The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold

by Francesca Lia Block

HarperCollins, October, 2000.
Hardcover, pages.
ISBN: 0060281294
Ages 14 to Adult

The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold by Francesca Lia Block The talented Francesca Lia Block turns her hand to the reinterpretation of classic fairy tales in this fascinating short story collection. Block takes the classic stories of Snow White, Thumbelina, Cinderella, Rose Red and Rose White, Bluebeard, The Ice Queen, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood and turns them upside down and inside out. In "Bones," Bluebeard becomes an aging Hollywood producer who preys on young, aspiring actresses. In "Wolf," little red riding hood is molested by her stepfather, and the identity of her savior is a pleasant surprise. In "Tiny," little Thumbelina becomes a garden spirit who longs to find her true love, and Sleeping Beauty pricks herself with a heroin needle.

No one writes quite like Francesca Lia Block, the author of the Weetzie Bat novels and Violet and Claire. Her prose is sensual, lush, and lyrical, yet it also has a hard, modern edginess about it. "Rev found, strangely, that she was hungry. She ate the sweet and spicy, creamy lime-stung mineral water. She breathed the gardenias. She watched the woman's eyes. They were like the eyes of old-time movie stars, always lambent, making the celluloid look slicked with water, lit with candles." Her fairy tales are set in what could be modern-day Los Angeles, but it is L.A. as seen through a lense of wonder and enchantment. Older teens through adults will enjoy the wonder, cruelty, beauty and hope that Block conjures up when she weaves her enchanting stories. Highly recommended.

--Claire E. White

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This review was published in the March, 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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