Customer Reviews for

Grendel

Average Rating 3.5
( 205 )
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(58)

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(27)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

I found this book quite confusing. But i am only in 8th grade. The only reason I read this book was because it was on my sister's summer reading list, and she is a senior in high school. Even for not understanding it, i could tell that this was an excellent book. It was...
I found this book quite confusing. But i am only in 8th grade. The only reason I read this book was because it was on my sister's summer reading list, and she is a senior in high school. Even for not understanding it, i could tell that this was an excellent book. It was very well writen. It was also nice to read a book from the villen's point of view. I've always read stories from the hero's perspective, and it was a pleasent change to read the story from the outcast's view. This book was extremly good.

posted by Anonymous on August 5, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Slow and confusing

John Gardner had a creative idea to write the book to let readers see life through Grendel's eyes. However, the book was very long and dragged out. There wasn't a lot of action and fighting scenes as I had expected there to be. It was confusing how Gardner would jump ba...
John Gardner had a creative idea to write the book to let readers see life through Grendel's eyes. However, the book was very long and dragged out. There wasn't a lot of action and fighting scenes as I had expected there to be. It was confusing how Gardner would jump back and forth between flashbacks and current events.

posted by SBuerk on December 11, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2006

    A reviewer

    I found this book quite confusing. But i am only in 8th grade. The only reason I read this book was because it was on my sister's summer reading list, and she is a senior in high school. Even for not understanding it, i could tell that this was an excellent book. It was very well writen. It was also nice to read a book from the villen's point of view. I've always read stories from the hero's perspective, and it was a pleasent change to read the story from the outcast's view. This book was extremly good.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    Good, fast read

    Grendel provides the reader with Grendels perspective on the Epic poem Beowulf. It gives the reader the reasons behind Grendels attacks and why he always spared two people in particular. This gives light on the poem that I as a reader took and I now understand the plot much better since i have an explanation behind the monsters seemingly pointless rampages.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2011

    Not bad at all.

    I¿d recommend reading Grendel by John Gardner as long as you¿ve fulfilled a few criteria: you read (AND ENJOYED) Beowulf and you are genuinely interested in the character Grendel in it. This may seem a bit too obvious, but I went into this novel with no care for the character and a decent understanding of the events of Beowulf. I didn¿t like the book at first but it grew on me. It shows an incredible new side to someone that I had assumed was just a monster. The story goes along the lines of showing how Grendel grew up and what led to his death in Beowulf. As long as you like Beowulf and are interested in Grendel as a character, you will enjoy this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2014

    Grendel, one of the monsters that Beowulf defeats in the epic Be

    Grendel, one of the monsters that Beowulf defeats in the epic Beowulf, tells his side of the story. Grendel is frequently challenged for violence and Grendel’s nihilistic view of the world seen throughout the novel. There is violence in Grendel and some of it is explicit however at a high school reading level this sort of violence is not inappropriate. Most high school students have seen more violence on TV then they will read in this book. As for Grendel’s nihilistic view of the world, the entire novel refutes it. One of the themes in this novel is that having a positive and more hopeful outlook on life is better than wallowing in nihilism your entire life. Grendel is not the hero of this novel, in fact he is the complete opposite, and he is not even an anti-hero. Grendel is given a choice in the novel whether to choose the Dragon’s negative nihilist view or chose the Shaper’s positive more hopeful view and Grendel chooses wrong. From that point onward Grendel’s nihilism is viewed in a negative light. Eventually at the end of the book, Beowulf, who could be viewed as a hero of the novel, defeats Grendel. Beowulf who stands for the Shaper’s views defeats Grendel who stands for the Dragon’s views. In fact Beowulf is even depicted as a dragon in the last scene. Beowulf is a dragon of hope whereas the Dragon is a dragon of egotistic nihilism. While the book is from Grendel’s view the novel depicts him and his views as wrong or evil. This novel actually promotes a hopeful out view on life and therefore has no reason to be banned.

    Gardner, John. Grendel. New York: Knopf, 1971. Print.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2013

    Goood :)

    I found the book enjoyable but it was extremely perplexing. I had too read it over the summer for my AP English class, if you have seen the movie Beowulf (which doesnt follow the epic poem) then it will make you see Grendel in a totally different light in my case anyway. But i say it was a good read.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    Good book.

    Overall, I thought this was a great book. Similar to how The Lion King 1 1/2 gives a second point of view to the original story, "Grendel" tells the story of "Beowulf" from the eyes of Grendel. Behind all the killing and destroying resides a rational and literate being trying to find the meaning of life.

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  • Posted December 12, 2011

    Hear the story from Grendel's side-definitely worth a shot

    Grendel was very challenging to start, but once the story picked up there were moments of happiness, guilt, regret, remorse, and laughter. The book really packs a punch and makes you step outside of the thoughts provoked by the poem "Beowulf." Grendel becomes a much more complex character, but it is very text heavy for the story trying to be told. It could easily be shortened, but at the same time I feel like the extra paragraphs about randomness help you understand the confusion in Grendel's mind at all times.

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  • Posted December 12, 2011

    Makes you think!

    I enjoyed reading John Gardner's novel Grendel. It was fun and interesting to explore the story of Beowulf through the eyes of his enemy. Gardner provides the reader with a new prospective, helping to open their mind to walking in the shoes of the enemy instead of the hero. In Gardner's novel, Grendel is shown to be more human-like than he was in "Beowulf." I recommend this novel to anyone who had read or enjoyed the original; it is nice to see the other side of the story as opposed to just one point of view.

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    Thought Provoking

    Due to my personal dislike of Beowulf, I was excited to read about the action from the villain¿s point of view. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Gardner¿s story focuses much more on Grendel¿s personal life, than on his violent interaction with man. Due to his isolation from humankind, Grendel is forced to look within himself for the meaning and purpose of his life. I found his introspection to be deeply thought provoking. I also enjoyed seeing Grendel¿s character come to life through his own narration, and would recommend this book to anyone interested in seeing this ¿monster¿ in a different light.

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    Very creative and detailed, just confusing at times

    I would definitely recommend this book to people that read and enjoyed Beowulf. In this novel, John Gardner sheds light on Grendel's thoughts and opinions by making Grendel the narrator. This novel is very detailed, from the progressively maturing thoughts and feelings of Grendel, to his changing opinions on life. Although the flashbacks Grendel has are confusing at times, this is a very interesting read and causes you to rethink the monstrous being from Beowulf.

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    great mystery

    The book goes back and forth through flashbacks and the present quite often. One scene is Grendel killing and the next is him stuck in a tree years ago. The way Gardner presents this book is always keeping you guessing whats going on and what will happen next. It makes you always wanting more action once Gardner gives you a little action.

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    Creative and philosophical - worthy of a read

    I went into this book with a negative mind set after having just read the somewhat dull "Beowulf," but finished with great respect for the literature and Gardner's thought process. Gardner takes a two dimensional character and transforms him into an insightful, philosophical character. Much unique research went into the book and was expressed through the thoughts of the main character, Grendel. It is as if Gardner is speaking though the confused monster himself. I would recommend this book to any aspiring young philosopher.

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  • Posted December 9, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Read Beowulf first

    This novel shows life from the side of a monster named Grendel. As told in the epic of Beowulf, Grendel is an evil monster with no soul. This book allows you to feel what Grendel is feeling and to see the world through his eyes. I enjoyed reading Grendel, but would suggest reading Beowulf before picking up this book. It will make a lot more sense and allow you to understand the situation.

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  • Posted December 9, 2011

    Very good philosophical novel.

    I thought Grendel, by John Gardner, was an excellent novel and prequel to Beowulf. The philosophical questions brought up are very interesting to ponder, and leave a lasting effect on you after you finish reading the last page. Gardner does an amazing job of humanizing Grendel, and painting the picture of a lonely outcast in a hurtful world. I recommend this novel to anyone that enjoyed reading Beowulf and is interested in the back story of such a minor, but important character.

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  • Posted December 8, 2011

    A Decent Read

    Every story has two sides and John Gardner¿s Grendel does a good job showing this. The story tells of the life of Grendel and how he ties into the story of Beowulf. I would recommend this book to someone who likes to hear two sides of a story and not just one. While reading the book, I lost the image of Grendel being a monster and view him more as a person. Also, the further I read into the book, the more it seemed like the humans were the monsters. One part I did not like about the book is chapter 8. Chapter 8 is written in some odd song like thing like the way Beowulf was written. Other than that, I enjoyed reading the book.

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  • Posted December 8, 2011

    Too wordy at times but nonetheless a great novel.

    Grendel had a long and boring start. It took about two chapters to get the book going as it was boring and had too many long and unnecessary descriptions. After a few chapters, the book became interesting and provided a unique point of view that wasn't seen in the similar novel of Beowulf. In addition, the description that seemed as never ending at the beginning of the novel later turned into elaborative text that allowed the reader to actually feel for Grendel. Gardner did a wonderful job in making the reader feel empathetic for Grendel. All in all, I recommend the book to readers who are looking for a challenge and are interested in reading a novel that is from a "villain's" perspective.

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  • Posted December 8, 2011

    Great book, if you enjoyed the novel "Beowulf"

    This book created a very unique prospective compared to the novel, Beowulf, because it showed the epic novel in the eyes of the Monster (Grendel). Although, I did enjoy reading this book, I would only recommend it to those who read and enjoyed reading Beowulf. At times, Grendel would have very long, wordy descriptions, which made the book hard to read. Once you got past those parts, the book was interesting and kept my attention. Overall, I found this book interesting and fun to read.

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  • Posted December 8, 2011

    Close-minded stay away.

    This book was not only entertaining in the sense of an extension to the Epic of Beowulf, but a surprisingly witty pondering of the meaning of life itself. Although it's not written similarly to Beowulf due to the philosophical style (opposed to the action-driven style of Beowulf), it is a good read for any open minded thinker. Regardless, I do recommend a read through Beowulf beforehand.

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  • Posted December 8, 2011

    It was interesting and good!

    I would definitely recommend this book to anyone else, but there were a couple things I found difficult about it. The most bizarre to me was the constant switching from past to present to future and then back again, it made the book a little difficult to really get into. Another thing that was weird at first was Grendel's modern style of thought and speech, but after the first few pages I found I was enjoying it. This book was witty, satirical and very philosophical. Overall this was an interesting and enjoyable read.

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  • Posted December 7, 2011

    Decent book - interesting view

    John Gardner's novel definitely took an interesting view, seeing the epic of Beowulf through the "monster's" eyes. Reading this book allows one to really get in touch with Grendel and understand most things as how he perceived it (however, bits are a bit unclear). Personally I enjoyed this book quite a good bit since most books do not contain this unique prospective. I would recommend this book, however only to people who enjoy unique prospectives, and a good bit of detail (even with the small things).

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