The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold

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Acclaimed author Francesca Lia Block weaves pure magic into this deftly constructed tale—a novel told in the form of linked stories. Echo is caught at the crossroads of a physical world full of hope and despair and the realm of the supernatural, where young men have wings and skeletons speak. On the way, she is graced by angels and gairies and haunted by ghosts, psychopomps, and vampires. But as Echo falls under the spell of demons who threaten to destroy her, she must finally ...
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The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold

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Overview

Acclaimed author Francesca Lia Block weaves pure magic into this deftly constructed tale—a novel told in the form of linked stories. Echo is caught at the crossroads of a physical world full of hope and despair and the realm of the supernatural, where young men have wings and skeletons speak. On the way, she is graced by angels and gairies and haunted by ghosts, psychopomps, and vampires. But as Echo falls under the spell of demons who threaten to destroy her, she must finally look within to find the strength to survive.

Nine classic fairy tales set in modern, magical landscapes and retold with a twist.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Our Review
Growing up, I loved the stories of "Cinderella," "Snow White," and "Sleeping Beauty," but models of modern feminist ideals, these heroines were not. Hedged in the tales of beautiful ladies were life lessons: Being attractive comes from within; kind deeds will be repaid in favor; what you see is not always what you get.

Francesca Lia Block shakes up the traditional tales in The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold. With clean and punchy one-word titles such as "Ice," "Tiny," "Glass," and "Beast," these 21st-century heroines are far more empowered, bold, and inspirational than their classic sisters. Each of Block's nine tales sings, maintaining the perfect balance between lyrical descriptions and understated monologues by the protagonists that shadow the thoughts of many of today's typical teenagers.

In the story of "Wolf," for example, "Little Red Riding Hood" is retold by a teenage girl who is sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend. She plans a big escape, and while the tale could have been played out as an after-school special on television, Block candidly acknowledges the hokey premise of this story line when the heroine says to herself, "Same old boring story America can't stop telling itself. What is this sicko fascination? Every book and movie practically has to have a little, right?"

The difference between this and other stories with the similar sexual abuse theme (or even this and its classic counterpart, "Little Red Riding Hood") is that the heroine in "Wolf" is not rescued; she rescues herself. She removes herself from a dangerous living situation. She confronts her sex abuser. She extracts revenge. Toward the end of the story, this heroine, who seems to possess the spirit of Thelma and Louise, thinks to herself, "Maybe one night I'll be asleep and I'll feel a hand like a dove on my cheekbone and feel her breath cool like peppermints and when I open my eyes my mom will be there like an angel, saying in the softest voice, 'When you are born it is like a long, long dream. Don't try to wake up. Just go along until it is over.' "

Without the "and they lived happily ever after" finish to "Wolf," as well as all of Block's other stories in this collection, readers are not left with an uplifting everything-is-perfect ending. Instead, each tale offers an element of surprise, and all of the heroines in The Rose and the Beast have learned something about themselves. In "Snow," for instance, it seems as though a relationship with Snow's mother (you may remember her as the Queen, formerly known as the fairest one of all in "Snow White") is about to develop when Block takes another turn in her writing. The beloved heroine Snow teaches a lesson about finding love in unforeseen places.

It is also necessary to expect the unexpected from "Beauty in Beast": "Her hair was always a tangle, she bathed less often, her skin smelled of the garden and the forest, she was almost always barefoot." While her transformation is temporary, Beauty's reaction to her metamorphoses is at the heart of Block's writing: These modern teen heroines are much more grounded and easier to relate to than their whimsical classic counterparts. While I will never stop cherishing the traditional fairy tales I read as a child, Block's twists on the timeless stories make for an equally memorable read.

--Soozan Baxter

Kliatt
Evocative.... [Block] weaves a spell over readers ready to enter her universe.
KLIATT
Evocative.... [Block] weaves a spell over readers ready to enter her universe.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Block's (Weetzie Bat) contemporary novels have invariably borrowed elements from classic fairy tales; this time, the author pulls a switch. Setting out to revisit nine fairy tales, she fills her stories with gritty, even headline-grabbing issues. "Charm," for example, features a Sleeping Beauty who embraces the needle--because it delivers heroin. In "Bones," a serial killer who names himself Bluebeard is an L.A. hotshot; he throws huge parties and from among the guests selects his victims, rootless girls whose disappearance will attract no attention. One or two stories strain for effect ("Glass," loosely related to Cinderella, tends to belabor the storytelling prowess of its protagonist, whose glass shoes are "made from your words, the stories you have told like a blower with her torch forming the thinnest, most translucent sheets of light out of what was once sand"). But even these entries wield power, and the collection as a whole is close to intoxicating. Rendered in Block's inimitably lush prose, these works are heady, like the thick fragrance of the redolent gardens and perfect roses that figure here. The darkness of these conflicts and subjects proves the strength of the magic she describes: the transfiguring power of love. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
Block (The Rose and the Beast) moves to a new level of complexity without sacrificing accessibility for this exquisitely wrought coming-of-age story. The subjects, settings and semi-magical tone will be familiar to Block's readers as Echo, an artistic L.A. teenager, overcomes various forms of rejection in her search for selfhood and true love. Echo lives among angels, false and true, mythic and real, among them Echo's mother, whom Echo thinks is perfect but who appears blind or impervious to her daughter's needs; a famous-artist father whose love for his wife seems to leave no room for Echo; girls Echo wishes she could be; and a nameless, wounded boy who saves Echo from drowning and whose memory sustains Echo as she meets men incapable of loving her. As in previous works, death hangs heavily over the heroine: parents die young, vampires prey on the innocent, children fight terrible disease. Block's structure and imagery, however, manifest a new sophistication and subtlety, as passages and metaphors "echo" one another throughout. She delicately shifts the narrative to show different partners (the heroine's grandparents; the lovers of Echo's friends; a sibling pair) facing similar conflicts, but she quietly varies the individuals' responses. Lyrical passages, such as Echo's descriptions of her mother's extraordinary beauty ("She is like the da Vinci Madonna with a crescent moon hung on her mouth") ripple beneath Echo's life-and-death struggles. This begs not just to be read, but to be reread, and savored. All ages. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
"Block moves to a new level of complexity without sacrificing accessibility for this exquisitely wrought coming-of-age story," wrote PW in a starred review. All ages. (Aug.)
Children's Literature
Rather than a conventional story that runs from beginning to end with only one major character, this book is more of a lyrical journey following one woman in and out of other peoples' lives. Like an echo, Echo is a young woman who cannot see herself clearly. For the reader to see her, we must look into the minds of the other characters that know and love her: Eva, Smoke, Valentine and Thorn. Each character tells part of Echo's story to balance out her view of herself. They follow her from her promiscuous teen years to her drug filled young adult years and finally, to her painful struggle to define love, each character showing her beauty while she still believes herself to be ugly. Echo feels ignored by her parents. She believes the only way to find love with men is through her body. To mask her depression, she often turns to drugs, but as she gets older, she begins to look for love inside of herself and finally finds her true beauty. Reading this book is like reading an epic poem. It is full of vivid descriptions and spiritual metaphors and can be understood on many different levels. While it is easy to read, the story has many scenes that that deal explicitly with sex and drugs. Many women who suffer from depression, neglect and low self esteem turn to sex and drugs, and this book showcases that exceptionally well without preaching about it. 2001, HarperCollins, $14.99. Ages 15 up. Reviewer: Heather Robertson
VOYA
So she washed off the dust and ash and flour and mud and went to the dance where sure enough everyone whirled around her, entranced by the stories in which they recognized themselves, but in the stories they were always more than themselves and it always felt at the end fulfilled not meaningless and empty like life can sometimes feel. The reader who is captivated by this involved sentence will go on to love Block's new collection of revised fairy tales. For this sentence demonstrates not only Block's masterful ability to capture emotion and truth with a simple turn of phrase but also her distracting disregard for grammatical structure. It also captures the spirit of Block's retellings. Her fairy tales are not filled with the evil wizards and dragons of some yonder time, but with child molesters, abusive husbands, violent pimps, and other nightmares of present society. Block writes from a place deep within the psyches of her heroines, so that their experiences are, at times, gut-wrenching for the reader. Yet in each ending, everything is peacefully resolved. Traditional fairy tales have a subtle sexual undercurrent; evil malefactors overpower female victims until rescued. In Block's retellings, the sexual component is right out front. For example, Little Red Riding Hood races to her grandmother's house to escape the sexual abuse of her stepfather, and Sleeping Beauty is lost in a heroin stupor while she is repeatedly raped. Block's heroines are rescued by their own intuition or the wisdom of other women. The few likeable men in the stories tend to be feminine in nature. VOYA CODES: 3Q 5P J S (Readable without serious defects; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; JuniorHigh, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, HarperCollins, 229p. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Diane Masla VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
From The Critics
Young Echo wants to be noticed, to be appreciated, to be touched, and unconditionally accepted. Above all, she wants to find her place in the world. In Francesa Lia Block's latest novel, Echo, human longings are expressed as the essence of adolescence, and like the title character, they echo throughout the book. Each chapter of this compelling tale of Echo's search for herself is a story in and of itself. It is told either through Echo's own eyes, or the eyes of those who deeply affect her. Infused with a magical quality that blurs the line between reality and fantasy, Block's writing delivers detailed sensory descriptions that propel the reader on Echo's journey toward discovering who she really is. Often, though, that journey is muddled because the story line jumps back and forth in time, place, and setting, leaving the reader to figure out who is talking about what and when. Still, readers who enjoy Block's fantastical journeys through time and space, will enjoy this life affirming tale of hope, love and belief in oneself. 2001, HarperCollins, 215 pp.,
— Julie Perdue
KLIATT
The author of the Weezie Bat books and other poetic, dark novels for YAs turns her talents to fairy tales here, retelling nine of them in her unique voice. The tales have pithy one-word titles, such as "Snow," "Wolf" and "Ice," and are often updated in unexpected ways. For example, "Charm" tells of an abused junkie in L.A., a sleeping beauty rescued by the love of Miss Charm, while "Bones" casts Bluebeard as a psychotic "big promoter guy, managed bands, owned some clubs and galleries." Some tales are more traditional; in "Rose," a handsome young man comes between the previously inseparable Rose White and Rose Red, while "Beast" sticks close to the familiar story, though it adds to the ending that "Beauty loved him more than anything, her Beast Boy, but, secretly, sometimes, she wished that he would have remained a Beast." Block's take on the fairy tales is often insightful; she brings out their psychological depths, and she is never dull. These are haunting, sometimes disturbing versions of old favorites. Some strong language and hints of sexual abuse make this more suitable for older readers. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, HarperCollins, 256p, $14.89. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-In this new addition to the growing body of reworked fairy tales, Block writes modern situations into the framework of nine traditional tales. Her style is almost more poetry than prose as she interweaves contemporary life with common themes without losing the timeless feel; the stories could be happening anywhere, and to anyone. In "Wolf," the predator waiting at Grandma's house is a man who is sexually abusing the nameless Red Riding Hood character. The needle that pricks in "Charm" is not from a spindle, but from a heroin fix. All the young women change, deepen, and become strong through the difficulties they face. They learn to overcome physical differences, like the Thumbelina character in "Tiny," or realize a truth about relationships with the opposite sex, like the girl who escapes Derrick Blue (Bluebeard) in "Bones." Like "the fairy who was not old, not young, who was red roses, white snowfall, who was blind and saw everything, who sent stories resounding through the universe-," Block herself wields "-a torch to melt sand into something clear and bright."-Trish Anderson, Pinkerton Elementary School, Coppell, TX Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Nine fairytales are given shimmering and scary shape in very modern dress, with Block's luminescent, darkling prose. The one-word titles evoke but do not prescribe. In"Snow," a screaming child who quiets in the arms of the gardener is given over by him to a houseful of self-described freaks—seven men with the names of animals, who are not-quite-fathers to her. It is the gardener who awakens Snow from her poisoned sleep, but she rejects him to choose the life she knows with the seven."Wolf" reconfigures the Red Riding Hood story in a harrowing tale of incest and sorrow;"Rose" is a powerful metaphor of the bond between sisters, Rose White and Rose Red, and how emergent eroticism looses that tie."Bones" recasts Bluebeard as a sinister L.A. promoter. The place of California dreams, desert light, and movieland glitz familiar in other Block books is her fairy landscape, repopulated with girls who have rose tattoos and remember River Phoenix. She uses language like a jeweled sword, glittering as it cuts to the heart. Readers who thrilled to Donohue's Kissing the Witch (1997) and Donna Jo Napoli's Zel (1996) will find similar dark magic here. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060281298
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/19/2000
  • Series: Ageless Bks.
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Francesca Lia Block, winner of the prestigious Margaret A. Edwards Award, is the author of many acclaimed and bestselling books, including Weetzie Bat; the book collections Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books and Roses and Bones: Myths, Tales, and Secrets; the illustrated novella House of Dolls; the vampire romance novel Pretty Dead; and the gothic werewolf novel The Frenzy. Her work is published around the world.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Snow

When she was born her mother was so young, still a girl herself, still didn't know what to do with her. She screamed and screamed--the child. Her mother sat crying in the garden. The gardener came by to dig up the sod. It was winter. The child was frost-colored. The gardener stood before the cold winter sun, blocking the light with his broad shoulders. The mother looked like a broken rose bush.

Take her please, the mother cried. The gardener sat beside her. She was shaking. The child would not stop screaming. When the mother put her in his arms, the child was quiet.

Take her, the mother said. I can't keep her. She will devour me.

The child wrapped her tiny fingers around the gardener's large brown thumb. She stared up at him with her eyes like black rose petals in her snowy face. He said to the mother, Are you sure? And she stood up and ran into the house, sobbing.

Are you sure are you sure? She was sure. Take it away, she prayed, it will devour me.

The gardener wrapped the child in a clean towel and put her in his truck and drove her west to the canyon. There was no way he could keep her himself, was there? (He imagined her growing up, long and slim, those lips and eyes.) No, but he knew who could.

The seven brothers lived in a house they had built themselves, built deep into the side of the canyon among the trees. They had built it without chopping down one tree, so it was an odd-shaped house with towers and twisting hallways and jagged staircases. It looked like part of the canyon itself, as if it hadsprung up there. It smelled of woodsmoke and leaves. From the highest point you could see thesea lilting and shining in the distance.

This was where the gardener brought the child. He knew these men from work they had all done together on a house by the ocean. He was fascinated by the way they worked. They made the gardener feel slow and awkward and much too tall. Also, lonely.

Bear answered the door. Like all the brothers he had a fine, handsome face, burnished skin, huge brown eyes that regarded everyone as if they were the beloved. lie was slightly heavier than the others and his hair was soft, thick, close cropped. He shook the gardener's hand and welcomed him inside, politely avoiding the bundle in the gardener's arms until the gardener said, I don't know where to take her.

Bear brought him into the kitchen where Fox, Tiger, and Buck were eating their lunch of vegetable stew and rice, baked apples and blueberry gingerbread. They asked the gardener to join them. When Bear told them why he was there, they allowed themselves to turn their benevolent gazes to the child in his arms. She stared back at them and the gardener heard an unmistakable burbling coo coming from her mouth.

Buck held her in his muscular arms. She nestled against him and closed her eyes-dark lash tassels. Buck looked down his fine, sculpted nose at her and whispered, Where does she come from?

The gardener told him, From the valley, her mother can't take care of her. He said he was afraid she would be hurt if he left her there. The mother wasn't well. The brothers gathered around. They knew then that she was the love they had been seeking in every face forever before this. Bear said, we will keep her. And the gardener knew he had done the right thing bringing her here.

The other brothers, Otter, Lynx, and Ram, came home that evening. They also loved her right away, as if they had been waiting forever for her to come. They named her Snow and gave her everything they had.

Bear and Ram built her a room among the trees overlooking the sea. Tiger built her a music-box cradle that rocked and played melodies. Buck sewed her lace dresses and made her tiny boots like the ones he and his brothers wore. They cooked for her, the finest, the healthiest foods, most of which they grew themselves, and she was always surrounded by the flowers Lynx picked from their garden, the candles Fox dipped in the cellar, and the melon scented soaps that Otter made in his workroom.

She grew up there in the canyon--the only Snow. It was warm in the canyon most days--sometimes winds and rains but never whiteness on the ground. She was their Snow, unbearably white and crystal sweet. She began to grow into a woman and although sometimes this worried them a bit-they were not used to women, especially one like this who was their daughter and yet not--they learned not to be afraid, how to show her as much love as they had when she was a baby and yet give her a distance that was necessary for them as well as for her. As they had given her everything, she gave to them--she learned to hammer and build, cook, sew, and garden. She could do anything. They had given her something else, too--the belief in herself, instilled by seven fathers who had had to learn it. Sometimes at night, gathered around the long wooden table finishing the peach-spice or apple-ginger pies and raspberry tea, they would tell stories of their youth--the things they had suffered separately when they went out alone to try the world. The stories were of freak shows and loneliness and too much liquor or powders and the shame of deformity. They wanted her to know what they had suffered but not to be afraid of it, they wanted her to have everything--the world, too. And to be able to return to them, to safety, whenever she needed. They knew, though, she would not suffer as they had suffered. She was perfect. They were scarred.

The Rose and the Beast. Copyright © by Francesca Block. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Interviews & Essays

A Conversation with Francesca Lia Block

Q. What first gave you the idea to take fairy stories and to retell them in a whole new way?

A. I have always loved fairy tales, and when I was looking around for ideas for a new book it seemed natural that I turn to these stories as an inspiration. At the same time, I wanted to make them new because I find contemporary settings very dynamic and because so many of the themes are very relevant to my life. I had just gone through some difficult things, and I didn't want to deal with them directly. It was easier to use a universal story structure as a way to express deeply personal experiences.

Q. How did you choose which fairy tales to retell?

A. I just started writing, using the stories that had the most significance for me and that I remembered best. Then I reread some others to refresh my memory and to use as source material.

Q. How did you "get to know" the characters of these fairy tales?

A. I put myself into the character, imagining how I would feel if I were Tiny or if my life were threatened or if I found a lost love. Then I just kept writing and something magical happened. The characters began to take on their own voices, to create their own situations. I can't fully explain it but I think it has to do with freeing up the unconscious mind, not censoring what comes, listening. I also believe that this alchemy attests to the universal potency of the original stories.

Q. What is the most challenging part of being a writer for you?

A. In the past, it was spending so much time alone -- because even though I enjoy writing, I got somewhat lonely. Now that I have a baby, it is finding the time to write! Also, it can be very exposing and it can hurt to be judged when you express your most personal realities.

Q. We are all told fairy tales as children but remain fascinated by them even as adults. Why do they wrest their way into our psyche like this?

A. The elements of love and terror that fill fairy tales are so primal.

Q. What would you say to someone who dismissed fairy stories as "old-fashioned" or "childish"?

A. I almost hate to answer this because I don't feel it necessary to defend stories that have haunted our collective imagination with their passion from childhood through adulthood for centuries.

Q. When you write -- particularly in a book such as The Rose and the Beast -- to what extent are you telling a story with all the magic and lyricism that is part of storytelling; and to what extent are you using that story as a metaphor to express a deeper truth or message?

A. I usually begin with the poetry of the language and by trying to create vivid characters. Later, certain truths are revealed to me, and I often go back and work on bringing them out more fully in the story. In some ways, starting with the fairy tales made my job easier because the truths are already inherent in the original work. I just had to find a way to apply it to my life.

Q. Your language is imbued with the richness of life -- not the possessions, the "want to collect" like the sisters in "Glass" -- but the richness of sense and experience: the "curtains of dawn," the rose "open, glowing, pink, white, fragrant ...," the sense of freedom smelled on one's skin. Do you feel this, and is it only people who are alive to this who can touch the "magic" of possibility?

A. For me, magic comes out of fully experiencing the sensory world, I believe that love is the ultimate magic wand and love's spirituality can be found in a flower, the sky, a work of art, a baby.

Q. Finally, what are you working on now? Are there more fairy tales to come?

A. No more fairy tales right now. I just finished a book called echo that is a novel told in short stories. I am also developing a series for MTV called Shadow Grove. And I'm writing about my daughter whenever I get the chance.
Q&A courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 35 )
Rating Distribution

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(17)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2008

    A reviewer

    If you like fairy tales, don't read this. It rips them to shreads in the worst way possible. I especially do not recomend it to anyone under the age of 18. Disgusting, dishonorable and dissapointing.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2007

    Aweful retellings

    I read fairy tale retellings alot because I love the old tales. Usually I also like the retellings...I was seventeen when I read the book, and after three stories I put the book down. The content of the stories made me wonder at first if the book had been put in the wrong section, it belonges in the adult section. The book takes beautiful stories and makes them bad and trashy.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2006

    Way to ruin all the best fairy tales, Francesca Lia Block.

    It was horrible! Her demented and perverted mind bent all the beautiful stories I know and love into horrible mangled pieces of garbage. I don't think it's creative, intelligent, or 'artsy' in any way. It's complete garbage. Forgive me for not being particularly moved by bestiality and drug abuse, never mind that she completely negates the seriousness of rape and encourages promiscuity. She's filth, as far as I'm concerned. The only use for this book is kindling or potty training a new puppy.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    I want my money back

    WOW! What a poorly written book, I couldnt get past the first two stories, the "book" is only 66 pgs and it was almost $10, it hope my money helps this writer get a proper education.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2007

    A reviewer

    When I first started reading this I thought I was going to like it but it was terrible. She put so many curse words into the book. She puts rape into it. I agree with the other reviews. I only read half because the fairytales just go worse. I am also suprised that alot of the reviwers hated it too. If you lik fairytale books read Donna Jo Napoli or the Once Upon a time Series. Do Not read this.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2006

    Um, what?

    I didn't like this book. But I find Block's writing to be 'either you love it or you hate it' type of stuff. This book was very trashy. It was not magical at all as I expected it to be. It wasn't even creative. Just trash, filth. I almost cried, because all the childhood stories were simply RUINED. And like other reviewers have said, it definitely tones down the seriousness of most of the issues mentioned in this book! Ridiculous. I do NOT reccomend this book. I've read Weetzie Bat, though, and that was simply a work of art. And all the books in that series. If you've only read this book from Block, I reccomend to not give up on her and check out a Weetzie Book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2006

    What a waste of paper and money!

    I thought I was going to read a good version of the stories, instead I was reading trash! As a writer, why do you condone these types of actions especially for younger children. I'm not a child, and I'm not a prude, but I was so disgusted with the book, I tore it in little pieces, and threw it in the trash where it belonged!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2011

    Opinion Now and Then

    I first read The Rose and the Beast when I was in seventh grade. I was a pretty sheltered child, and in 7th grade I was just learning about sex and rape and drugs and murder. I read said book thinking I was gonna get a treat like Donna Jo Napoli's Beast--- a beautiful, different telling of my favorite fairy tale. OH NO. This book was filled with sex, something that was then foreign and very dirty. My favorite fairy tales were ripped apart by the things that MADE them fairy tales. A world without sex without love, murder without justice, and mostly only good people. And so I threw it out of my mind. BUT...now that I've read it again, I LOVE IT. This book calls to the dark side of us that know fairy tales and the real world are two completely different things. And yet, there's something tragically poetic and emotionally stirring in these cryptic tales. At least give it a shot. You never know!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2006

    No matter what they all say...

    I loved it! yes, as a teen I still do love those dreamy, fairytales that you can get lost in. But in Block's way of telling the stories you can look at them in a different view, knowing there is a happily ever after in your own state of mind, not in a nonrealistic book. I think people could relate to at least one of the nine stories in some way, shape, or form. I loved this book, and not once did i ever think of the story literally, I tried to imagine the story deep within the text.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2006

    Ok

    I didn't think this book was that good. I mean, it had description and good images, but it didn't appeal to me that much. There was swearing, drugs, rape, and many other things that I think shouldn't have been there. But overall it was ok.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Love iit

    Loooooooove it

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2001

    awsome book

    the way this book is written is very intriguing. i couldnt put it down! i especially loved ice

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    At times, this book was truly wonderful, a unique perspective on

    At times, this book was truly wonderful, a unique perspective on some of our most famous fairy tales such as Snow White, Thumbelina and Beauty and the Beast. I was enchanted and could have recommended this book to young adults. It might have provided them with an alternative read to embrace.
    Then the swear words and references to drugs and alcohol began. I realize that some men and women choose to revel in this culture, destroying themselves and others around them. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t expose our youth to these cold, bitter alternatives. The lovely cover belies the treachery found within. I regret selecting this book and wish the author would have stuck to the good road instead.

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  • Posted November 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    goodness gracious

    When i picked up this book i was really excited. i think i enjoyed one story out of the nine. each story was short and easy to read, so that was a plus, but man this book was bad. it was trashy and confusing. i will be blocking these short stories out of my mind as if i never read them so my original view of these fairy tales will not be tainted.

    if you want a good retelling of beauty and the beast read Beastly- before the film comes out!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2008

    Keeps you on Edge

    The Rose and the Beast, Francesca Lia Block, is an intriguing short story book with nine different childhood stories rewritten to relate to the darker side of the 20th century. Each story uses a key part of the original fairy tale and adds a twist. Each of the nine stories is different and shocking in its own way which makes the book exciting to read. The author did a great job going into the story and each character and making it her own. My favorite of the short stories would have to be ¿Tiny¿ and ¿Beast¿. I enjoyed ¿Tiny¿ because it had a happy ending and it kept me guessing until the end. It was related to Thumbelina, but instead of using a bad guy, she makes her own choices to leave and leads herself into danger. ¿Beast¿ was also one of my favorites because although it didn't have a happy ending, it showed there can be good in all of us and turned the good ending of Beauty and the Beast into a sad ending that makes you want to try to be a better person because of people you love. My least favorite story, although hard to choose, would be ¿Ice¿ because of the heartbreak and betrayal throughout the whole story. I would highly recommend this book to mature readers that would like something new and entertaining that will keep them on the edge of their seats. Each story is written with such detail, I could imagine everything happening. Although shocking, each story has one¿s own personal moral and meaning behind the dark humor and leaves you wanting more. Young female, fantasy seekers, looking for an exciting book that uses fairy tales from childhood will not be dissatisfied with The Rose and the Beast. The tales turn each story into impacting and detailing shorter ones. This book earns high recommendation from this reviewer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2008

    Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold

    Fairy tales arentstorys for happily ever after! Thats Disneys portayal of them. Fairy tales where created to teach children about life and love. And that in every hardship there is happiness to be found. The original fairy tales have been written and rewritten to be just happily ever after mush, instead of the life lessons they where originaly ment to be. These versions of the fairy tales teach teens that the things that are deemd 'cool'and 'fun' have a harsh reality. Sort of a backwards motion then the original fairy tale's. What many seem to find 'filthy' and 'trashy'is just harsh realitys. Not the magical mystic made up world of happily ever after, but the reality oir practical thinking and truth. Those who hate it are just mad that they where shown not every story has a happy ending. Or, they are mad because they bought it for their 12 year old expecting it to be disney material. I recommend this book for 14 and above. Fairy tales think outside the box, this book thinks outside the box of the every day 'once apon a time'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2008

    Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold

    I like this book, I dont know why it is concidered a childs book, because it is more of a teen book. Fairy tales where originaly stories to teach children lessons. These tales teach skeptical teens more mature lessons. Fairys and witches dont bother the more matured mind. But the realitys of Drugs and sex do.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2008

    A very good portrayal

    This book was good! I don¿t know what people are talking about when they say this book wasn¿t good. Francesca Lia Block gives a good modern twist to each of these stories. Cause we have to face reality. Reality isn¿t always a happy ending. People die because of drugs! People do get abused! I know this is only my opinion but if there were more of these types of books out there then it would be considered a book that people would often buy. Not only does this book display realistic ideas this book was written very artistically. And I love the portrayals of little kid fairytales becoming something that teens can read at their level. I would recommend this to anyone over the age of 12. Younger kids would not understand this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2007

    i did not like the book

    i did not like the book because there are some discusting stuff that i read in there that did not sound right. also the stories did not lound like the stories i have read. like with Snow she ends up rejecting the guy and decides to live the men that took care of her when she was little. this is a book that i do not reccremend to read for little chidren and teenagers.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2005

    Genius Art

    Franscesca Lia Block proves once again that she remains one of the best storytellers of my time, through this re-writing of fairytales. The thing to remember is that before fairytales were adapted into bedtime stories, they were extremely dark and morbid. Block captures their essence perfectly, in a way that young adults can relate to. Block tackles forbidden subject matters such as rape, incest, murder, and homosexuality, twisting them into an intricate string of lyrical words that add to the storylines and don't take them away. Only a pure genius can do that, and Block is certainly one. This book is a study of unique and brilliant storytelling, and it's not just for teens. Read it!!

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