Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Kansas Book Festival invites Amanda Sellet author of ‘Belittled Woman’

Washburn University Mabee Library hosted the 12th annual Kansas Book Festival, Sept. 16. With over 50 authors and local vendors, the festival offered writers and book lovers a place to indulge in their favorite activities. Authors sold books, spoke at panels to enlighten groups on their writing process and gave advice.

Amanda Sellet, author of “Belittled Women,” spoke at the “New Takes on Two Classics” panel with Julie Sellers, author of “Ann of Sunflower Lane.” Both authors took a different approach of rewriting two classical books.

Sellet shared her creative process when recreating a literary classic with a comedic twist.

“It was something that I had read a lot of times and seen all the movie versions of and I think it was one of those where you know like you like it and you know it really well but also there are things about it that bother you,” Sellet said.

She also saw it as a good opportunity to write the scenes in the story in a modern light with some comedic takes.

“It seemed funny to me that there would be a family that acts out scenes from this book, you know, and so it was the comedic potential too,” Sellet said.

“Belittled Women” is about a young girl, Jo, who is named after the main character of “Little Women” but does not agree with what “Little Women” teaches about girlhood. Jo wants more out of life and her mother’s values and expectations do not match her own hopes for the future.

“She’s [Jo] really torn between what contemporary society is telling her, do you follow your bliss? And then the messages she gets from her mom and from growing up steeped in his book, which are more traditional and old-fashioned. It’s all about being proper, pretty and polite,” Sellet said.

“Belittled Women” examines the conflicting messages young people receive today about personal fulfillment versus more traditional values, while “Little Women” focuses on sacrifice and tradition.

Louis May Alcott, author of “Little Women,” wrote heartwarming, wholesome and family- friendly stories. After her death, it was found that she wrote under another name and the manuscripts were about obsession and kidnapping.

In “Little Women” the main character often struggled with her writing and what was good or bad to write about, like the author Louisa May Alcott.

These discoveries about Alcott helped Sellet understand the author more and why she may have written “Little Women.”

“Who was this person because that’s a plotline in ‘Little Women.’ The main character writes these kinds of sensational things and then everybody tells her ‘No, no, no, you should write family values.’ And so, she does, it’s kind of interesting to see that in real life. Louisa May Alcott kept writing really juicy stuff, you know, kidnapping and obsession,” Sellet said.

According to Sellet, adapting classic material does not limit one in any way. Sellet took the opportunity of making a traditional book more modern and relatable retelling scenes from the book in a humorous way.

“It’s pure comedy. A lot of people I think go in expecting it to be more serious, more like ‘Little Women’ with a valuable moral lesson. This is just for the jokes, you know, it’s just for laughs. Some of those people get really offended when you make fun of the book,” Sellet said.

Be on the lookout for Sellet’s next book coming July 2024 which will be her first adult rom-com. It will also be based on a classic movie and another chance to make her audience laugh at a modern version of this classic.

Edited by Aja Carter and Cheyenne Hittle

 

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LeSha' Davis, Editor-in-Chief Indigo Magazine and Managing Editor Washburn Review
LeSha Davis is the managing editor for the review. She is an english major, who enjoys reading and hopes to become an attorney in the future. Her favorite book genre is fantasy. The one she is currently reading is called Skin of the Sea, a book about an African mermaid saving a man who fell from a slave ship. LeSha' also loves television and movies with some of her favorite genres being anime, drama and hospital shows. An interesting fact about her is that her favorite colors are dark blue, purples and either bright green or dark green; no in between.
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Hello, my name is Susie and I'm a freshman physical therapy assistant major. In Student Media, I'm a part of the marking team by creating engaging content on social media platforms. After graduation, I plan on pursuing a career that helps patients recover through physical therapy.
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