Fairy Tale Book Review: Beauty & the Beast

"Anne Anderson05" by Anne Anderson (1874-1931) - http://www.artsycraftsy.com/anderson_prints.html. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anne_Anderson05.jpg#/media/File:Anne_Anderson05.jpg
“Anne Anderson05” by Anne Anderson (1874-1931) – http://www.artsycraftsy.com/anderson_prints.html. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anne_Anderson05.jpg#/media/File:Anne_Anderson05.jpg

I have been posting to this blog less this year than I used to because most of my blogging energy has gone toward my Year in Disney Movies blog, which has been a greater undertaking than I expected. Disney movies were so interwoven into the fabric of my imagination when I was growing up that I’m sure they have had a bigger impact on my writing than I am able to consciously decipher, but I did write a bit about the intersections of my writing life and my Disney obsession in my post about Aladdin, which is my favorite Disney movie. I’ll be posting a review of the upcoming Aladdin dystopia book, A Whole New World by Liz Braswell, soon, too.

For today, I’m posting my review of “Beauty & the Beast,” which I read (I think for the first time?) prior to watching Beauty & the Beast last month. Enjoy!

This was a much quicker read than I expected. Nothing in it really seemed “new” to me, and I don’t know if that is because I have read and seen enough “faithful” renditions of the story or if I actually read it at some point in the past and forgot about it.This version was strange because both Beauty and the Beast start out as pretty “good” characters, so there is not much transformation except at the moment of ACTUAL transformation for the beast, from monster to man. But from the very beginning, the Beast is kind and patient with Beauty, and she enjoys his companionship but finds herself put off by his looks. Because he is already good, it seems that the character who must change is Beauty, but she ALSO is portrayed is being almost impossibly good, especially when compared with her selfish, shallow sisters. So the only “change” she really needs to make is to get over the Beast’s appearance — she goes from being a “good” character to an “even better” one, which isn’t an incredibly dramatic transformation.

I do like how her realization of the Beast’s virtues comes after she sees how unhappy her sisters are with their handsome, wealthy husbands who do not possess the character traits that make a good husband the way the beast does. This is what makes her realize she loves the Beast, and of course her love transforms him. So even though she learned looks aren’t the most important thing in a relationship, lucky her, she doesn’t have to live with the consequences of that realization — she gets a man that is handsome after all, PLUS in possession of other husbandly virtues. So, it all works out pretty well for her in the end.

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