Posts Tagged ‘A Fairy Tale Retold’
Doman, Regina. (2007) Waking Rose: a fairy tale retold. Front Royal, VA: Chesterton Press. ISBN #978-0-981-93184-5. Author recommended age: 16 +. Litland.com also recommends 16+. See author explanation for parents at http://www.fairytalenovels.com/page.cfm/cat/116//
Publisher’s description: Ever since he rescued her from Certain Death, Rose Brier has had a crush on Ben Denniston, otherwise known as Fish. But Fish, struggling with problems of his own, thinks that Rose should go looking elsewhere for a knight in shining armor. Trying to forget him, Rose goes to college, takes up with a sword-wielding band of brothers, and starts an investigation into her family’s past that proves increasingly mysterious. Then a tragic accident occurs, and Fish, assisted by Rose’s new friends, finds himself drawn into a search through a tangle of revenge and corruption that might be threatening Rose’s very life. The climax is a crucible of fear, fight, and fire that Fish must pass through to reach Rose and conquer his dragons.
It is difficult to capture the essence of this story coherently because it touches upon so many aspects of life. There is the mystery, of course, and continuing depth of family loyalty amongst the Briers. The craziness of those first years experienced when young adults leave their nest and venture into the outer world of college life, whether as newbie freshmen or advanced graduate students. Unlikely friendships as the strong nurture the weak with Kateri mentoring Donna in her mental illness, and Rose guiding Fish through abuse recovery. Fish’s loyalty to Rose, taken to the extreme, becomes unforgiving. But then self-denigration turns into enlightenment and hope.
And after all of that is said, we are left with the relationship of Fish and Rose finally reaching a neat and tidy conclusion :>)
The girls have progressed in the series to young adults. Blanche just married Bear and Rose is off to college. Fish continues in his college program too. Doman shows us the challenges young adults face when they first enter the world on their own, particularly in making friends and exploring crushes. We can imagine ourselves engaged in the chit chat and horseplay typical in budding relationships. Important also is the picture implanted in our mind of courtship.
Throughout the story, we can see the existence of three pillars: faith, family and friends. Whenever one of these pillars is weakened, internal conflict and unsafe situations arise. Maintaining the balance, we see Rose’s keen ability for discernment that has been honed as a result of consistency in faith life, family home “culture, and choice of friends. Her discernment is key to good decisions, keeping safe, etc.
Going beyond stereotypes, the dialogue paints a clear picture of the perceptions held by non-Christians against Christians, countered with a realistic portrayal of the passionate young Christian student. Previous books portrayed accurately the Catholic culture as the context within which the mysteries took place. This book is less of a cultural portrayal and, instead, draws us into the issue-filled, and often polarized, setting of college life. Woven therein are pieces of logic to help the reader refrain from being “sucked into” an erroneous view, such as when Fish points out to the doctors and faculty that campus-based pro-life activism isn’t any different from the environmental activism occuring on other campuses—leaving the implication in our mind of the unfair treatment received by pro-life advocates over other college groups. In a world of entertainment—especially literature—filled with strong agendas forming the minds of readers, these implications serve to train the brain into common-sensed reasoning.
In the midst of all this is a very timely and realistic mystery too! Transferring back and forth between His thoughts (Fish) and Hers (Rose), as well as their shared banter, readers of classic poetry and Shakespeare will continue to be entertained with the intellectual discourse.
And we see how a person, by an early age, can already be exhausted by life’s challenges when victimized again and again. Fish is told that “the world hasn’t stopped being evil just because you’ve stopped fighting it”, and eventually he regains reason and desire to fight again.
Not to be overlooked is the interesting contrast of public activism to protect life at conception, to the private vigil held by Rose’s family and friends to protect her well being at what could possibly be the end of her life. We are reminded of the need to treasure life until its natural end.
By far more intense than the previous two books of the series, Waking Rose deals with mental illness, inter-relational tension, physical and sexual abuse and the resulting gender identity conflict, healing same-sex attraction and developing healthy authentic relationships. All of this is taken within the context of arson, stalking, kidnapping, assault, and attempted murder, with each character’s strengths overcoming their weaknesses. Stylistically, the entire book is presented in back-and-forth fashion between His and Her views, making it appealing to young men and women alike. Rather than a romance novel, it is a realistic portrayal of the breadth and depth of emotions commonly experienced amongst the college-aged today.
Given the above, Litland.com does not recommend the story for younger advanced readers. However, teens and adults will find it moving and enjoyable. Taking this a step further, fiction such as this is necessary to combating the myths and hidden agendas forming the minds and hearts of kids and young adults today. It is especially good material for book club and youth or college ministry discussions, as well as homeschool or classroom literature courses at the high school and early college levels. Of course, it is highly recommended just for good reading too! See our review against character education criteria at Litland.com.