Beastly by Alex Flinn
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
My Ratings: 5/5 (because it’s that good!)
What’s Beastly About:
I AM A BEAST.
A beast. Not quite wolf or gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature with fangs, claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a walking monster.
You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. This place is New York City. The time is now. And I’ll stay this way forever – unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, the perfect girl, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly … beastly.
Beastly was a book that I checked out of the library on impulse, and I’m not regretting it. In fact, I have to admit that it fueled my passion of reading even more, putting my reading hiatus on… well, hiatus.
Alex Flinn weaves many fairy tales together to form a completely refreshing yet familliar fairy tale in modern-day New York. The main one is the classic Beauty and the Beast. I think there was a little hint of Snow White ( the way Kyle’s father abandoned Kyle in the Brooklyn house, but not because of beauty but ugliness ) and The Phantom of the Opera ( how Kyle kept Lindy in the house ), and somehow I kept thinking of the Red Riding Hood while reading this novel.
“You will know what it is like not to be beautiful, to be as ugly on the outside as on the inside. If you learn your lesson well, you may be unable to undo my spell. If not, you will live with your punishment forever.”
Another thing I like is how the author focuses on the philosophy that looks don’t matter. It is emphasised probably in every chapter. Kyle’s snobbish attitude about looks had caused him to be in this beastly state, and the spell breaking is also based on that philosophy. Based on the fact that Lindy loved Kyle despite him being beastly. Looks are materialistic. And if you choose to look behind the looks, maybe you’ll see the real beauty.
You shouldn’t be worried of feeling bored. Some of the chapters are accompanied by excerpts of “online chats”, which I suspect is from Kyle’s Myspace. The online chats include characters like a mermaid ( who resembles Ariel from The Little Mermaid ), a frog ( from The Frog Prince ) and other characters who I can’t figure out where the originated from. The writing is based on Kyle’s thoughts, which are sarcastic, amusing and very teenager-like.
There are also mentions of many other books and movies: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera, Little Women, The Princess Bride for example. Alex Flinn is definitely a classic lover.
If you are a hopeless romantic, like me, you’ll definitely love this book.
Love is never ugly.
“No I didn’t see a beast.”
“But if there’s a beast, maybe he’s just a regular guy with a skin condition or something. Maybe he just needs some understanding. Maybe we judge people too much by their looks because it’s easier than seeing what’s really important.”
– Kyle Kingsbury