Oh I absolutely LOVED this take on a new perspective... the monster, and the monsters... who's the true monster? I read Beowulf in the 10th grade or so, and found it brutal. The whole "hero's archetype" thing. Well, this is rather horrifying, but one begins to sympathize and truly see through Grendel's eyes. His flaws, Beowulf's flaws, the world and society and their flaws. But not the book itself-- this book is great!
Not having read Beowulf, I didn't have that connection that friends of mine relayed to me about this novel but, I do feel it's a good YA discussion book because teens can readily relate to the feeling of being an outsider looking in and trying to understand (and wishing) how to be included in a larger (popular) group.
While the description on our site calls Grendel merely a re-telling of the story "Beowulf," it's a lot more.
Grendel focuses on the titular character, the monster Grendel, as he lives, plots, and imagines in his life in Denmark in the early years AD. Most of the story is written using modern terms (sometimes in a hilariously anachronistic way) and is much more accessible than the original epic.
It's a short read, but (as any high-schooler might tell you) there are innumerable ways to interpret Grendel and his way of thinking.
Try it out!
"Grendel is a beautiful and heartbreaking modern retelling of the Beowulf epic from the point of view of the monster, Grendel, the villain of the 8th-century Anglo-Saxon epic." -Amazon.com
I found Grendel to be an interesting take on the Beowulf epic. I actually read Grendel before reading Beowulf, and it changed how I viewed the original epic. Grendel, a monster, reflects some of the confusion and questioning present in humans. The setting is in 4th century AD in Denmark but his language is obviously modern. I don't think it takes away from the story as I found the old English in Beowulf overbearing and confusing.
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