I reserve Sundays for fairytale reading. Whether it’s a traditional Grimms’, or a new adaptation of a known tale, there’s nothing better than curling up with a hot chocolate and a cupcake in your favourite chair, and following that breadcrumbed path through the woods, and out into another world. And I figure – since I always end up relaxing with them on the weekends – why not share my Fairytale-filled Sundays with the rest of you? Who knows, we might start a phenomenon.
So from now on, every Sunday, expect a fairytale-related post on Poisoned Apples and Smoking Caterpillars. And if you have any suggestions for future posts, or fairytale-related things you’d like me to read, please let me know in the comments.
To kick us off on this fairytale frenzy, I’d like to discuss Beastly, by Alex Flinn. I haven’t actually had the expected pleasure of reading the book, but before any Beastly fans out there protest too loudly, I have recently seen the film version. I’m the first one to say that films and books do not compare – much of the time (in my opinion) film adaptations do not do the book justice. More rarely, sometimes the film adaptation actually does the book more justice than it deserves. For today, I’m just going to pick up on the themes that were interesting, and if I refer to anything that is changed – or not even present – in the book, well – you can politely ignore it.
The story of Beastly borrows the story of Beauty and the Beast and places it in a modern context. Kyle is the most-sought after boy at school, but he knows it. After humiliating a fellow student (who happens to be a witch), the girl seeks her revenge on Kyle by making him ugly in appearance, to reflect his ugliness inside. He has one year, so the spell goes, to make someone love him for who he really is, or else he stays ugly forever. Taking the opportunity to save a maiden in distress from a dangerous situation, beautiful fellow teen Lindy is put under house arrest and forced to interact with the shame-faced Kyle. And you can guess what happens from there…
Despite its many adaptations, I found Beastly to be a surprisingly refreshing spin on the traditional tale. But it is perhaps even more surprising how apt the story is to current-day teen relationships. The need to be accepted is at no age more prominent than during the teen years, and it evokes the right amount of sympathy for Kyle (who truly is a horror at the beginning of the story). We’ve all seen how popularity can turn people’s heads, and most of us have at some stage experienced what it’s like to be an outsider craving to be an insider, as well. I was impressed that the story appeared to be from the male point of view as well – because Lindy (Belle) by herself would have been a little weak, and we would have missed out on all that teen anguish and transformation that works so well through Kyle.
All in all, I’m looking forward to seeing how true the film stayed to the book, because the film wasn’t too bad at all.
Have you read or seen Beastly?