**spoiler alert** Okay, so I'll admit that when the Potter books first came out, I wasn't a kid. I don't have kids, unless you count three cats and a**spoiler alert** Okay, so I'll admit that when the Potter books first came out, I wasn't a kid. I don't have kids, unless you count three cats and a dog (though sometimes its three dogs), but you shouldn't because dogs and cats are different from kids. I don't have to send them to school, and I don't really have to read to them. Though, I had a dog who growled during Paradise Lost and a cat who loves Anthony Trollope. Anyway, the point is I am not the targeted age group. I have a soft spot for Potter. Rowling gets children to read long books. It's fantasy. Its about outcasts. It has dogs, cats, owls.
I, however, did not really like this one. Why? It didn't need to be as long as it was. It really didn't. It was predictable, at least if you think about everything it was. The real reason, however, is what in Hades did Rowling do to Hermione? I mean, geez, talk about a whining, nagging, annoying girl. She's nothing like she was in the last book. True, she's still smart and far more loyal than Ron. She knows how to pack. But sometimes in the book I just wanted to tell her to be quiet or to stop crying.
And what was with all those deaths at the end? Did Rowling just throw names out willy nilly? Remus and Tonks? Because Tonks cares more for her husband than her child? I get people die in war, but the deaths lacked the meaning and feeling that Dobby had. That was a death. The rest just felt like she was running though a list. Real life, maybe. But in this type of book? Why couldn't Harry mourn Hedwig just a little more? Then, I'm suppose to believe that Molly could take out Bellatrix? Really, without Molly showing any real power before? I understand the idea of a mother's rage, but it came across as "can't le Ginny do it because she's a kid".
And the ending, the fanfic ending? Why would Harry name his child after Snape before naming a child after Sirius?
Well, I'm not a kid, so maybe that's why I didn't like this one so much. ...more
The Book of Lost Things is a fairy tale about childhood that is written for adults. While the subject matter deals with the issues of a young boy whosThe Book of Lost Things is a fairy tale about childhood that is written for adults. While the subject matter deals with the issues of a young boy whose mother has died and whose father has remarried, Connolly addresses the larger issues of life. It is a true life fairy tale. In some ways, the plot is very obvious for Connolly does stick rather close to some of his inspiration. I also got a little frustration with the afterword. Not when Connolly is discussing his source material, but when he is telling me what all the symbolism and plot points mean in relation to the stories.
Yet, even when Connolly is sticking to his source material, he inverts. I’ve seen the Seven Dwarves as communists before, and there is that standard joke about how white Snow White was after her time with seven men, but I’ve never seen such a twist on the tale that Connolly uses. In many ways, what Connolly is doing is inverting standard fairy tropes and motifs. He plays with the evil step mother motif. The step mothers aren’t wholly evil; it’s the woman who takes over the traditional male role. Yet, men who disregard or reject the role of women are also shown to be evil, in some ways worse than the woman.
What Connolly seems to be attempting to do is to present to a grown up a reader a fairy tale about what it means to exist in the world. Reality and fantasy are constant players in any person’s life. We read fiction, in part, for the stories that are told us, so that we can leave behind our everyday life, so we can fight that dragon from the safety of couch, chair, bed, or bench. We are always drawn back to everyday life; we have to be if only to go to work, to get money, to get more books. Yet, we daydream during our work day, and when we read, we relate our boss, the annoying customer, or the jerk on the bus to a character in a novel or story. ...more
I think if I were younger, I would've enjoyed this book much more. If you read significently, then you can see all the plot twists coming. While the cI think if I were younger, I would've enjoyed this book much more. If you read significently, then you can see all the plot twists coming. While the concept is intersting, the characters are boring, unless they are designed to be "cool" (such as the Hatter). I wondered if the book was written with an eye to TV or movie adaption, for it had that feel. It really is a fantasy for younger reads....more
I got a copy of this in 6th or 7th grade. I've read it so many times that it is being held together by a rubber band. I enjoyed it because it was theI got a copy of this in 6th or 7th grade. I've read it so many times that it is being held together by a rubber band. I enjoyed it because it was the first real fantasy book I read where the hero is a young woman. She's not just the sidekick, but the hero. She's also flawed and not supergirl or ravishing beautiful. It's a wonderful book because of that. In many ways, it is the perfect book for any quiet girl simply because a loner, an outcast proves herself needed. Perhaps the success of the book among girls is tied to that facet of the story....more
There is something about the Beauty and the Beast story that is attractive to society in general and to the literature, movie making crowd in particulThere is something about the Beauty and the Beast story that is attractive to society in general and to the literature, movie making crowd in particular. Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Middlemarch and other books in varying literary quality draw on the motif, subverting, perverting, or simply retelling it (One of my faves is Jane Yolen's version which is a mash up with O Henry's Gift of the Magi). It is no surprise that Robin McKinely was drawn to the tale, twice, and any reader can see the germ of the second novel in this book, her first.
McKinley's writing, in particular The Hero and the Crown, was one very important touchstone of my childrhood, as it seems to be for many fantasy reading women of my age. I can't help but wish that teen girls of today would read her the obessive way and in the vast amount of numbers of those that read Twilight or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. McKinley writes better, and she will most likely last longer.
This book, McKinley's first and her first retelling of Beauty and the Beast, was totally ripped off by the Walt Disney Company for thier movie. It's actually sad and insulting because not only did Disney rip it off, but they totally shortened the Beauty character (now, before people come and demand my Tigger shirt back, I happen to like the Disney movie, but a spade is a spade. Get over it).
McKinley draws heavily on the French version of the story, yet she makes it her own. Beauty likes to read, but unlike Disney's Belle (Beautiful in French), Beauty reads literature, not the romance novels of her day. Belle's love of reading is based on her love for romantic adventure; Beauty's is based on a love reading for itself and for knowledge. She is a scholar. It is difficult to imagine Disney's Belle having the same reaction to the library in this book, that Beauty does (also, we are never given a title of what Belle reads, hmmm).
Another change that McKinley makes, and she is one of the few authors who does this, is make Beauty's family a loving family. Beauty not only loves her father, but she loves her sisters. She and her sisters get along. They take to each other, not down to each other. They are not in competition. This isn't a fairy tale of the bad sisters being punished and the good (always the young one) being rewarded; it's about a loving family being rewarded.
Because this is early McKinley, there are flaws in the book, flaws that make the reader understand why McKinley basically rewrote the story in Rose Daughter. Beauty, for instance, is almost too perfect. She is the girl who stands out because she is not only more bookish, but more boyish than the other women. This perfection is dealt with in the end sequence. Additionally, Beauty's gaining of Greatheart feels like a wish fullment version of the horse movie of the week. But these are really, almost nit-picking. The most serious flaw is the fact that Beauty's sisters, Grace and Hope, are almost interchangable, though fully likable. McKinley also presents the view that being non-bookish is not any worse than being bookish, which is nice.
What I truly love, now, however, is simply that I only realized when I re-read this book as an adult. Beauty and the Beast from its earliest days was always a story about women and marriage, in particular the fear of marriage that must have developed in a society when the marriages were arranged and husband and wife barely knew each other. McKinley keeps this, and adds, understandably, a fear of desire and of changing into an adult. In many of Beauty's reactions to Beast there is the change of pubertry but also that struggle of coming to terms with adult desire, love, and one's own sexuality....more
A Robin McKinley book is never bad. Like a Jane Yolen book is never bad.
Deerskin is based on "Donkeyskin", a Charles Perrault tale that is usually neuA Robin McKinley book is never bad. Like a Jane Yolen book is never bad.
Deerskin is based on "Donkeyskin", a Charles Perrault tale that is usually neutered and deals with the theme of incest. "Donkeyskin" appears in other collections in variations such as Thousand Furs. These tales are related to "Cinderella" but are darker in nature for the princess flees her father who wants to marry her.
McKinley's retelling is a study in the recovery from abuse and assault. It is more of a inner journey than an outer one. I can get over my disappointment in the departure from the source material. In the orignial stories, the princess is able to fool her father and her court by demanding dresses, which she takes with her when she flees. Lissar, McKinley's princess, cannot do this. Yet, because of the inner journey, it keeps true to the tale....more
I haven't read this book since high school, so I have no idea whether it would still stand the test of time. I know that from the time I got until theI haven't read this book since high school, so I have no idea whether it would still stand the test of time. I know that from the time I got until the time I outgrew it, I read it every single year. It was one of the few books with a central female character that I could id with. It is particularly good if you are the elder child....more