Thursday, October 21, 2010

Book Hungry's BEAUTY-ful October

Friends! I'm back. Did you miss me? I know I missed all of you.  Have I missed out on anything big and important?  If so, please let me ASAP.  You know I'm a big old Nosy Nancy and need all the latest gossip ;)

So anyway.  You know how I'm a member of that super AWESOME twitter book club, aptly named Book Hungry?  Well, this month's selection was another pick that I honestly might never have chosen for myself if it hadn't been thrust (hehehehe...that word just sounds dirty and I giggle every time I say it) upon me.  Are you ready for it?  Okay then.  Here it is....Ta-Da!!!

BEAUTY by Robin McKinley is a retelling of the classic fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast.  For me, the tale of Beauty and the Beast has always been a favorite.  There's just something so sweet and endearing about this love story.  When I was little, I used to dream about running away into the woods to find my own 'Beast' who would turn into my dashing young prince charming.  *sigh* If only it was that easy in real life.   And, then of course, there was the animated Disney version with the singing and dancing dishes and candles (Yes, it's my favorite of all the Disney movies).  So, instead of giving you a short summary of this novel--as I'm sure we're all well-versed in this particular story--I will jump right into my thoughts on this version of the age-old tale.

You know how agents' form rejections all basically say the same thing?  "This is a highly subjective business...blah blah blah...while this is not right for me, others may feel differently...blah blah blah"  You know that line.  Obviously, we all do.   These words have never been more true for me than with BEAUTY.  Did I love it?  Not so much.  Did I hate it?  Again, not really. 

For me, BEAUTY was not really a standout masterpiece.  It was a straightforward retelling of a classic tale.  Even the writing was done in a classic style.  For some, that would mean boring or dry, but I didn't really mind the style the story was laid out in.  It was a break from the flash, bang, and sizzle of everything else I'd read recently.  That said, Part one of BEAUTY was quite a bit slower-paced than part two or even part three.  It was a lot of back story and some might say it had a lot of telling instead of showing.  Part two brought Beauty and her family to her new home out in the country, and for me, it livened up.  I liked seeing how they all acclimated to their new life, far away from the comforts of city living. 

But part three, where she met the beast, was by far the best.  There could have been a little more magic, and Beauty kind of went from a stubborn, clever, brave girl to a bit on the naive, simpering damsel in distress, but I'm okay with that.  However, I will admit that there were times when I wanted the dishes to break out in song...especially when they were serving Beauty.  In fact, I know you'll laugh when I tell you that I actually pictured Lumiere serenading Beauty with "Be our guest!"

All in all, BEAUTY was a decent re-telling of an age-old tale.  A bit meandering in spots and definitely not for everyone, but worth the read if you're looking for something a little different and more staid.  Just be prepared to make up your own soundtrack and sing the songs.  Just saying.

Now that you've heard me spout off about this month's selection, wander over to my other peep's blogs and get their opinions.

Abby Mumford
Alyson Peterson
Cynthia Reese
Elizabeth Ryann
Kelly Breakey
Patty Blount
Vaness Noble

How about all you fun followers?  Have you read BEAUTY?  If not, have you at least seen my favorite Disney movie?  Please share your BEAUTY-ful opinions in the comments!


  1. Hmmm. I'm thinking I may skim parts 1 & 2, and dive into part 3. ;)

  2. Oh have you been MIA? I know, just me being a smart ass. Bet you missed that right?

    Love your review and I think we are in complete agreement. I am glad I read the whole book, but the first two parts weren't necessary as I was ready to dive into the meeting of Beauty and the Beast. But since the book was titled Beauty, I guess that is why we got more on her story.

  3. Yep, just start at Part 3.

    Great review!

  4. it's a good thing i'm musically inclined because i definitely provided my own soundtrack during parts 1 & 2. it really kept things rolling along nicely.

    seriously though -- great review!

    and welcome back.

  5. LOL! Hilarious on the sound track idea. I have to admit I thought the same thing. I so wanted the dishes to talk to her more.

  6. Haha, I love the Disney version too, but I read this one first, so I guess that's why it's so easy for me to see them as separate things.

    Though I think Robin McKinley would agree that the magic is lacking a bit because she did a second retelling of Beauty and the Beast called Rose Daughter, that focused a lot more on the magic and the roses. But I prefer this version, from totally ordinary wealth to scrappy bootstrap-pulling carpentry, to magical love story...all the parts work for me, for different reasons. Though part three is definitely the most flashy fun. :)


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