January 27, 2015

Reader's Regret & Robin McKinley's Beauty

Quirky Bookworm - Reader's Regret and Robin McKinley's Beauty, the January pick for the YA Book & Movie Club.

January's pick for the #YABMC is Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast
by Robin McKinley. It's a sweet little tale, a re-imagining of the familiar legend without any big changes, but with some great characterization. I read it several times as a kid and loved it (it was one of the very few books I bought out of the Scholastic catalog with my own money!), and I've really enjoyed rereading it this month.

In the YABMC Facebook group we've shared some of our favorite moments, discussed our slight frustration with the rapid denouement, and geeked out over news that Emma Watson will be playing Beauty in a live-action Beauty and the Beast! Meghan said, 
"I first read Beauty around the same time that Disney's Beauty and the Beast came out on video - so somehow the two are inextricably bound together in my mind. And really, there seem to be echoes of the 1978 book in the 1991 movie. The hall of portraits, the various feasts that are laid before Beauty, the Beast's method of "seeing" Beauty's family, and the AMAZING library are all quite similar. It makes me wonder if the Disney screenwriters were influenced by McKinley's earlier work, or if my impressions are based on the proximity within which I experienced both the book and the movie. Either way, I never think of one without remembering the other!"

One of the recurring themes in our Facebook discussion of the book was the surprise of several people about how much they enjoyed Beauty, since they'd never even heard of it. Moira said she wished she had read it as a kid, since her twelve-year-old self would've loved it. I can relate to that feeling. Last year I read Ballet Shoes and Dancing Shoes, and I was like "WHY am I just now reading these?! I would have LOVED them as a kid."

I'm not quite sure what to best call that feeling. "Reader's regret"? "What could have been read"? I'm sure you understand the feeling though!

What books do you wish YOU had read earlier?