Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Beastly Twist

The most recent book I've finished was Beastly by Alex Flinn, who happens to be a woman. Oops. I was reading a particular paragraph thinking to myself, "Now see, that's exactly where men and women have completely different views on sexism". I flip back to see the info on the author and lo and behold, Alex is a woman. So much for my theory. I guess I have to admit to you all at this point that, yes, I did have an issue with the portrayal of sex and sexism in this novel. Not once, but twice mind you, the author made a disturbing comment about how a school dance is like legalized prostitution. I'll explain this in the context of the reading as best I can: the boy buys the girl a fabulous corsage and gets her a limo to ride in and and treats her like a princess all night. In return, it is assumed he will get what he wants, which is apparently always to ravish her. O.M.G. Reminds me of a disgusting article I read in Ebony that shocked the bejeebers out of me. It was a pro/con debate on why men should pay for sex. I know what you're thinking. What? Why would any magazine publish such trash? No idea, but they did and I read it. The man (and I do use that term loosely) said that in any relationship a man has to buy a woman lots of things to be able to get in bed with her. My jaw did hit the floor. I cannot possibly fathom a world where people think these attitudes and actions are not only widespread and normal, but ACCEPTED. They most definitely are not. I don't know about you, but my life has never resembled the above descriptions. OKAAAAAY, I think I'll get off my soap box now.

So did you actually want to know what the book was about? Ok. I can do that. Well, it's a modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Need I say more? Well, I will anyway. I tend to be long-winded when I write. Beast starts out as your typical most popular guy in school with good lucks and a rich dad to boot. What does this make him? A total jerk. So of course, the night of the aforementioned dance, he is turned into the beast by a mysterious new student (the witch) at school whom he dissed earlier in the story. When his father finds out, he spends months going to doctors to cure this stange disease before giving up on his son entirely. He is moved out of his father's Manhattan apartment and moved to a 5 story house in Brooklyn with the housekeeper and a new tutor who is blind.

With the witch's parting present- the magic mirror, he looks in upon his former friends and discovers the shallowness of their lives- which of course mirrors his own former existence. Ironic, huh? One he returns to frequently is a humble girl who attended his school on scholarship. Their brief connection was when he gave her the crushed rose that his date was not impressed with the night of the dance. She turns out to be Beauty if you didn't see that coming from a mile away. Now this is a stretch, but he manages to entrap her as his "prisoner" when it is her drug-addicted father that breaks into the house. In order to not be killed or have charges pressed against him, this really pitiful father offers up his daughter to the beast. Whatever. So she moves in, eventually falls in love with him cause he's changed and then he has to let her go because her father gets sick months later. But wouldn't you know on the very night his chance to get his true self back would expire if he's not kissed by a woman who loves him, he checks on her with his mirror and sees her in such peril he risks running through the city to save her. And of course she kisses him just in time and saves the day.

I wasn't thoroughly impressed if you didn't get that. It's one of this year's Lone Star books, but I don't know why. I really think it's a high school book. I definitely won't vote for it. But feel free to form and share your own opinion of Beastly.


EHarris said...

I just finished reading The Tempest Tales by Walter Mosley, it puts a different spin on heaven, hell and the afterlife.

Rockettlibrarian said...

ooh, we need to add that to our list of books about the afterlife. It's a topic for one of our Javas this year!

Anonymous said...

With Evie's obsession with fairy tales, this may be one she wants to read one day!
Cindy Garcia