M Elizabeth Parks
meparks at mtholyoke.edu
Sat Oct 28 13:35:33 EDT 2000
> Becca had heard of Briar Rose (by Jane Yolen), and wanted to read it
> because the main character was named Becca (WAY cool!). I picked it up
> yesterday, and finished it last night - despite being in the middle of A
> Civil Campaign. Is there higher possible testimony?
> It's an interweaving of Sleeping Beauty and a Holocaust story, which
> sounded odd, but works extremely well, IMO. I liked the way the fairy tale
> was changed and twisted, rather in the way DWJ did with Tam Lin, almost.
> Anyone else read it and have any reactions to share?
Oh, yes, I've read it, and I think it's wonderful. I'd be careful about
giving it to children though--Becca can probably handle it, but you might
want to hold off with Cara a few years. I remember I read Yolen's other
Holocaust book, the Devil's Aritmetic, when I was about ten, and I
couldn't eat for three days. My parents were threatening to take me to
the hospital and have me put in IVs, but I just couldn't--I felt so guilty
that something like that had happened and that I was so far removed from
it, so secure in my comfortable life. Maybe it was good for me, but if I
had it do do over, I'm not sure if I'd read it or not.
I read Briar Rose when I was about sixteen, and I thought it was
beautifully done. Everything fit together so well, and I just felt so
opened by it. It set me off on a Jane Yolen spree which culminated in me
hearing her speak last year--only I had to get up and walk out early to
catch a train. I felt horrible and haven't read anything by her
since. But I'm going to be rereading the Devil's Arithmetic for my
children's lit class soon. . . there's also a movie, with Kirsten Dunst I
think, made for Showtime, but I haven't seen it. Has anyone?
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