Thursday, January 17, 2013

Retell Me a Story Book Review: The Turning by Francine Prose

Welcome to another day of Retell Me a Story fun!  In case you've missed out on anything so far, check out the previous posts:
- Welcome and giveaway post
- A guest post from Nikki of BookPairing on The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood, 
- A list of new and upcoming retellings
- A guest post from author Diane Zahler on fairy tale mixers,
- A review of one of Diane's fairy tale retellings, The Thirteenth Princess,
- A fun Robin Hood guest post by Suey of It's All About Books
- A guest post by author Marissa Meyer on fairy tale scavenger hunts,
- A review of a fairy tale mash-up, Enchanted by Alethea Kontis,
- A guest post by Angie of Angieville on classic retellings

The Turning by Francine Prose
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication date: September 2012
Pages: 256
Source: Review copy provided by publisher
For: Review

When Jack takes what seems like the perfect summer job - hanging out with two kids for three months and getting paid a lot - he little expects what he gets. On a remote island with no phones, internet, or TV, he feels a bit isolated. And even if the kids are a bit strange, things aren't too bad. Until they are. He begins to see two people hanging around the island - two people who might actually be ghosts.

Things I Liked: 

This book definitely had the creepy, psychological factor going for it, right from the beginning! I loved how you got to see a sort of slow progression for Jack from little weird things happening to completely crazy stuff.  And I liked how we really believe they are happening, because it is in his first person voice. Until suddenly he seems to have gone off the deep end. It was a crazy weird book, and each page had just the right touch of creepy and disturbing. 

Things I Didn't Like:
I found the first person epistolary style didn't exactly fit well sometimes. I got annoyed at how sometimes he seemed to talk about things as if they were happening right then, other times past tense. It made for some awkward phrasing and distracted me from the story at times. Also, it seemed written just a little too plainly. I think some more subtlety would have really gone a long way. It's been a long time since I read The Turn of the Screw, but I think the classic has a lot more to it than this does. I better read it again :)

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Reminded me of Frost by Marianna Baer

s-factor: !
a few, not too many

mrg-factor: X
maybe a little implied

v-factor: ->
mostly psychological, but there are some rather disturbing parts

Overall rating: ***

What classic story are you hoping will get a retelling?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

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