Orphans as Protagonists

I’ve recently realised that orphans are protagonists in numerous books, thanks to a video on YouTube where Simon from SavidgeReads interviews E. Lockhart. They can be characters who are on their own, forced to look for a place they can call home. But they are also used to showcase either strained or loving relationships with other family members besides parents. When there is really no family member left to take care of them, they are a window to the difficulties faced by children who are institutionalised.

Glancing through my shelves, I found some books whose protagonists are orphans of both parents at the beginning of the story.

 

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter

Probably the most famous literary orphan, Harry Potter lives, at the beginning of The Philosopher’s Stone, with his horrible uncle and aunt unaware that his parents were two famous wizards killed by the evil Lord Voldemort. I’m sure there is no need for me to tell you more about his story. Continue reading

My Penguin English Library Collection

The Penguin English Library editions of classics caught my eye a few years ago while watching BookTube videos. I can’t remember the first channel I saw them in, but I immediately fell in love with the beautiful covers and stripy spines, and now every time I want to buy a new classic, I check if it is available in these editions. Unless there is an even more beautiful book for sale (which is the case with the vintage classics editions of the Jane Austen’s books, for example), I go for the covers designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith.

Presently I own ten books from the Penguin English Library editions. However, one of them, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, will not be part of my collection and is not mentioned in the following list, because I won’t keep it, as I really didn’t like it.

 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Pip, the main character of Great Expectations, is an orphan who lives with his abusive sister and her husband. He tells the story of his life since childhood to adulthood. Living in difficult economic conditions isn’t a problem for Pip until the moment he meets Estella at Miss Havisham house and an anonymous benefactor wants him to become a gentleman. Although some parts of the novel got a bit monotonous, I still enjoyed my first taste of Charles Dickens’s works. I wrote a full review about it when I first started blogging. Continue reading

On Adaptations: Are the Books Always Better?

Whenever a new film or TV adaptation is announced, it isn’t difficult to find someone saying that the books are always better. That is a statement that I’ve never agreed with. The vast majority of the adaptations that I’ve watched, I enjoyed as much as the books. Some I even liked more than the books. Although it’s true that I believe that some adaptations may not do a book justice, this is far from the rule for me.

I really struggle to claim that a book is better than its adaptation, or vice versa, mainly because I would be comparing two completely different forms of entertainment, which require different ways of storytelling. What works fantastically on page may not work on screen. I tend to compare the enjoyment I had when reading the book or watching the film or TV adaptation instead of saying one is better than the other. The fact that I liked reading about a story more than watching it on screen doesn’t automatically make the adaptation a bad one.

However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad adaptations. If the adaptation completely misrepresents the feelings, the tone or the entire plot of the story to the point that it stops making sense, then it is not only a bad adaptation but also a bad film or TV show. I don’t expect all the plot points to be presented on screen in the exactly same way in which they were written. I don’t mind changes on adaptations at all, as long as they make sense in the context of the story being told, or they result in a more compelling story on screen. Continue reading