Monday, May 25, 2009

Leave It Be

S ome things are best left alone. According to Publishers Weekly, Margaret K. McElderry Books has acquired the rights to publish a book that purports to be the sequel to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess, a classic that was published in 1905. That’s more than a hundred years ago and about a year after the ice cream cone was invented.

According to the article, Hilary McKay found the novel’s ending “perfect in all ways but one.” She had questions about what happened to the children Sara left behind when she drove away at the end of the book. Well, she has taken it upon herself to answer those lingering questions. Now, I have no doubt that Hilary McKay is perfectly capable of writing a story about Ermengarde, Lottie, Lavinia and all the rest. But sometimes it does harm to a story try to tie up the loose ends created by secondary characters, besides the fact that Hilary McKay is not Frances Hodgson Burnett. No matter what she might say about the characters, the question will always remain, is this how the author envisioned it? The answer can be nothing but no, because we have to think that if the author thought there was something worth telling about their stories, she would have written the sequel herself.

As you can tell, I don’t really care for authors latching on to a popular book by another author and trying to write its sequel. There are a few franchises, such as Star Wars and Star Trek, that work well with many independent authors, but with most books I don’t like it. As an author, I have some characters who mean a great deal to me. I would hate to think what might happen if someone comes along a hundred years from now, when I am rotting in my grave, and attempts to write the sequel to one of my books. It would be flattery, yes, but I don’t like people messing with my characters. And when we’re talking about a book like A Little Princess. It should be left alone.

No comments :