Beauty, by Robin McKinley

Beauty, by Robin McKinley

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Beauty is written by Robin McKinley in 1993 which is a retelling of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.

     Beauty is about a girl named Honour who moves from the city into the country with her family with her horse Great Heart and the rest of her family.

     One day, Beauty’s father comes home and tells her about how he had tried to pick one of the Beast’s at the Beast’s palace. Since the Beast had caught him, the father’s punishment was to either offer him himself, or one of his daughters in return for the rose the father had stolen. Beauty decides that she should go, and a month later, she moved to the palace with the Beast. At first, Beauty doesn’t like the Beast at all, and she tried to avoid him, but by the end of the book she comes to love the Beast, and she breaks the Beast’s spell.
     The two main characters in this book are of course Beauty and the Beast. The two characters seem to contrast in this book with different personalities. At the beginning of the book, the Beast seems fierce and is shown to be a real monster.

     “Who are you that you steal my roses, that I value above all things? Is it not enough that I have fed you and sheltered you that you reward me with injustice? But your crime shall not go unpunished.” BEAST PG. 72

     Later on in the book though, you start to see that inside, he’s a kind human being who cares for Beauty.

     “Beauty. Please. Tell me what is wrong. Perhaps I can help.” BEAST PG. 165

     Beauty, on the other hand, is very different. Beauty in is a quiet, dignified girl who loves to read books, and she is close to her family. She also has a keen interest in reading. What’s interesting though is that Beauty’s real name isn’t Beauty, it’s Honour. How Honour got her nick name was she had an argument with her father to change her name since she thought Honour was a boring name.

     “Huh! I’d rather be Beauty!” BEAUTY PG. 3-4

     She found this unfortunate, especially because she thought she was ugly, and would never be beautiful. Beauty kept her feelings to herself most of the time, but she revealed them at the end of the book.

     “Look at you. You should marry a queen or something, a duchess at least, not a dull drap little nothing like myself.

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I haven’t got anything - no dowry, not even a title to hide behind.” BEAUTY PG. 241

     The main theme of this book, is that you shouldn’t judge others too quickly and that appearances aren’t everything. The author though has also put in a couple of other messages in this book. You should never think of yourself in a negative light because you will end up in depression and sorrow. Never underestimate yourself. I noticed that the author also put that theme into the story and really made that point stand out in the book.

     I would recommend Beauty if you are into historical fiction, and if you like the original Beauty and the Beast. It really brings out the emotions in Beauty, and the setting is well written too.
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