Unacceptable. You’re stupid. You guys are dumb. Those words pretty much sum up how I feel about the new covers for classic novels. Let me start with my beloved “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I loved the book series, and I loved, loved, loved the movies. I understand publishers’ push to update covers for classic books to attract new readers, but I really hate the updated cover. Where do I even begin to express my disgust?
One, the blonde beautiful model. Nope. Nope. Nope. Anne (with an e) is an awkward redhead girl who hates the color of her hair and is somewhat insecure with her appearance. I could relate with the gawky but imaginative redhead. I have no desire to become friends with a beautiful blonde who belongs on a catalog cover for an expensive (and just plain overpriced) department store. Nope.
If I was an insecure and dorky-looking teen, I wouldn’t be grabbing a book with a beautiful model on the cover and thinking, “This girl gets me.” Even after reading the book summary, I would probably still have doubts about reading it. I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but shouldn’t the character on the cover at least partially resemble the character description inside the book?
The new “Anne” is beautiful and looks confident and sexy. The book Anne is not sexy! Not to mention, she didn’t wear designer clothes. If I remember correctly, Marilla sewed most of Anne’s clothes because Anne wanted more dresses with poofy shoulder sleeves and Marilla didn’t want to waste extra material on “luxury” looks. While book Anne was confident about her intelligence and imagination, she really wasn’t confident or smug about appearance or characteristics.
Other than the poorly chosen photo, I don’t have too many other issues with the updated cover aimed at young adult readers. At least I don’t see a sparkly vampire or poofy werewolf lurking in the background because if I did, I would throw the biggest hissy fit known to man. I honestly believe publishers could’ve updated the cover without compromising Anne’s classic look. Argh! The blonde hair just bothers me to no end! The beauty and slight smug look on the model follow closely.
Another updated book cover causing controversy or issues with older readers is “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath. The story is about a young woman’s emotional descent into depression. Not about a young woman finding true love in a big city and overcoming all obstacles to marrying Prince Charming. Not a hilarious page turner about the heroine falling down stairs or accidentally starting a mishap.
Basically, “The Bell Jar” is not a chick lit book. It’s a classic women’s fiction novel that focuses on women’s struggles, depression, society expectations and rules, etc. Updating the cover to make the book look like modern chick lit was an idiotic idea. Honestly. Publishers should’ve taken note of covers from any Jodi Picoult book or any mystery novel.
I honestly feel publishers could’ve created a more appropriate cover. While I love the idea of introducing classic novels to the next generation of readers, update the cover more appropriately. Don’t mislead readers. Guide them. Be more creative when updating covers. Use more resources. Maybe read the classic books again. Find the heart of the story not the face.