Saturday, January 23, 2010
Lorena's Review of Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
How many re-tellings of Beauty and the Beast are on your shelf? Go on, go count them, I can wait.
I can tell you how many I have.
Five different books, by five different authors to tell me in five different ways how a girl and a beast fall in love. So when I picked up Crazy Beautiful it wasn't because I wanted someone else to tell me how a girl was trapped in a castle by a tormented monster. I already have enough copies of that. But to see how a real life Beauty and a real life Beast can co-exist and fall in love without the need of a wicked witch's spell to bring them together, but their own desires.
"In an explosion of his own making, Lucius blew his arms off. Now he has hooks. He chose hooks because they were cheaper. He chose hooks because he wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly. He chose hooks so that everyone would know he was different, so he would scare even himself.
Then he meets Aurora. The hooks don’t scare her. They don’t keep her away. In fact, they don’t make any difference at all to her. But to Lucius, they mean everything.
They remind him of the beast he is inside. Perhaps Aurora is his Beauty, destined to set his soul free from its suffering.
Or maybe she’s just a girl who needs love just like he does. "
If this book was meant to have been a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, it failed.
But if it was meant for more than that, then I shall give it the praise it so much deserves.
What Crazy Beautiful does is more than just retell the story of the girl and the monster. It tells the story of two lovestruck teenagers. A boy tormented and exiled for the monster he's become, and the girl he can never touch.
What Lauren carries through this book isn't the formula to recreate the fairytale, but the raw emotions that run deep in the story that makes Beauty and the Beast what it is today.
I know what the flap of the book says, I'm just telling you it's a load of bull. This story is too powerful to be marked as just another retelling of an old tale. There's no magic, no enchantment, only the magic of what Lucius and Aurora make out of life, and how they choose to live it. They aren't bogged down to the lifespan of a single red rose, but by their own decisions, their own mistakes.
Crazy Beautiful is really an easy book to read. It's dark, sure, and might even make you question your own actions. But I'd easily recommend it to anyone, with only 208 pages, there's no reason not to read it. Again I'll warn you. Don't dive into this book hoping to see a boy who's own vanity has transformed him into a monster. There are plenty of other books I could recommend for that, but this just isn't it. This is only if you want to enter the mind of a boy who's monstrosity has been created by the society around him, and the one girl that can help him.