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.

Iloveit love

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escaperealityreadbooks

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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

 

Heaven on Earth: 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

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So if you’ve been following me, you are pretty aware of my love of libraries.

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A few months back I tried to get a job at Buzzfeed, who won’t let you apply unless you create posts. So as I was racking my brain for something to write about, I decided to do a post on my favorite fictional libraries. After all:

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Sadly, it didn’t get very much interest on Buzzfeed as I would have liked. So I decided that I would repost it on here.

So here we go, my top 13 Favorite Fictional Libraries.

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13) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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Guy Montag is a fireman in the future, and as a fireman his job is to burn books. Books are now illegal, and it is up to firemen to root out the secret libraries and destroy them. After witnessing a woman willingly burn alive with her library, it gets Guy thinking about what the books contain. It begins with one book, but ends with Guy questioning everything he has ever known.

Why the library is awesome!: So we don’t actually know what is in this library, but if a person is willing to die with it you know it has to hold some amazing things. Even if the books are only valuable to the owner.

For more on Ray Bradbury, go to Friday Night Fun

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12) The Music Man

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A conman salesman, “Professor” Harold Hill (Robert Preston),  visits the town of River City, Iowa; and convinces the townspeople that the only way to save their children from becoming bad eggs, is to create a boys’ band. But where to get the instruments? From Professor Harold Hill of course! Marian, the town librarian, is a piano teacher, and the only one who could expose Professor Hill as a fraud, so Professor Hill sets out to seduce her. Along the way Professor Hill changes as he starts to care for the people he plans to con.

Why the library is awesome!: One of the musical numbers is Marian the Librarian in which Professor Hill attempts to seduce Marian by singing and dancing with her around the library. A library in which the librarian and town dance around singing? You get two in one—items to read and a show.

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11) The Cat Who… Series

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The Cat Who…Series is about amazing reporter  Jim “Qwill” Qwilleran who solves murders with the help of his cats. Qwill was a nationally-acclaimed reporter, until he became an alcoholic and lost everything. The first book, The Cat Who Read Backwards, Qwill is trying to put his life back in order and is searching for a job as a reporter. He joins the staff of the Daily Fluxion as a feature writer. After his landlord, the art critic, is killed, Qwill starts investigating with little clues pointed out by his landlord’s cat, Kao K’o Kung (Koko for short). As Qwill continues his investigations he ends up picking up another cat, Yum Yum. In The Cat Who Played Bhrams, Qwill journeys up north to the small town of Mooseville, and visits an old family friend. He ends up inheriting millions, but in order to get them, he has to remain in Moose County. This changes his life forever.

Why the library is awesome!: Qwill is an avid reader and collects as many as he can afford. When he inherits the money, he also receives a stone mansion with a giant library. It holds thousands of books from rare pieces that are worth millions to secondhand and beloved buys.

For more on The Cat Who… Series, go to The Cat Who Wrote A Blog

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10) The Breakfast Club

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So the movie begins one Saturday morning when five very different students have been sentenced with detention and are stuck with each other. We have Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), “the basket case” who just came for fun; Andrew Clark (Emilio Esteevez), “the athlete”, who recieved detention for bullying a kid; John Bender (Judd Nelson), “the criminal”, sent there because of his acting up in class;  Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald), “the princess”, caught skipping school to go shopping; Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), “the brain”, who brought a flare gun to school. At first everyone abides by their cliques, but through the course of the day they all bond together sharing their most personal secrets and working out their dysfunctions.

Why the library is awesome!: A gigantic library with multiple levels and a great sound system! Who wouldn’t want to spend their Saturdays there?

For more on The Breakfast Club, go to The Anniversary of Its Formation

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9) My Fair Lady

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Based on the play Pygmalion, this musical has Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) is disgusted with how the English butcher their English. As he is complaining, he runs into a cockney-accented, flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn). He makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering, that he will be able to teach Eliza how to speak so well that people will mistake her for a duchess. Eliza agrees to the bet as she wants to own a high class flower shop. However, they have their work cut out for them, as Professor Higgins methods are helpful, but extremely rude and harsh.

Why the library is awesome!: Henry Higgins may be rude and a jerk, but this professor has one of the best libraries. Why can’t all libraries be like this?

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8) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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In the late 19th century, something is destroying ships as they are navigating the seas, cutting huge holes in the sides and completely ruining them. Professor Aronnax, a leading marine biologist, theories that the creature destroying the ships may come from the deepest depths of the ocean, which would give it incredible strength. He joins a crew who has set out to destroy it, taking along his assistant. The ship is destroyed; but Professor Aronnax, his assistant, and whaler Ned Land survive. They find themselves on a giant submarine, the Nautilus, joining its creator Captain Nemo on a journey under the sea.

Why the library is awesome!: This library is a masterpiece as Captain Nemo had thousands of books by the greatest minds. His collection covered science, morals, philosophy, and literature-in every language.

Professor Aronnax: “I thank you for having placed this library at my disposal. It contains treasures…and I shall profit by them.”

For more on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, go to Episode VI: Return of the Favorite Movie Lines List

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7) The Mummy (1999)

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In 1290 B.C. Egypt, a high priest Imhotep is caught having an affair with the Pharaoh’s woman. He is put through all the death rites, while still alive, and buried in Hamunaptra. Fast forward to 1932, a French Foreign Legion officer, Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser), finds himself in Hamunaptra, but lost in the desert. Three years later, librarian Evie (Rachel Weisz) is approached by her treasure-hunter brother Jonathan, with an artifact that he thinks will lead him to Hamunaptra. They pick up Rick O’Connell as a guide, and find the city. As they search for treasure they discover the mummy, and accidentally awaken him.

Why the library is awesome!: Even though Evie makes a mess, most of us book lovers wouldn’t mind putting the library she worked at back together as it would allow us to check out all those books. Plus it holds a map to a lost city that holds the Book of Life and the Book of the Dead.

For more on The Mummy (1999), go to Part X: The Movie List That Would NOT Die!

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6) Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade

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In this Indiana Jones adventure, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is on the search for his dad (Sean Connery) and the Holy Grail. His father had been searching for the artifact and disappeared, causing Indy to pick up the trail. He picks up where his dad left off in Venice with Dr. Elsa Schneider, discovering a clue to the Grail. He continues from there to save his dad on the Austria-Hungary border, and discovers a betrayal stebbing all the way from the Nazis

Why the library is awesome!: You have a library that has spiral staircases, stain glass windows, and secret treasure underneath. How cool is that? It does rest over the graves of dead bodies…BUT you hold a key to finding the Holy Grail! That’s a great tradeoff.

For more on Indiana Jones, go to And Away We Go

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5) The Swan Princess

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Derek and Odette were arranged to be married when they were babies. Every summer Odette and her father would visit Derek and his mother in order to get the two to become friends and hopefully, fall in love. The two dislike each other as they don’t like playing with each other. They reach the marriageable age, but Derek messes up with Odette as he tells her that beauty is the only thing that matters. As he runs after them to make up for his stupidity, Odette is captured by an evil wizard and her father killed. The wizard wants Odette to marry him so he can have her kingdom, but Odette says she will never marry the wizard and is turned into a swan, only to become human when the moon touches the pond. Derek searches for Odette and trains himself to be able to handle it. When Derek discovers Odette, the two have to find a way to save her and change her to human.

Why the library is awesome!: So we only see this library for one scene in the film and it rivals that of Beauty and the Beast. Multiple levels, spiral staircases, and incredibly tall ladders to reach everything.

For more on The Swan Princess, go to You Should Write a Book

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4) Harry Potter Series

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Harry Potter discovers that he is a wizard and goes to Hogwarts School, learning magic spells, potions, and having to fight all kinds of creatures.

Why the library is awesome!: Think of all the magical knowledge within in this place? How awesome would it be to roam these stacks and unlock that. Really explains why Hermione likes to spend so much time there.

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For more on Harry Potter, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi3) Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Buffy is a teenage girl that discovers she is a slayer. She’s equipped with certain abilities that allow her to take down all kinds of monsters-demons, vampires, etc.

Why the library is awesome!: You have a library that holds tons of books for school along with almost anything on the supernatural. Not to mention it doubles as a training area that holds all kinds of weapons. What else do you need?

For more on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, go to Simply Fantastic

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2) The Sandman Chronicles

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The Sandman Chronicles follows the story of the sandman, or Dream. He was captured and imprisoned, but manages to escape after years, and then has to right his dominion and the rest of the world. These series combines Christianity, mythology, Shakespeare, and more.

Why the library is awesome!: The library in Dreaming holds every book ever dreamt of, even those that were never written. How awesome would it be to roam those stacks?

For more on The Sandman Chronicles, go to Dreaming of the Sandman 

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1) Beauty and the Beast

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Belle loves to read and finds it hard to relate to anyone in her town. Her father goes out of town on business and gets lost, staying over at a castle he finds. He upsets the owner and is kept prisoner, that is until Belle offers herself in her father’s place.

Why the library is awesome!: Do I really need to explain how awesome this library is? I’m sure every book lover has fallen in love with it. Multiple levels, spiral staircases, and comfy chairs in front of the fireplace-it’s a dream come true.

Yep:

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For more on Beauty and the Beast, go to You’re Doing It Wrong

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Yep these are some of the greatest libraries ever, and I hope the one I create is even a fraction of these.

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For more on libraries, go to When in Doubt

For more book filled posts, go to Taking in Strays

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Perfectly Imperfect

For more quizzes, go to Fandom Love