Posts tagged beastly
Posts tagged beastly
Beastly by Alex Flinn
Target Audience: YA/Teen
Summary: Kyle Kingsbury used to be the most handsome, most popular, most sought-after guy in his high school – until he public humiliated one of the so-called “ugly” crowd. Unfortunately for him, she was no teenager, but a modern-day witch, and as punishment for his beastly behavior, she’s turned him into a true beast. Shipped away to a penthouse by his famous father, he has two years to find a girl to love him or he’ll stay that way forever.
Type of Adaptation: Modernization with a perspective shift
So Alex Flinn is a relatively new name to the fairy tale adaptation genre, and what I like about her books is that she writes modernizations almost exclusively, and with a story like Beauty and the Beast with iconic adaptations like Beauty to its name, it’s nice to see the new context that a modernization forces. Because when you’re setting a story in the real world, there are some questions you have to answer: how does magic work? Are there really witches walking among us? How do you hide a beast in New York City?
I thought Flinn translated the story very well into modern times with modern sensibilities. How well? Well, let’s to the checklist.
Stronger Beauty character? Yes. Lindy’s not in a lot of the novel, but she’s very well developed when she is. We sympathize with her, we understand her, and yet, she’s very human and flawed, too. She loves her father despite everything he puts her through, but she’s not a saint. She still judges the Beast, and it takes time for her to grow past that, to learn to trust him. So check.
Stronger backstory for the Beast? Well, it isn’t backstory here; it’s the story, and as I said earlier, I love the translation this made to a modern character. It’s not just about selfishness, it was about cruelty. The reason for the curse got stepped up a notch, which it needed, and Kyle’s growth was very believably done and very rewarding for the reader.
Stronger reason for Beauty’s non-return? Like many other adaptations this month, she didn’t have to return. It wasn’t a condition. Now, Kyle did ask if she would, if she would visit him, and the reason why she didn’t there was great – she didn’t know how to get back to the penthouse. She didn’t have an address, her father wouldn’t tell her, and she’d only gone there once before by a very roundabout way. I buy it, so yes, check.
Stronger relationship between Beauty and the Beast? My favorite part about this relationship is that they knew each other before the curse. Lindy knew Kyle when he was beastly in both respects, and she’s the one he first showed that redeeming bit of kindness. It really wrapped her into the story early on, giving the whole thing a lot more connectivity. And once she got to his home, again, very well done. Full marks.
Stronger message? Not just a stronger one – one a bit more applicable to our time. It’s got the whole “inward beauty is more important than outward” message, but with a twist of, “No, the world doesn’t follow that aphorism, so you’re going to have to continually fight to believe it,” which is wonderful.
This is a masterful adaptation. One or two flaws in the narrative, to be sure, but the story is contextualized really well, and despite the magic added to New York City, it’s entirely believable.