Review of The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold

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Author: Betsy Hearne
Editor: Tom Burns
Date: 2006
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Book review; Critical essay
Length: 834 words

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[(review date 19 November 2000) In the following review, Hearne compliments Block's ability to cast classic fairy stories in dramatic contemporary contexts in The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold, noting the author's emphasis on the pre-existing themes of child abuse in the traditional tales.]

Once upon a time there was a beautiful writer who journeyed into the forest of young adult fiction with a series of novels that read like contemporary fairy tales. Their very titles suggest lyrical invention--Weetzie Bat, Witch Baby, Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys, Missing Angel Juan, Baby Be-Bop--but they are also laced with traditional folk motifs and images. In The Rose and the Beast, Francesca Lia Block has turned to recreating some actual classics by Charles Perrault, the Grimms, Hans Christian Andersen and Mme. Leprince de Beaumont. Readers familiar with postmodern literature based on fairy tales will not be startled by the results, but others may be unsettled.

Authors have been busy shifting points of view, altering endings and relocating scenes for a while now. Many new versions of old stories appeal to a crossover audience of adults and young adults. Angela Carter, Tanith Lee, Robin McKinley, Donna Jo Napoli and William Brooke, among others, are a hard...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420072594