Author: Alex Flinn
Genre: YA fiction
Publication Date: 2007
Purchase Price: $7.00 (paperback)
Beastly is yet another adaptation of the original La Belle et la Bête (1740, Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve), this time set in modern day New York City.
Kyle Kingsbury, an attractive but arrogant high school student, ticks off the wrong magical being and finds himself transformed into a half-man, half-beast. His father, ashamed of his son’s fall from grace, shuts the teen up in a house in New York, with only a blind tutor and a housekeeper for companionship.
Kyle has been given two years to find someone he can love and who loves him in return. A year passes, and Kyle begins to despair. Firmly convinced that he will remain a monster forever, he shuts himself away, giving all his love to the roses he and his tutor have planted. But when Kyle catches a burglar in the act and the man offers his daughter in return for his release, Kyle is intrigued. Could this be his last chance to find love and free himself from the spell?
I know, nothing new. The story’s been around for over 270 years — needless to say it’s been adapted a few times.
All the creepy young-woman-held-against-her-will stuff aside, this story has always been one of my favorites. It’s about seeing beyond the outside, and growing to love another person because of who he/she is on the inside.
And I did appreciate some of the darker elements of Flinn’s novel. Kyle’s relationship with his father is strained (to put it very mildly), and Lindy’s father is an alcoholic/drug addict who trades his daughter for some blow. Flinn also incorporates in some more of the dark side of fairy tales through Kyle’s interactions with people in an online chat room.
I’m not in love with Beastly, but I do like seeing the darker aspects of the fairy tales — they’re closer to the original tales, and after a bunch of sugary sweet Disney renditions, I think I’m ready for a little darkness. Flinn’s written several other novels, all of which you can read about on her website.
Have you read any of the original fairy tales that Disney is so fond of remaking? Which versions do you prefer? Got any recommended reads for me?