11 Books That Inspired Your Favorite '90s Movies
The '90s are back, baby, so why not take a trip down memory lane by reading one of these 11 books that inspired '90s movies? If you're living for all the blessed '90s nostalgia that abounds in stores these days, these books are the perfect accompaniment to your next bout of retail therapy.
Now, before you read through this list and send me a bunch of angry emails about all the books I left out, you should know that I've only picked books by women that became movies in the 1990s — no fudging dates with 1989 or 2000 releases, and no male writers, not even William Shakespeare himself (who had a bit of a renaissance in the late '90s and early Aughts, if you'll pardon the pun). So if you're looking for Fight Club or Shakespeare in Love or 10 Things I Hate About You here, you're in the wrong place, my friend.
With that out of the way, let's take a moment to celebrate everything about the Nineties, from the rise of the internet to the rebirth of the boy band. Check out the books that inspired your favorite '90s movies below
'The House of the Spirits' by Isabel Allende
Adapted into a 1993 film starring Meryl Streep and Winona Ryder, Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits traces the lives of the del Valle and Trueba families, whose matriarch, Clara del Valle Trueba, is a clairvoyant.
'Emma' by Jane Austen
The basis for the iconic 1995 film Clueless, Jane Austen's Emma centers on its "handsome, clever, and rich" heroine as she attempts to set up a less-fortunate young woman with a potential suitor — to disastrous results.
'Like Water for Chocolate' by Laura Esquivel
The basis for the 1992 film of the same name, Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate combines recipes and kitchen witchery to tell the story of Tita, who is forced by family tradition to eschew marriage in favor of caring for her cruel and overbearing mother.
'Harriet the Spy' by Louise Fitzhugh
To prepare for her career as a writer, New Yorker Harriet M. Welsch begins documenting the lives of her friends in a secret diary. When her journal winds up in another's possession, Harriet must answer to the friends her writing has hurt. First published in 1964, Harriet the Spy made its way to the big screen in 1996.
'Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe' by Fannie Flagg
The basis for 1991's Fried Green Tomatoes, Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe centers on the friendship of Evelyn, a dissatisfied housewife, and Mrs. Threadgoode, the nursing home resident who regales her with tales from the Great Depression in Whistle Stop, Alabama.
'The First Wives Club' by Olivia Goldsmith
The 1992 novel that inspired the 1996 film, The First Wives Club centers on Annie, Brenda, and Elise — three middle-aged women who decide to strike back at their awful ex-husbands after their old friend dies by suicide in a messy divorce.
'The Talented Mr. Ripley' by Patricia Highsmith
If you loved the 1999 Matt Damon film, you should really read the original novel. In Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley, a young con artist hired to bring home a wayward son winds up committing murder and identity theft — and that's not even the end of the story.
'Practical Magic' by Alice Hoffman
Made into a magical feature film in 1998, Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic follows the Owens sisters, Gillian and Sally, as they attempt to foil a family curse that kills off the men they love.
'How Stella Got Her Groove Back' by Terry McMillan
Made into a hit film starring Angela Bassett, How Stella Got Her Groove Back follows its titular heroine, a 42-year-old single mom, as she rediscovers love and passion while on a Jamaican vacation.
'Anywhere But Here' by Mona Simpson
Bent on becoming a stage parent, Adele drags her preteen daughter, Ann, on a cross-country roadtrip after divorcing Ann's stepfather in this coming-of-age story. First published in 1987, Anywhere But Here landed on the big screen in 1999.
'The Hundred and One Dalmatians' by Dodie Smith
The 1996 version of 101 Dalmatians might have been based more on the 1961 Disney animated film than on Dodie Smith's original novel, but this book is still well-worth the read. The Hundred and One Dalmatians tells the story of three adult dogs — Pongo, Missis, and Perdita — who set out on a journey to rescue their puppies, who have been kidnapped by the evil Cruella de Vil.