Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Mar 25, 2006

Beauty

One of my favorite surprises to encounter at the bookstore is to see a book that I read when I was even younger than I am now return to print so that I'm reminded to get my own copy. When I went yesterday, here was this book by Robin McKinley.

While the story will be a familiar one to most people, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, the simple, forthright prose makes for an enjoyable re-visitation. McKinley's version of the story is one of the best I've read, as well. Instead of the sappily helpless Beauty driven from her home by cruel sisters to stumble unwittingly into a perfect situation deep in the forbidding forest, we have instead a practical, classics-studying, horse-riding Beauty who, knowing full well what awaits her in the forest, chooses to accept the difficulty and surpass it.

Beauty, in fact, is only her nickname, acquired through an amusing incident when she was a child; her given name is Honour.

Also interesting is the fact that she doesn't really awaken the humanity in the Beast: he already possesses it, being a wise old soul by the time she meets him, albeit somewhat lonely. What happens is that, in her time spent in his company, she grows into herself and realizes her own personal beauty.

Now, that's a story worth telling.

One caveat: this book is mostly appropriate for younger readers (12-18), but given that context, it's absolutely worth reading. Or, if you're like me, and you never came to believe that getting older and becoming more mature means disdaining the simpler and more straightforward
pleasures of youth. I personally think it means that you learn how to enjoy difficult and complicated things as well.

Rating: 4.0

1 comment:

Katie said...

Very cool! I'm putting it on my (very long) reading list :o). I like your posts.