Re-releases = re-writing?

I’m not done reading my current book yet, so instead I’ll use “Fiction Friday” as an excuse to gripe about how this week I learned:

a) Lauren Myracle’s Internet Girls series is celebrating its 10th anniversary! (I was the same age as the characters when I read them in high school)

b) To celebrate said milestone, they’re being re-released…and they’ve been updated.

Here’s what her website says:

“It’s time for a new generation of readers to discover the phenomenally bestselling and beloved series, told entirely in messages and texts. With a fresh look and updated cultural references, the notorious list-topping series is ready for the iPhone generation. […] Lauren Myracle explores the many potholes of teenagedom with the unflinching honesty and pitch-perfect humor that made this series a staple of young adult literature

The original editions.

I don’t really get the logic behind updating a “staple of young adult literature”. The very word “staple” seems to imply that most young adults – regardless of generation – can (should) read and relate to it, right?

Naturally, I had to read the excerpts; the updated references are fairly obvious when you think about what/who was around 10 years ago i.e. now they use Twitter and Instagram. They used to listen to Snow Patrol and watch A Cinderella Story; now they listen to Mumford & Sons and watch Bridesmaids. (I haven’t seen Bridesmaids yet, but it doesn’t really seem analogous with A Cinderella Story. Just sayin’.).

Authors are constantly re-releasing books with new covers in the hopes of attracting a new audience. Judy Blume is doing it soon (the covers are by Debbie Ridpath Ohi and if you haven’t read I’m Bored, which she illustrated, please do so immediately. You’re welcome). It’s just a fact and people accept that there are always going to be new editions of old books. But would people still be complacent if the plots of these classics were updated to reflect our current lifestyle?

What if Fudge swallows Peter’s mp3 player? What if Beezus blogs about her life as Ramona’s sister? What if Anne posts a selfie and Gilbert comments “Carrots!” on it? What if Flowers in the Attic is reworked so that it’s not the incest that’s shocking, it’s the fact they survived for three years without WiFi?!

I’m being very melodramatic, but there’s something about these books being updated that bothers me, probably because I read/loved them (if I’d never heard of them, it wouldn’t be such a big deal). I’m not trying to be one of those whiny entitled fans who thinks that because I read the books when they first came out, Myracle owes it to me – to her original fanbase – to keep the stories the same. She doesn’t owe me anything, these updates don’t affect my initial enjoyment of the books, and if she wants to write a book for the next generation, well, that’s kinda her job so all power to her.

Mostly, I think it’s silly that she chose to RE-WRITE her pre-existing series when she could have just as easily written a NEW series (NEW characters! NEW plot! NEW cultural references!). Generally when classics are “updated” (i.e. Jane Austen parodies, books based on classic novels), they’re not being re-written by the original author, they’re being written by someone else who’s going to look at the characters/plot with a fresh (modern) perspective.

There are so many unwritten stories in the world floating in peoples’ heads…it just seems like a waste to keep reworking the same series over and over instead of tackling something new.

Side note: who the frack is part of the “iPhone generation” and do we know if they’re actually gonna put down their electronics long enough to read a book?

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