Monday, September 1, 2008
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters, Grace and Hope, who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in intelligence and courage. When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, “Cannot a Beast be tamed?”
Robin McKinley’s beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple: Beauty and the Beast. (Review taken from Amazon) “This much-loved retelling of the classic French tale Beauty and the Beast elicits the familiar magical charm, but is more believable and complex than the traditional story. In this version, Beauty is not as beautiful as her older sisters, who are both lovely and kind. Here, in fact, Beauty has no confidence in her appearance but takes pride in her own intelligence, her love of learning and books, and her talent in riding. She is the most competent of the three sisters, which proves essential when they are forced to retire to the country because of their father's financial ruin. The plot follows that of the renowned legend: Beauty selflessly agrees to inhabit the Beast's castle to spare her father's life. Beauty's gradual acceptance of the Beast and the couple's deepening trust and affection are amplified in novel form. Robin McKinley's writing has the flavor of another century, and Beauty heightens the authenticity as a reliable and competent narrator.” I breezed through this novel, the rich language enveloping around me as I read the wonderful retelling of my favorite fairytale. The only fault I found was that the ending felt quite rushed. I would have loved to learn more about what happened after the wedding. Though this book is labeled as a 9-12 age range, I believe teens and adults alike would be very pleased with the rich texture and brilliant storytelling of Robin McKinley’s Beauty.