Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A Beastly Review

The other day at work, Katie plonked Alex Finn's Beastly down in front of me, claiming it was fantabulous. As usual, she was right.

Beastly is a modern retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story (one of my personal favorite Fairy Tales). It stars Kyle Kingsbury, son of an incredibly rich and famous TV news anchor, who lives in a world where money and looks are everything. At school Kyle may not have the best grades, but he has the hottest girl on his arm, a comical sidekick to make him look good, and daddy's money. How could anything else possibly matter?

Apparently a few things, so says the mysterious girl in the back of the classroom that Kyle doesn't seem to remember (but that's all right- she's ugly and has green hair and weird clothes. Why would he have ever paid enough attention to register her, let alone remember her?) (And yes, she's the witch. Duh.) He thinks he tricks her by asking her to the school dance (where he's being elected 9th grade prince) as a joke. She tricks him by telling him to bring her a rose. (The trick being that his maid actually gets a rose instead of the expensive orchid his 'real' date demanded). Disgusted with the whole evening, he hands it off to the homely red-head selling tickets.

When the witch turns Kyle into the beast, is was this one act that gives her pause, and makes up her mind to give Kyle a two year chance to make a girl fall in love with him before he is "doomed to remain a beast for all time" ((c) Disney - <3)

This is definitely a book for Teens. It hints at a lot of issues that are not for the younger readers (it's implied that Kyle and his girlfriend have sex after the dance - though not in so many words). The kidnapping is also a little disturbing as well. Its not the scene itself, it's more the idea of kidnapping a person and holding them hostage so that they can be the one he'll fall in love with and use to break the spell. His intentions were honorable, and there's really no way to get around the disturbing when this is what the author has to work with, but in the Fairy Tale versions, the beast is a beast, whereas here he is an actual character with feelings and rational thought processes. The book watches Kyle mature over the two years he is a beast (of course the spell is broken!) and at times may seem a little cheesey but a) it IS a Fairy Tale and b) I'm not a boy, so maybe that's how you think.

A DEFINITE recommendation! (Yes, it's a Fairy Tale. Give it a shot!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Added to my to read sometime list. It's a long list. On of the classes I subbed for students had to write their own fairy tale or adaption of a fairy tale. They probably would have found this interesting. Darlene