Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Emma and the Vampires

Josephson, Wayne. Emma and the Vampires. (Release date: August 10, 2010)
Copy recieved from Liz Kelsch at Sourcebooks.

This is a reimagining of the Jane Austen title with the addition of vampires. Emma lives with her frail father. Since her tutor has left to marry (a vampire), she has cultured the friendship of the beautiful but poor Harriet Smith, for whom she is trying to arrange a marriage to Mr. Elton, the vicar (and a vampire). Unfortunately, Harriet tends to draw ragged, feral vampires every time she sets foot outside, so both Emma and Harriet travel with wooden stakes tie to their thighs with silk ribbons. Emma is interested in Mr. Knightly (a vampire), but gets involved with other gentlemen as well, in her attempts to fix up various friends and relatives, which cause social consternation, but all end with marriages being made satisfactorily. The language, settings, and plot of the original Emma are all preserved well, although the language is made much easier to read by Mr. Josephson, who originally rewrote this title for his daughter, who suggested that he add the vampires. There are some rollicking vampire slaying scenes. This will probably draw readers who like Austen, and introduce her work to readers who pick this up because of the inclusion on the ever popular vampire.

This book reflects a new fad for "mash up" literature; Sourcebooks also publishes Lydia Dare's A Certain Wolfish Charm and sequels that involve werewolves in Regency England. Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride Prejudice and Zombies was popular enough that it is being made into a movie. These books have not aroused any interest in my students at all, and I must say that I do not understand them in the least. I do think that Mr. Josphson's rewriting of titles such as Moby Dick and Jane Eyre for modern readers holds much more interest for me, and I will certainly look them up. Emma and the Vampires struck me as more of a high school title, which would explain why it did not appeal to me personally.

Abrahams, Peter. Bullet Point.
Wyatt is a great baseball player, but because of budget cuts and a violent stepfather, he chooses to move several hours a way to live at the house of a friend's aunt. He still can't play ball for a year, but he meets an interesting girl and, after making contact with the father he has never met who is incarcerated for murder in a nearby prison, tries to find out what really happened and clear his father's name. I am going to recommend this title to our high school librarian, because it was tremendously intriguing. but the language and the situations make this too mature for my students. (I stopped reading after Wyatt hops into bed with the girl. Sigh.)


nishitak said...

I don't know...I think there are some books that are so good, they are better left alone...and Emma is one of them.

I do think that re-writing some gothic romances with vampires and werewolves could work much better than trying to pick a gentle comedic satire.

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