Beastly by Alex Flinn

I can’t say I was impressed by this one, but perhaps my judgement of it is harder because I recently read Beauty by Robin McKinley… hard to compare the two (but inevitable since they are both re-tellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast).

Kyle is the most popular guy at his expensive private school, and he knows it. On the day of elections for class president (or some such elections), an unfamiliar girl calls Kyle on his arrogance in front of the whole school. Kyle decides to get her back at the upcoming dance. Not surprisingly, Unfamiliar Girl is actually a witch, and curses Kyle: she turns him into a beast and gives him two years to find someone to love him. If he doesn’t, he won’t break the curse and he’ll stay in beast form forever.

I admire Flinn‘s efforts at modernizing this fairy tale, and I made it all the way through the book. There were even parts that I enjoyed. But overall I think there was too much disbelief for me to suspend. I couldn’t get there.

After reading this, I wondered what about it made someone decide to turn it into a movie. Really, there are SO many good books out there that I would LOVE to see  made into movies, and this one got chosen? Really?

So of course I had to rent it. I have to say, it wasn’t a good movie, but I found myself more willing to suspend my disbelief about the plot here than in book. I didn’t find the character of Lindy as convincing in the movie. I’m a sucker for tattoos so I liked how they made him beastly looking in the movie (rather than the furry arms of the traditional fairy tale or Flinn’s book). But I digress.

I would say this book is meant for an afternoon of sitting on the beach (with cocktails, for those of us Of Age)… it won’t take you more than an afternoon and a few drinks might help you accept the more dubious aspects of the plot. Sometimes, fairy tales just don’t translate that well into modern life – at least not when the modernised version sticks to the fairy tale plot so closely.


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