Posts Tagged ‘antiques’
Doman, Regina. (2008) The Shadow of the Bear: a fairy tale retold. Front Royal, VA: Chesterton Press. ISBN #978-0-981-93180-7. Author recommended age 14+. Litland.com recommends age 14+. See author website for parent guide to aid you in deciding acceptability for younger readers. http://www.fairytalenovels.com/docs/Picky%20Parent’s%20guide%20to%20Shadow.pdf
Modeled after the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale Snow White and Red Rose, this isn’t your Disney princess spoof. Anyone familiar with the real fairy tales of old know they spin morals and virtues contrasted with evil throughout the tapestry of the story. Doman’s book includes the best of this feature without some of the hideous and difficult storyline that traditional fairy tales are known for.
It is a tale of two sisters named…you’ve got it, Blanche and Rose! The teenagers live with their widowed mother in New York City. Not a simple whodunit at all, the reader is led with suspense through the dark streets, halls and buildings; parties and conversations with the popular kids you know are setting them up for a fall; envy, jealousy, almost-despair, uncertainty. Fear. The description and self-dialogue realistically portray true inner emotions of the two sisters as they face ridicule, bathroom bullying, and school authorities. School-age readers can relate entirely; adult readers are glad to not be in high school anymore.
Far from the typical one-dimensional view of teen angst given to us in entertainment today, this story is enriched by the affinities and intelligence of its characters. In addition to an occasional Chesterton or Tennyson quote, the description wrapped around their interactions is culturally-rich; thought-provoking wisdom is their normal discourse. Rose’s emotional melt-down in the park, playing her violin in the rushing wind with an impending storm at bay is dramatically told. We can feel her lift “her bow from the strings in the silence of the rushing winds…” after playing that “distant, bold note flying high as a bird to the clouds”.
Not all is as it appears.
Good and evil subtly mirror one another throughout the tale. It can be a rough exterior compared to a gentle personality. The rumored drug dealer’s virtuous behaviour compared to the popular, good looking guy using and manipulating all around him. Self-discipline and self-denial vs. hedonism and selfishness. White martyrs and red martyr vs. evildoers.
A 200-page book should be a quick read. I usually slide right through one. Some books, however, just have more to say. And this book is one of those. Without a word wasted, Doman has given sufficiently rich detail in both the physical and emotional settings that we can feel we are there. We see in our mind solitary Rose playing an ominous tune on her violin in the middle of the park with the same fervor as the wind. From the beginning, the girls imagine that the human exterior merely covers up for a magical interior, and we are then swept through a fast-paced story full of emotion and suspense. Litland.com highly recommends this story for teens and adults. While its content is “clean”, parents should decide if a story line with drug dealers, beer parties, and murder are acceptable for their younger gifted reader. Grade for these schoolgirls? A++!
(Follow the movie at http://theshadowofthebear.blogspot.com/ ! )