The Book Club

Welcome back, Lawrentians! So far this spring term has been a rather chilly one, and to make matters worse it has already included an obligatory snowfall, causing Lawrentians to wonder why they chose to go to a university in Wisconsin of all places. But, nonetheless, no matter the month or the weather outside, the season for reading never stops! And for the first edition this term, I’m going to take the sentiments of April Fools to heart. My original plan was to pull a prank and talk about movies instead for our first issue, but instead I am going to talk about some of the best parodies of classic literature. Now, when I say parodies, I mean books that basically mimic some of our most well-loved novels, namely classics or popular Young Adult Fiction titles. Sometimes they have changes that are meant to improve the original plot, other times they are designed to draw attention to odd choices the original authors made, but no matter what these parodies are created to give people a laugh. So, for this edition, we are going to look at some of the most highly acclaimed parodies, and if we’re lucky enough maybe we’ll get a laugh or two out of their descriptions.  

To start off, we have “Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith and, of course, Jane Austen. If you happen to be an avid fan of the 2005 film adaptation, then this book may not be for you. The parody is rather self-explanatory, it’s all in the title. Basically, you just have to picture the plot for “Pride and Prejudice,” which centers around Lizzy Bennet and the prideful Mr. Darcy as they fall in love – also known as one of the best original examples of the enemies-to-lovers trope – and add a zombie plague to it. Oh, and loads of sword fighting. Sounds like a highly romantic read, right? 

If you have no interest in “Pride and Prejudice,” never fear! There are plenty of other parodies that are designed to make fun of your other favorite love stories. “Nightlight” by The Harvard Lampoon, for example, is a mockery of the well-loved “Twilight” franchise by Stephanie Meyers. “Nightlight” is basically a retelling of the first book of the series, “Twilight,” and further dramatizes the already rather-dramatic storyline and changes a few minor details just for a laugh. For example, instead of Bella Swan and Edward, we have Bella Goose and Edwart, who are described as being a “vampire-obsessed girl” and a “super-hot computer nerd.” If Twilight is your comfort film, this may or may not make you hate the series more than you already – secretly – do. 

If neither of these are quite catching your interest, there are also titles such as “Android Karenina” and “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” by Ben H. Winters, which are both sci-fi spinoffs of some other classic love stories. Or if you want another YA classic to be made fun of, look no further than “Hunger Pains,” which is also by The Harvard Lampoon – I’ll let you guess which book it’s originally based on. 

All in all, while the majority of our most well-loved novels of the world tend to be rather serious, that doesn’t mean they can’t ever make you laugh – sometimes they just require zombies and silly names to do so.