Archive | 5:39 am

Retelling Beowulf

5 Oct

Yesterday, on bus duty, I spoke with a parent who surprised me by telling me she was a member of SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and was writing a book base on Hindu mythology. There  are many books that incorporate various mythologies or retell epics in a modern setting. Not all of them manage to include the humor as effectively as Grendel’s Guide to Love and War.

 

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Publisher’s Summary: Tom Grendel lives a quiet life—writing in his notebooks, mowing lawns for his elderly neighbors, and pining for Willow, a girl next door who rejects the “manic-pixie-dream” label. But when Willow’s brother, Rex (the bro-iest bro ever to don a jockstrap), starts throwing wild parties, the idyllic senior citizens’ community where they live is transformed into a war zone. Tom is rightfully pissed—his dad is an Iraq vet, and the noise from the parties triggers his PTSD—so he comes up with a plan to end the parties for good. But of course, it’s not that simple.

One retaliation leads to another, and things quickly escalate out of control, driving Tom and Willow apart, even as the parties continue unabated. Add to that an angsty existential crisis born of selectively reading his sister’s Philosophy 101 coursework, a botched break-in at an artisanal pig farm, and ten years of unresolved baggage stemming from his mother’s death . . . and the question isn’t so much whether Tom Grendel will win the day and get the girl, but whether he’ll survive intact.

 

 

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