If You Like Pleasantville

“If You Like…” is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love. This week includes suggestions based on Pleasantville, a movie in which two teens get sucked into a 1950s black and white sitcom. They quickly add some color to this “perfect” society.


If you like Pleasantville, you might like…

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Books

  • Austenland by Shannon Hale: This book has an alternate universe feel to it, as it’s about modern day women attending a Disney World type place for Jane Austen addicts. Because of this it has the same feel of Pleasantville–of visiting a different time and experiencing foreign things. — Ashley (Book Labyrinth)
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry: Like Pleasantville, everything in this community seems to be utopian, but upon closer look there is little to desire—both worlds are black and white (for the most part), there is no emotion or passion, and everything must be done the same way every day. And then, of course, there are the ones that shake things up and bring realization to the community. Jonas, like David has tough choices to make when he starts to see what is really going on. — Tahleen (Tahleen’s Mixed-Up Files) and Twan (Artie is my Muse)
  • Caster Chronicles (Beautiful Creatures/Beautiful Darkness) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl: Even though these books possess a paranormal theme, the town that it is set in reminds me a lot of Pleasantville.  The “townies” have a reputation to keep, as perfect as possible, yet they each have secrets behind closed doors. The small town atmosphere is very similar in each. — Ginger (G Reads)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (as well as many of her other books): Classic dystopian novel that shows what can happen when the human desire for utopia goes too far. — Twan (Artie is my Muse)
  • Uglies (series) by Scott Westerfeld: Like The Handmaid’s Tale this shows what can happen when the desire for utopia goes too, far but throws in a group known as the “Pretties” who believe in the Utopia created for them. Just because everyone is beautiful and “perfect” on the outside does not mean they are the same within. Perfect is boring and dangerous – be different! — Tara (Fiction Folio), Annette (The More You Read, the More You Will Know), and Twan (Artie is my Muse)
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins: Another society in which the desire for utopia goes too far, but with a much larger group realizing the mess that has been created. Some of my favorite parts are with Katniss’ entourage who live in the Capitol and don’t understand life outside it–small parts but significant. — Twan (Artie is my Muse)
  • Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan: This one is more of a utopian book simply because the community in this book doesn’t exist right now.  The town Tony lives in is more realistic but Paul creates a lovely (if sad when compared to the reality) utopia that might actually happen someday. — Twan (Artie is my Muse)

Movies

  • The Truman Show: It features a similar concept, being trapped in a make-believe TV world. This movie came out around the same time as Pleasantville, and I can see a lot of similarities between them. This movie was really well done, so definitely check it out if you haven’t. — Ashley (Book Labyrinth) and Ginger (G Reads)
  • Footloose: I feel like this has a related theme, in the sense that its also about fighting the oppression of the adults in the community. — Ashley (Book Labyrinth)

TV Shows

  • American Dreams: This is an amazing show that is fun and touching, and it is set in the 1960s. Because of this it deals with similar issues to Pleasantville, touching on racial relations and counterculture versus the mainstream. — Ashley (Book Labyrinth)
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show: Classic black and white sitcom that doesn’t have the syrupy goody-goodness of some of the others but still gives the semi-ridiculousness of old television (while making me laugh hysterically). — Twan (Artie is my Muse)
  • Hi Honey, I’m Home!: Sitcom from the early 90′s about a family from a 50′s sitcom being transplanted into the 90′s world.  From what I remember the writing wasn’t the best, but the concept was fun and I loved watching it. — Twan (Artie is my Muse)

Music

  • Elvis Presley: I know his song, ”( Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” is on the original soundtrack for Pleasantville, but I feel like his music in general fits the overall theme of the movie. — Lindsi (Books, Sweets, and Other Treats) and Ginger (G Reads)

Have you seen Pleasantville? If so, do you have any of your own recommendations to share?


Next week, bloggers will be sharing recommendations based on the book Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. If you have read it and want to share recommendations or get involved in future weeks of “If You Like…” please contact me for more information.

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