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What’s The Back Story? 6 Origin Stories to Blow Your Mind

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Have you ever wondered how the Wicked Witch of the West became so wicked? Or wanted to read Jane Eyre from Bertha’s point of view? A good origin story turns the tables on what you’ve imagined or think you know. These reimaginings shed new light on familiar characters and leave you with a whole new perspective on some of the best known tales of modern times.


Garden of Shadows
by V.C. Andrews

The evil grandmother from Flowers in the Attic has an origin, revealed in this 1986 title, published after the Dollanganger family saga was completed. Thin, spinsterish Olivia came to Virginia as Malcolm Foxworth's bride. But instead of a joyful life, she finds a stain of jealous obsession and an evil that will threaten her children.

Garden of Shadows
V.C. Andrews

The evil grandmother from Flowers in the Attic has an origin, revealed in this 1986 title, published after the Dollanganger family saga was completed. Thin, spinsterish Olivia came to Virginia as Malcolm Foxworth's bride. But instead of a joyful life, she finds a stain of jealous obsession and an evil that will threaten her children.

MENTIONED IN:

What’s The Back Story? 6 Origin Stories to Blow Your Mind

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 20, 2015

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Wide Sargasso Sea
by Jean Rhys

Jean Rhys's reputation was made upon the publication of this novel, in which she focuses on one of fiction's most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.

Wide Sargasso Sea
Jean Rhys

Jean Rhys's reputation was made upon the publication of this novel, in which she focuses on one of fiction's most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.

MENTIONED IN:

Happy 200th Birthday, Charlotte Brontë: 14 Books That Celebrate the Literary Icon

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 21, 2016

What’s The Back Story? 6 Origin Stories to Blow Your Mind

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 20, 2015

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Hannibal Rising
by Thomas Harris

As if The Silence of the Lambs wasn’t enough to mess you up. Contained in these pages is the early history of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, modern literature’s most psychotic psychiatrist. Hopefully, you’ll stop screaming before the lambs do.

Hannibal Rising
Thomas Harris

As if The Silence of the Lambs wasn’t enough to mess you up. Contained in these pages is the early history of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, modern literature’s most psychotic psychiatrist. Hopefully, you’ll stop screaming before the lambs do.

MENTIONED IN:

What’s The Back Story? 6 Origin Stories to Blow Your Mind

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 20, 2015

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Wicked
by Gregory Maguire
This clever tome is the origin story for the Wicked Witch of the West. It was adapted into a really great musical, but fair warning: the ending of the show differs greatly from the book. A certain someone on our staff REALLY didn't like the way the show ends...further proof that the BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER!
Wicked
Gregory Maguire

Based on L. Frank Baum’s beloved The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Gregory Maguire’s novel views the land of Oz, its inhabitants, its Wizard, and the Emerald City, through a darker lens. Brilliantly inventive, it offers a radical new evaluation of one of the most feared and hated characters in all of literature: the much maligned Wicked Witch of the West.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Contemporary Retellings of Classic Literature

By Sarah Jane Abbott | June 16, 2015

What’s The Back Story? 6 Origin Stories to Blow Your Mind

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 20, 2015

11 Books That Inspired Great Musicals

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 7, 2014

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Tiger Lily
by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. Told from the perspective of Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily reveals her history with Peter, what happened when Wendy Darling arrived in Neverland, and how far Tiger Lily is willing to go to keep Peter with her.

Tiger Lily
Jodi Lynn Anderson

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. Told from the perspective of Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily reveals her history with Peter, what happened when Wendy Darling arrived in Neverland, and how far Tiger Lily is willing to go to keep Peter with her.

MENTIONED IN:

Waiting in the Wings: 11 Famous Stories Told from Another Point of View

By Julianna Haubner | August 17, 2017

What’s The Back Story? 6 Origin Stories to Blow Your Mind

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 20, 2015

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Ahab's Wife
by Sena Jeter Naslund

Inspired by a brief passage in Moby-Dick and informed by the spirit of the greatest American novel from its famous opening line—“Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last”—this book lets you know that you are in the hands of a master storyteller. Sure, Captain Ahab is a fictional character, but this novel is so rich and enthralling, we just had to bend the rules for it.

Ahab's Wife
Sena Jeter Naslund

Inspired by a brief passage in Moby-Dick and informed by the spirit of the greatest American novel from its famous opening line—“Captain Ahab was neither my first husband nor my last”—this book lets you know that you are in the hands of a master storyteller. Sure, Captain Ahab is a fictional character, but this novel is so rich and enthralling, we just had to bend the rules for it.

MENTIONED IN:

Stand By Your Man: 11 Novels of Not-So-Famous Women and Their Very Famous Men

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | May 26, 2015

What’s The Back Story? 6 Origin Stories to Blow Your Mind

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 20, 2015

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