Beauty A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

Beauty A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast If you love Beauty and the Beast retellings that stay true to the original story read this book This is absolutely my favorite retelling of the familiar tale of Beauty and the Beast An aside it far outshines the Disney oneMcKinley begins the tale with the very familiar setting A merchant with daughters has fallen on hard times He and his family are reduced to living in near poverty But there she diverges to give us a believable family structure of the daughters who have various levels of resourcefulness in dealing with their straitened circumstances They are a family and there are no cardboard 'evil sisters' in this telling I love McKinley's style in all of her books I have read It is absolutely transparent I fall into her writing effortlessly and surface hours later feeling as if I have experienced a life rather than read a story A strange imprisonmentBeauty has never liked her nickname She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones But what she lacks in looks she can perhaps make up for in courageWhen 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 tamedRobin McKinley's beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple Beauty and the Beast 199 Kindle sale Nov 18 2019 This is a cozy delightful retelling of The Beauty and the Beast tale one of my very favorite fairy tale retellings and comfort readsUpdate I've just read Beauty again for the first time in 15 years or but I probably read this 5 or 6 times when I was in my 20s so you are not getting an unbiased opinion here But I still adore this book even though I'm older and cynical now It's a fairly simple straightforward retelling of the fairy tale with a few relatively minor twists But the writing is lovely the characters charming and McKinley used a very fairy tale ish style of writing that fits the story well The ending is a little rushed but otherwise I have no complaints I want to be Beauty's bestie and chat books and eat buttered toast with her and help her braid Greatheart's mane Beauty keeps all 5 stars Call it nostalgia but I'm not even a little bit sorry Initial review Beauty has been for a long time one of my favorite fairy tale novelizations It's a delightful read not as long or complex as some of Robin McKinley's later works but it has sweetness and a heart and has withstood many re readings I remain convinced that Disney swiped several details of this book for its Beauty and the Beast like the book loving heroine and the servants that seem to have become part of the furniture It's been at least 10 or 15 years since I read this and I probably should do a re read one of these days to see if it's really a 5 star book or if it's just an excess of nostalgia for an old favorite that's driving my high rating Till then just don't go into this expecting something really deep or earth shaking; it's of a lovely sweet gentle comfort read I try hard not to use spoilers in these reviews but find that is impossible in this case But since it’s a tale as old as time maybe you’ll forgive me for it just this onceI did not like the bookWow that’s hard to say I love stories love books – the way the pages feel under my fingers I like stories that make me care about the characters that drop me into the action Hand me an Avery Cates novel and I am oblivious to the roar of NASCAR engines on the big screen TV to the dinner burning in the oven and even to someone speaking directly to me My sons can attest to this For me to admit I didn’t care for a story is an extremely rare occurrence The last time it happened was with Angelology and I don’t like the feelingHere is the summary Sixteen year old Beauty has never liked her nickname Thin awkward and undersized with big hands and huge feet she has always thought of herself as the plainest girl in her family – certainly not nearly as lovely as her elder sisters Hope and Grace But what she lacks in looks she makes up for in courage When her father comes home one day with the strange tale of an enchanted castle in the wood and the terrible promise he has made to the Beast who lives there Beauty knows what she must do She must go to the castle and tame the Beast – if such a thing is possible Here is the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple Beauty and the BeastBooks are my life and words are my business so how indeed can it be possible for me to not like a story I’ve thought about that and here’s what I’ve come up with I am not a fan of most classic lit I have yet to finish a single Jane Austen novel because they bore me to tears I didn’t like Lord of the Rings because it moved too slowly Based on the back cover summary there should be plenty of action to keep me interested But there wasn’tBEAUTY is a short book but it’s divided into three parts two of which I found unnecessary I inserted book marks at each Part’s beginning and closed the book Eye balling my bookmarks I see that Part 3 starts about mid book This is where I would have begun the story Instead McKinley devotes Part 1 to character history introducing us to Beauty whose real name is Honour and her two older sisters Hope and Grace Despite the entire first Part dedicated to introductions I could not keep straight who was Hope and who was Grace which is important because one of them is in love with a sailor later lost at sea and the other with an iron worker named Gervain I never forged any connections to these characters to care how the story developed We’re told Beauty is unfortunately named and that she is the clever and courageous one Much of these first fifty pages is devoted to describing how clever Beauty is which set my expectations that her cleverness might somehow aid her eventual fate to tame the BeastA reversal of the family’s fortune forces them out of their home and into the wood where Gervain has located a blacksmith forge suitable for the entire lot should Beauty’s sister Hope I think accept his marriage proposal It’s a hard life but the girls all adjust and Hope is happy in her marriage Meanwhile news of the ship lost at sea arrives and Beauty’s father returns to their former home to learn what became of his men The months pass and when her father returns he arrives with a rose and a very strange tale of an enchanted castle in the woods owned by a horrible beast who has forced him into even horrible promisePart 2 picks up with Father relating both tale and promise For stealing one of the Beast’s roses Father must hand over Beauty Beauty must agree to the plan of her own free will because she loves her father enough to want to save his life and be courageous enough to bear the separation I figured these conditions must have something to do with the enchantment that made Beast a beast but I was left hanging hereThere is a debate but in the end Beauty insists upon going to fulfill her father’s promise Here is some proof of the courage I’d expected her to display but I expected Finally Part 3 is where the traditional story begins Beauty meets the Beast and adjusts to life in the enchanted castle For someone whose cleverness is so lauded throughout Parts 1 and 2 I expected Beauty’s curiosity to answer the uestions I had – how did the Beast come to be a beast Why force such horrid promises from a stranger What was her role in his world aside from his admission he is looking for a wife But she is strangely docile even polite to her captor and an uneasy and unlikely friendship too uickly forms between them as Beauty attempts to make the best of her situation even growing happy to some extentI find this hard to believeAs time passes Beauty realizes she can hear some of the invisible servants hovering around her Cleverness is again exhibited; Beauty does not acknowledge her ability to hear them But again I was disappointed that this ploy failed to yield any useful information about the secrets the Beast is keepingThen poof We hit the climax where Beauty is permitted home to inform her sister that the sailor feared lost at sea is returning for her Miraculously she discovers she is in love with the Beast fights to find her way back to tell him so though I was never sure why and the enchantment is liftedSo I felt let down I had expectations and they were not met Is Beauty clever Then why did she never figure out the man in the portraits all over the castle were the Beast himself Is Beauty courageous Then why did she never defy the Beast Never test the limits of his patience push the boundaries of the enchantment that surrounded them Like Chekov’s Gun these traits were stated repeatedly from the opening scene hanging over the mantle and never firedRead BEAUTY for yourselves See if you agree with me If you don’t I hope you’ll tell me what I missed An absolutely lovely rendition of my favorite fairy tale Beauty and the Beast There have been many retellings of this tale from the bodice ripping romance novel covers featuring men muscled to the point of beastliness holding pale innocent flowers to of course the smart young lady with a conveinently lovely voice for a Disney musical This one falls somewhere poignantly in between in just the perfect place for adult fans of both genres to find something that they can identify with while still appealing to the age group that this book is most directly useful to the pre teen and teenager demographic When I say this I don't mean to demean the novel in any way I am just speaking from my own experience Had I discovered this novel as a 13 year old I'm sure I would have read it ragged to shreds over and over again As it is there are still places where this tale truly gets to me places where I had to pause and start all over again it aroused such strong memories of points in my younger lifeThe images of transformation were my favorite parts of this novel they are the turning points that move the plot along It is a uietly told tale told mostly in a calmly adult voice just as one would expect from a fireside fairy tale but the points where that voice breaks are the most touchingly heartbreakingly lovely in the piece That break always happened at these poignant moments where transformation glittered all about young Beauty andor her family And her response to each of these moments is what made this tale so amazingly human her utter refusal to accept who she was and who she became The scene of the silver princess dress really did get to me That symbol was perhaps the most effective one that they could have chosen McKinley did such a wonderful job of presenting the idea that people never change until they are ready to even if it is a positive change even if it is necessary for their lives because leaving behind your identity is the scariest thing of all Living in an enchanted castle far away from the effects of the world enforced or not is the closest that our practical heroine can come to Sleeping Beauty's hundred years of sleep I found myself in perfect sympathy with McKinley's heroine and I felt her journey of growth was perfectly organic one thing given time to develop into another something helped by the often distant traditional fairy tale telling to most of the piece It made the moments of her change into the woman she didn't believe in all the lovelyWe all have moments where we want to duck our faces in the ground and play the ostrich for as long as possible It is always lovely to read books that remind us what we'd be willfully missing if we gave into that urge for too longI do wish that McKinley had let us spend a little time with Beauty at the end of her journey I'd like to see that she doesn't uite entirely smoothly adapt to see what remains of her changes and most importantly that she still retains her self inside that silver gown sale alert 9May19 Kindle deal for 199 hereHi My name is Robin and I have a buddy reading addiction Hi RobinSo why not add another impromptu Buddy Read with My Enabler Jessica and The Instigator Tadiana over at BBB on Oct 14 The great thing about a fantasy is that some of it is timeless That is totally the case with Beauty It was originally published in 1978 shhhh but when you pick it up it is really a tale as old as time but it can be told throughout these decades seamlessly It could as easily been published last month and because it is fantasy you’d never knowWhy I liked this Re TellingIt’s a classic beauty and the beast retelling the one I remember from my own childhood with an enchanted castle the rose the curse Ger strode forwards and caught him in his arms as he staggered and then half carried him to a seat near the fire As he sank down with a sigh we all noticed that in his hand he held a rose a great scarlet rose bigger than any we had seen before in full and perfect bloom “Here Beauty” he said to me and held it out I took it my hand trembling a little and stood gazing at it I had never seen such a lovely thing I also saw where Disney might have got some of there ideas from There are mysterious voices and servants in the castle that are invisible and always trying to ‘help’ Beauty with getting dressed and dancing a parade of food in front of her at meal times to chose from The Castle itself is amazing with rooms that move and melodious giggling winds that try to direct you around the place As soon as you start to feel lost just go around the corner and your room will be thereThe Beast was sweet and charming and my heart broke for him as he tried to get close to a reluctant beauty He has been lonely for so long and it really showed through in the story “You fainted” he said; his voice was a rough whisper “I caught you before you reached the floor You—you might have hurt yourself I only wanted to lay you down somewhere that you could be comfortable” I stared at him still kneeling with my fingernails biting into the sofa cushions I couldn’t look away from him but I did not recognize what I saw “You—you clung to me” he said and there was a vast depth of pleading in his voice This is a perfect story for MG and YA readers for an introduction to fantasy writing as well as great for older readers that want to feel transported back to their younger selvesDownfallsIf you are a semi book snob like me you’d miss this book because it is ‘too old’ But I challenge everyone to get past that way of thinking at least in the fantasy genreIt takes a little time to pick up The beginning was slightly slow for me especially as they are traveling out of the city to their new lives in the country I sometimes get really board during travelingjust me But once they are settled in the country and all the tales of the magical enchanted wood start cropping up I was totally hooked “It’s said there’s a castle in a wild garden at the center of these woods; and if you ever walk into the trees till you are out of sight of the edge of the forest and you can see nothing but big dark trees all around you you will be drawn to that castle; and in the castle there lives a monster He was a man once some tales say and was turned into a terrible monster as a punishment for his evil deeds; some say he was born that way as a punishment to his parents who were king and ueen of a good land but cared only for their own pleasure” OverallThis is a beautiful retelling of a classic story with great imagery a strong heroine and fantastic language in the telling Totally worth a read One of my favorite retellings of Beauty and the Beast The family is loving and the prose beyond witty If you love the Disney version it owes a lot to this book  fairy tale retellings are fascinating i went through a datlow phase years ago and i have read many others outside of her collections it is a comfortable pleasure for me so since i am now going on an introduce myself to the fantasy genre expedition this book seemed like the most logical entrée into it all beauty and the beast was never one of my favorite fairy tales i don't know why particularly but i usually preferred the ones that didn't have a corresponding disney movie which would unavoidably be playing in the back of my head as i was reading them not to mention the songs the dreadful songsbut i really liked this adaptationthe best thing about this particular version is that mckinley changes the backstory a little bit in a way that makes it natural and a much better story overallmost fairy tales operate by isolating the main character the heroes and heroines are freuently orphans or abandoned by their parentsstepparents friendless and forced to make their own way with the occasional animal or supernatural ally but in this retelling beauty comes from a loving family she and her sisters are close her father loves her deeply she has a strong sense of community and duty the cinderella type who stoically goes on sweeping and polishing while everyone around her abuses her and enslaves her while she just keeps turning the other cheek as though she is in a morphine daze i cannot get behind that kind of character because they seem less human and symbolic; they are empty in the original b and the b of course beauty would go to the beast what's she got to keep her where she is some shitty sisters and a weak father she does love her father in the original but the rest of her life is pretty easy to leave behind but in this version her decision is made out of love and sacrifice and she is giving up so much that it makes her sympathetic but not some doormat like so many others doing good because they have been lobotomized sometime in their past her decision feels natural considering her background; the sacrifice is greater than that of someone with nothing to lose this young woman has learned how to love and how to be nurturing from a support system that includes her family but also includes her neighbors and everyone she meets along the way in a natural nice girl way that is never treacly and she is no gentle delicate flower either this girl is a perfect match for the beastwithout that family oriented background it is illogical that she would have learned how to be kind how to be giving how to care for the beast enough to bring him back to his true form there is no way i am putting a spoiler alert on this review by the way DO YOU LIVE IN A HOLE i think that mckinley made absolutely the right choice by changing the parts she did and her prose is beautiful and simple and a real treat to read and don't get me started on that library this is why we need booknerd heroines in our fairy tales so books like this can be writteni think i got muddled somewhere in the middle of all that but never mind maybe the brain will make sense tomorrownopeand if anyone can tell me the fairy tale collection my grandmother had when i was little i would be so gratefulcome to my blog I curse this book with a thousand crotch louse It's not I didn't like this book At least I like the beginning for awhile But this book's plot was enough to drive me into a rant Getting out of the way the fact that the characterisation is great and the setting is stunning and all that shit let's get into possibly McKinley's only and truly great weakness which is plotting and pacingThe book reads at the speed of an unhurried snail It starts a full 25ish years before Beauty even meets the Beast and shows no sincere interest in moving things along for the sake of actually telling the story Beauty spends a stunningly little amount of time with the Beast and when we actually meet him most of that time is glossed over in narrative telling rather than showing ARE YOU TELLING ME I JUST SAT THROUGH 25 YEARS OF THIS GIRL'S LIFE ONLY TO HAVE FIVE MINUTES WITH THE ACTUAL GREAT ROMANCE THIS FAIRYTALE IS FAMOUS FOR Then right the whole thing is wrapped up in about 20 pages It was infuriating I don't feel like Beauty's back story and life before the Beast helped us understand her motivations and character arc any great deal I felt like it was cumbersome for the sake of being cumbersome and wordy and artisticI'm so mad about this that I'm practically hopping I'm hopping mad I say


About the Author: Robin McKinley

Peter Dickinson also a writer and with whom she co wrote Water Tales of Elemental Spirits in 2001 and two lurchers crossbred sighthoundsOver the years she has worked as an editor and transcriber 1972 73 research assistant 1976 77 bookstore clerk 1978 teacher and counselor 1978 79 editorial assistant 1979 81 barn manager 1981 82 free lance editor 1982 85 and full time writer Other than writing and reading books she divides her time mainly between walking her hellhounds gardening cooking playing the piano homeopathy change ringing and keeping her blog


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