Five Adaptations of Classic Novels We’d Love to Read

April Lindner Wuthering HeightsApril Lindner’s new book, Catherine, takes the Wuthering Heights story we all know and love, and puts a brand-new spin on it. Catherine is the daughter of a Manhattan nightclub owner; Hence is a talented musician. Will the passion of their romance last, or will they be torn apart by cruel fate?

There have been so many updates of classics in recent years (both books and movies), but we have a few more ideas for stories that could use a reboot. Take a look at our picks and vote on which adaptation you’d most like to read. Have a suggestion for an update? Leave us a note in the comments!

Louisa May AlcottLittle Women

We love this post-Civil War era novel, but it would be fun to see the March sisters during the 1960s. Just picture it: Beth as an aspiring musician who dies young (plenty of those in the sixties); Amy as a painter of protest art; Jo as a radical feminist; and Meg as the lame one who wants to be a housewife (actually, that one’s the same in both versions).

Possible title: LITTLE Women? Who Are You Calling Little?!


Mary ShelleyFrankenstein

Set far into the future, when robots are beginning to replace humans at smaller tasks, Dr. Frankenstein sets out to create a totally lifelike cyborg. He ends up building Frankenstein’s robot, a mechanical man that’s somewhere between human and machine. All the drama and suspense of the original, but with more lasers.

Possible title: Frankensteel


HomerThe Odyssey

Our reboot of Homer’s epic poem would feature Odysseus as a modern-day teenager backpacking through Europe with his best bros. He’s trying to return to his girlfriend Penelope, but he keeps getting delayed by attractive foreigners. It might sound pretty different, but we assure you, there’s the same amount of drunken revelry in both texts.

Possible title: The Bro-dyssey


Victor HugoLes Miserables

Don’t get us wrong, we loved the new movie version, but it was a little TOO close to the original. We’d like to see Victor Hugo’s novel set in Great Depression-era New York City. Jean Valjean would be a criminal-turned-kindly sweatshop owner; Javert would be a policeman bent on revenge. Think of the possibilities! Fantine could be a flapper!

Possible title: Just Miserable


Mark TwainThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Instead of traveling down the Mississippi, Huck is a Brazilian peasant who runs away from home to navigate the Amazon. If there’s one thing missing from Mark Twain’s classic, it’s piranhas.

Possible title: Shark Finn



Which of these books would you most like to read? Vote now! And leave a comment to let us know which novels you’d like to see updated!

18 thoughts on “Five Adaptations of Classic Novels We’d Love to Read

  1. I say Les Misérables… Fantine as a flapper?! Considering I’m studying the 1920s, I really don’t know what to think… I sorta want to see how that would turn out, but at the same time not really.

    BUT, historically speaking, you’re a decade ahead of yourselves. Flappers were mostly in the 1920s, while the Great Depression was primarily in the 1930s.

    • Well it could open in the 1920s an Fantine could be sort of a “fallen flapper,” and then if we fast forward nine years, the part of the story with Marius, Cosette, and Eponine could take place during the 1930’s.

  2. If Les Mis was set in any other time period, it just wouldn’t be as emotionally or philosophically impacting- and, let’s admit it, just not as good. What about the barricades? The stolen bread? The GALLEYS? No, no. I really hope this never happens.

  3. Instead of the Odysessy, the Iliad. That’s what the title “Bro-dessey” made me think of- just imagine, epic romance between Patroclus & Achilles (Yes, my word choice ‘epic’ was intentional), Agamemnon could still be a creep, and Hector could still be really hot- maybe a body builder?

  4. What would be even more interesting is a modern novel pushed back a few decades. I’m thinking The Hunger Games in Greek mythology.

  5. This is going to sound completely awful, and I mean it to be sharp but not rude.

    Les Miserables should never, EVER be updated. It would lose the emotion, the appeal, the hopelessness of the French Revolution. If you update it, you lose a third of the plot because there is nothing for Marius to do. Enjolras is just a lost boy, Courfeyac is some guy hanging out in a bar/bordello, and there is nothing to separate Marius from Cosette.

    And what would Gavroche be doing instead of gathering information and ammo for the war? Playing marbles in the street?? It would be no good to update this, especially since there would be no way to explain Marius dying, and what keeps Valjean in France.

    Flapper Fantine would be really bad too. And all of this is taking me away from a fabulous story.

    It is a great story, but one that doesn’t have to be redone so many times.

    • Thank you. Les Mis is just one of those things that you can’t modernize without ruining the story. Flapper Fantine….? How does that even make sense?

    • I actually think Les Mis could work in 1930s America.

      Emotion and hopelessness were present in the Great Depression as well. And just because the JUNE REBELLION worked so well in the original doesn’t mean that riots and rebellions didn’t happen ever again. Les Amiss are still students fighting for the poor – they’re just rebelling against rich bankers who couldn’t distribute people’s money, which was a common occurrence in the Depression.

      Gavroche could still collect ammo, as in the worst case riots, police intervened and people were killed. (That’s when Marius is injured.) If Valjean finds out that Cosette has fallen in love with a student in the rebellion, he would still refrain from leaving the country.

      @Agnes, Fantine would not have to become a flapper. Figment got the era wrong anyway (flappers were the 1920s, and the 1920s were too economically prosperous to set Les Miserables then). But Fantine could still lose her job, and, not being able to find another one due to the Depression, would be driven to prostitution. Very little of her storyline has to be changed at all.

      There’s nothing wrong with loving the original, but I think it’s good to be open-minded as well.

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