Beastly (2007 book)
I almost re-reviewed the movie (starring Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens) until I saw that I had already reviewed it before. Haha. Anyway, this is actually a very late review, since I finished the book the day after I saw the film.
Remember that I raved about the movie, as it is a modern retelling of a classic fairy tale? Well, the book, written by Alex Flinn, is so much better! It is actually very close to how the fairy tale was told: the Beast is hairy; Beauty’s father was found intruding in the Beast’s garden; and well…there’s the explanation for why somebody enchanted prince charming in the first place. He was, after all, being beastly!
What I like about this retelling of an old children’s story is how it was able to capture our times, not only in the look but also in the feel. Flinn, without playing so much with words, really knows how to weave literary textures to make them palatable to the ordinary 21st century reader.
The Beast, vain and obnoxious Kyle Kingsbury, actually chats online with other unfortunate fairy tale characters like the Frog Prince and the Little Mermaid, many of which, obviously, had been physically transformed one way or another. I also love how Kyle transforms and gradually falls in love with the plain but lovable Linda Owens, who is Flinn’s version of “Beauty”. The story is told through Kyle’s perspective, and though I am not quite sure that he thinks how guys think, I appreciate the attempt in capturing the male psyche.
The caveat here, however, is that this is not something I’d read to my younger brother (a 5th grader) or any of my younger cousins. There are slightly mature overtones that are better read by teenagers on the verge of…well, that kind of discovery. They could probably relate to that struggle between your hormones and your sense of responsibility.
Overall, I’d highly recommend this — and the film — to romantics out there. Both have that kilig factor that will make you forget about the harsh realities of life for a while. Hehe. Of course, note the differences and appreciate them for what they are. (I’m sorry, I just can’t lose when cutie Alex Pettyfer is in a movie.)
Oh and a bit of trivia:
Unlike the movie, which got a lot of negative reviews, this book fared well with the critics.