March 14, 2011

Sue's review of Beastly by Alex Finn


I am a beast. 
A beast! 
Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright. I am a monster. 
You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll, stay this way forever ruined unless I can break the spell. 
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly...beastly.

As I have said before I do love reading books that are adapted into movies. 

This hobby of mine started in high school when we had to write a compare and contrast paper on a book adaptation.

I have long since forgotten what paper I wrote, although I am pretty sure that after I wrote it (and had someone fix my pathetic punctuation) I probably got a fairly decent grade!

At any rate, this is my hobby.

So one day I was hanging out on Twitter and I heard about this new movie coming out with some cute guy (when are they NOT cute?) and people started talking about it. (watch trailer here)

Some love him, some think he is adorable. 

Others do not really care for him.

His name is Alex Pettyfer. 
I watched the trailer for this movie and found out that it is based on a book! 
While I normally wouldn't see this movie until it's released on cable (while I'm staying up late some night with my ornery 3 yr old) I thought, "This doesn't look TOO bad!"
And of course, since it has a book that it's based on, that to me, made it all the more appealing.

So I went in search of this book.

I have to say that for a modern-day retelling of the story Beauty and the Beast, it's not bad.
This is one of those books you read when you just need to suspend reality for a while and when you want something that is not too challenging and is a feel good kind of story.

The problems I had with it are that the characters start out VERY young, they are only 14 at the beginning of the story!  I have teenagers, so I think that what happens to the Beast would break him more than the story lets on.

Also, as an adult reading a romance story, I find it squicky to read about kids engaging in some *ahem* adult activities (although they were not graphic).

Teenage boys also do not behave the way the Beast does in this story. I cannot imagine a teen boy being this romantic. This was addressed in the book by a few of the supporting characters, but again, it is a suspension in reality story.

I can see why the author had created the characters to be so young, if the Beast character had been older he might not have been so easily manipulated to be kept in hiding. Because at his young age, he still really craved his father's love and acceptance, he dutifully did what he was told, which was to stay out of site and away from his famewhore father.

There are supporting characters in this story that make the story SO worth the read in my opinion.

The Witch, who initially curses the Beast was a favorite of mine.  I loved her even though you are supposed to hate her for what she did to the boy, but I really can't find anything about this boy that is redeeming at the beginning of the story so I found myself cheering her on. The blind tutor in the book assumes the father figure in the story since the boy's father abandoned his son to avoid embarrassment. In the movie adaption this character is played by Neil Patrick Harris. He makes the trailer in my opinion and in the book this character is not as charismatic but is still one of those characters that you love to love.

I think the BEST thing about this book would be the "chat room" talks with the online support group that the Beast found for those affected by spells that made me laugh so hard because it was a cute modern day addition to the original story and really reflects the NOW feel of the story. 

So I guess if you like reading an adaptation of a fairy tale this would be a good story for you to pick up.
However, if you are looking for something really original and not cheesy, one where you do not have to suspend reality then perhaps you should give this book a "pass."



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