JM's Reviews > The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold

The Rose and the Beast by Francesca Lia Block
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's review
Jan 26, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: adult-specfic, urban-fantasy, setting-usa, adult-fiction, short-stories, fantasy, fairytale-elements
Recommended to JM by: Jackie

Adult short stories. Modern retellings of European fairy tales.

These stories were always beautiful, frequently disturbing, sometimes touching. A few times the modern story, with its own narrative imperatives, diverged too strongly from the fairy tale to work as a retelling for me - the Sleeping Beauty story was an example of that. A few times the fairy tale referencing was too self-conscious - the Beauty and the Beast story, with its heroine who is so aware of the way the story is supposed to go, jarred with me.

But some of the insights into the fairy tales were rather cool. I liked the comment in the Beauty and the Beast tale that if you fall in love with a beast, it might be disappointing to see him civilised. I liked the acknowledgement that the end of Snow-White and Rose-Red is a sundering of the most important relationship in the story - the sisters are separated when Snow-White marries the bear-prince, and creating another random prince for Rose-Red doesn't fix that. I think I liked the Red Riding-Hood story best. It handles dark themes rather adroitly - the wolf is Red's step-father - and the heroine's voice is a good one.

In the final analysis, I liked this book, but academically. It was interesting and it appealed to the part of me that loves to deconstruct folk tales. But it didn't feel like I was the target readership.

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Reading Progress

January 26, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
March 1, 2008 – Finished Reading
April 3, 2008 – Shelved as: adult-specfic
April 3, 2008 – Shelved as: urban-fantasy
April 17, 2008 – Shelved as: setting-usa
June 18, 2014 – Shelved as: adult-fiction
June 18, 2014 – Shelved as: short-stories
June 18, 2014 – Shelved as: fantasy
January 9, 2018 – Shelved as: fairytale-elements

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