Genres/Lists: Classics, Fiction
Read synopsis on Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
Thanks to social media, I was recently reminded of one of my favorite movies as a kid, The Canterville Ghost. I read the book when I was younger but really couldn’t remember much about it so I decided to curl up with it one afternoon and reread it. At 126 pages, it took me no time at all and I forgot how much I enjoyed the story. Geared toward a younger audience, the story is about a crotchety old ghost who takes great pleasure in scaring the tenants, maids, and visitors. He’d been quite successful for the 300 years he ambled the halls until an American family moved into the British manor and gave him a run for his money, and ultimately helping him find peace.
When I was a kid I remember thinking how funny it was that the children in the family were playing tricks on the ghost and how miserable he was. It never occurred to me that the book was actually a social satire that mocked Americans for their brash and rude behavior. For 300 years, Sir Simon de Canterville had been horrifying the good and proper Englishmen who resided in his home. Then the Americans show up and turn the tables on their resident ghost. The younger twins throw pillows at him while the adults treat him with indifference, all of which are infuriating to the ghost. The only beacon of light in the family is the elder daughter, Virginia, who takes pity on the chained ghost and ultimately helps him.
Naturally, I immediately went to find the movie that I so loved as a kid when I finished the book. I had no idea that there were so many different versions. My favorite version is the 1985 TV movie with Richard Kiley, Brian Austin Green, and Kellie Martin…. but apparently it was trumped in YouTube popularity by the 1986 version with Alyssa Milano. So while I can’t find any clips of the one I so dearly loved, I did find this cheesy gem of a video of Alyssa Milano as the adorable Jennifer (who is actually Virginia, but we know which name was more popular in 1986). And is it just me, or does she remind you of Emma Watson?