A Book You Own, But Haven't Read
Beauty and the Beast Novelization (Disney)
Adapted by Elizabeth Rudnick
My first post for my Pinterest Reading Challenge. Eeek!
Okay, so the first suggestion that I pulled was "A book you own, but haven't read." There are several of them considering I have a habit of buying several books during any one visit to the book store, but in all reality, I couldn't wait to pick up Beauty and the Beast Novelization. It had been sitting on my shelf for a couple of weeks and with the movie having just come out (on DVD), the passion I have for Belle and her Beastly Prince just boiled out of me.
If I could be anyone, I would be Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She is the best princess because she is not a princess. (FYI, Merida from Brave and Mulan from Mulan tie for second.) Belle is a beautiful girl, taking care of her duties and escaping to far off places with her nose stuck in a book. She doesn't need a prince to come along and swoop her off her feet and take care of her. She's strong and intelligent all on her own. I have always been a huge fan of Belle and hope to share her passions and instill her beauty and intelligence in my (currently nonexistent) daughter one day.
This version of Beauty and the Beast was adapted by Elizabeth Rudnick and published in 2017. However, the original Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bete, in French) was written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740 and has been re-written many times over. It has been adapted into many different version for the screen, stage, prose and television over the years as well.
This is your traditional "tale as old as time" fairy tale story with far off places, daring "sword" fights, magical spells, and a prince in disguise!
Belle, a beautiful girl, goes in search of her inventor father, Maurice, in the woods only to find him locked up in a giant, foreboding castle. While trying to rescue her father, the owner of the castle finds her and gives her the option of staying prisoner in her father's place. Being that her father is her whole world, and the loving and kind person she is, she makes the switch against her father's wishes. However, the occupant of the castle turns out to be this big , hideous beast. Will Belle be able to stand living here with him, locked in his tower for all eternity when she dreams of a life of adventure?
As it turns out, the Beast and his castle are all under a spell because the Beast, who was once a prince, has no kindness or love in his heart. During a ball one night, a cold beggar-woman came to his door with a single red rose and asked for respite in his home while a storm raged outside. Appalled by her appearances he denied her entry. She turned out to be a beautiful enchantress who cast a spell upon him and all those within his castle. If the Prince could learn to love another and earn that person's love in return by the time the last petal fell, the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast forever.
Belle and the Beast must overcome their differences and learn to get along if they are to live in the castle together. There to help them overcome their differences along the way are the Beast's castle staff: Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts. With their help, Belle and the Beast learn to see each other for what they really are: human and a lone. But when Belle's father ends up being taken to the insane asylum, even knowing what it will do to him and his staff, the Beast sets her free because he has finally learned to love.
Will Belle make it to her father in time? Does she love the Beast in return? And will this tale have its fairy tale ending it so deserves before the last petal falls?
If you haven't read this version of Beauty and the Beast yet, you can save yourself some time and watch the 2017 movie with Emma Watson as Belle. And I don't say that lightly. I'm always one that thinks the book is better than the movie no matter if I read it before or after. I'm a bookworm, a lover of print, but this book and the 2017 movie are the exact same, verbatim. I actually stopped reading at one point, popped my DVD in and followed along in my book. I was very disappointed.
When Disney's original Beauty and the Beast movie came out in 1991 I was four years old. It was the first movie I saw in the theaters and I was instantly hooked. Belle became a part of my heart that I still carry with me 26 years later. So, when the new version with Emma Watson playing Belle came out this year I knew I was going to have some issues with it and I couldn't let that get in my way of enjoying it. And for the most part I followed through.
But this is a book review, not a movie review. The book, for the most part, follows along Disney's original movie as well, which did make me happy. There were some lines from the 1991 film that were missing that I felt were very important to the story in general, such as when Belle picks the same book that she's read twice already, the librarian, Monsieur Jean's response is, "If you like it all that much, then it's yours." I have always found this line to be very compelling and it helps you to get to know their relationship a little better. You know that they are close, and that Belle frequents the library quite often. It may seem insignificant to most, but it just about broke my heart that it wasn't in the book (or in the 2017 film.)
A change that I personally was not fond of was that the enchantress not only gives the Beast the rose and the magic mirror, but a magical book that can take him anywhere. I've already said that I'm a lover of words. I love books, the more the better, but I don't like this book. It's not because its magical, that doesn't bother me at all. It's the fact that it's kind of redundant. Um, he has the magic mirror to show him the world outside his castle. This mirror is supposed to make him see what life is like not being a beast and compel him to want more out of life, to want to find love and kindness. So, what's the point of having a mirror that you can see this and a book that can take you? I understand that the book was to take him places so others could see and fear him, and make him feel the hate that he placed upon so many others, but I don't understand the point behind having both. Make it one or the other, and personally I say the mirror because you need the mirror later in the story to help Belle defend her father.
A different perspective I did enjoy in this book compared to the 1991 film was that it doesn't seem that Belle's feelings toward the Beast change because he has a large castle with a stunning library (that he gives to her, isn't that every girls dream?!). But that her feelings toward him change because he is a reader too. She sees that he's an intelligent man who has read most of the books in the library (and what a feat that is!). I never thought that Belle was a gold-digger, out to get the Beast's money, but in this version you can truly see that she's falling in love with the man inside, and not his wealth.
Beauty and the Beast Novelization is a good book. While it is not the Disney original that I fell in love with so many years ago, I do see the wonderful story that it still is. I wouldn't necessarily say, go read this book over watching the movie (because after all, there's singing in the movie!), but I would say that if you don't have a TV or thoroughly enjoyed watching the 2017 film and are still jonesing for more, then go read this book.
I realized a long time ago that Belle and I are a lot alike. We are both compassionate and intelligent young women that have found our Beast in life. Because he's no Prince Charming, we've been through the ups and downs, working toward our happily-ever-after's. And while the romantic in us both wants to have that beast in our lives forever, she knows - and I know - that if for some reason he's not there, we'll be okay; we're strong and independent women. We also know that it's so much better to experience life's adventures with someone else.
From one wine-loving bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
Love this book? Check out As Old as Time: A Twisted Tale by Liz Brazwell as well as the rest of her Twisted Tale series.
Pair it with: L'ombre de la Bete Rhone Valley Vin Rogue (Shadow of the Beast).
While dinning in Be Our Guest, I had a glass of this full bodied red wine and it was scrumptious! I'd even go as far to say it was better than the grey stuff! However, I'm sorry to say you might have to travel to Magic Kingdom to have a glass. (Sorry, not sorry!) I've had a hard time finding a picture of it, let a lone to buy a bottle from anywhere other than Beast's Castle. If you find a way to buy this beautiful wine, please let me know. I'd love another glass!
Start a conversation: Who was your favorite childhood hero/heroine? Do you still regard them the same way today?
Have a book you'd like to suggest or one you'd like me to review? Please feel free to leave your comments down below.