in too many strays.

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That comic pretty much describes my life. You see:

Adoption

 

They need a home and I am more than willing to open my doors and shelves to them. If you actually tallied up all the money I’ve spent through the years on books, it would be thousands of dollars.  Say it loud and say it proud:

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Even though I have more than I can read, I buy more and more and more. 😦

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For more bookish posts, go to The Many Reincarnations of Me