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December 31 is Make Up Your Mind Day, so of course we’re thinking about classic Choose Your Own Adventure novels, the Give Yourself Goosebumps series, and our very own interactive romance novel: My Lady’s Choosing by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris. We love the thrill of making a choice in our reading experience, completely altering the course of the novel – or at least feeling like we have that kind of control. But what if we had the power to change the course of some of our favorite classic novels, simply by making a different choice? Imagine what a wild reading experience that would be.

 

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

The third person narrator in Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice is so involved that it’s a wonder they didn’t disrupt the order of events on their own. But imagine what would happen if Charles Bingley didn’t listen to his friend Mr. Darcy, leaving Netherfield in a rush without even telling Jane where he was going – or why. It would have set into motion an entirely different plot, one where Jane and Bingley happily marry midway through the novel, and Wickham would seduce Lizzie Bennet into a life that was altogether too scandalous for 19th century England. Would Mr. Darcy attempt to save Lizzie’s reputation and declare his love for her still?

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

What would happen if Victor Frankenstein, midway through his reanimation experiment, decided not to bring his experiment to life? Well, because Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is told in the epistolary framework of an explorer sending letters home to his sister, we wouldn’t even have the opportunity to hear his story. Instead, Frankenstein would be retitled Captain Walton’s Letters Home, a truly boring account of an overly opinionated brother and his not-quite discoveries at the North Pole. A truly gripping gothic tale!

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

We can’t talk about Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women without bringing up the one thing that Jo March fans won’t let go: Jo and Laurie’s relationship. How different would things be if Jo and Laurie ended up together? We’re ready to have the controversial and completely unromantic opinion: Jo made the right move refusing Laurie’s proposal. But because we’re going on this choose your own adventure together, here we go: If Jo accepts Laurie’s proposal, they’ll slowly destroy each other – first trying to make the marriage and their societal obligations work, and then through resentment when Jo stops writing. Now, can we please go back to the choice that Alcott so wisely wrote?

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

We’ll forever be grateful to Bram Stoker for bringing vampires into our lives. (We wouldn’t have What We Do in the Shadows if not for him!) But what if the titular Count Dracula never left his Transylvania home in search of England? What if he just – go with us here – what if he just took a genuine interest in getting to know Jonathan Harker? The two of them could start the first vampire-human law firm, specializing in real estate law for anti-social royalty. It’s a terrific business model and, honestly, we’re bummed that Bram Stoker didn’t come up with it first.

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

It’s hard to imagine a Jane Eyre without the third act turn of (spoiler!) Mr. Rochester locking his actual wife in his actual attic. Seriously, dude. Jane could have lived a very quiet, very comfortable life as a governess in literally any other household. Mr. Rochester wouldn’t even be a blip on Jane’s memory – even if she was working for a family nearby. And maybe she’d occasionally run into Mrs. Rochester at the market or on a walk on the moors.

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A Book You May Enjoy

Danielle Mohlman's picture

Danielle Mohlman

Danielle Mohlman is a playwright, bookworm, and library connoisseur. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. (She has a lot to say.) And on Instagram. (She never foodstagrams.) When she grows up, she wants to be Leslie Knope.