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Once upon a time there were two sisters, Snow White and Rose Red. They lived in
the woods New York with their mother. One day they met a Bear…A modern retelling of the classic Grimm fairy tale, Snow White and Rose Red (not to be confused with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves).
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The Shadow of the Bear: A Fairy Tale Retold, is a beautiful modernization of an old Grimm classic. Refreshingly, the novel remains faithful to the original fairy tale and is absent of any post modern existential drivel. In this version, the main characters are Catholic and exhibit strong morals, practice modesty, and have rather weighty discussions of Truth and Beauty (yes, with capitals). It is, in the strictest sense, true to form. Between the covers you will find good and evil, Truth and Beauty, Prince and Princesses, and even a bit of G.K. Chesterton.
While the reading age is 13 and above, some of the content may be more mature than that. Go ahead and read the details below and make up your own mind.
If you aren’t familiar with the original Grimm tale, I recommend reading the original first. It’s a short read and can be found in Andrew Lang’s Blue Fairy Book.
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- Author: Regina Doman
- Publisher: Regina Doman (October 6, 2008)
- Reading Age: Ages 13 and up
- Paperback 228 pages
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- Role Models/Authority Figures – Jean Brier, a widow, is a compassionate and caring mother to Blanche and Rose. She sets reasonable boundaries for her high school daughters and expects them to conform. Sister Geraldine, Dominican Nun and English teacher at St. Catherine’s is described physically as old and perhaps a bit hard, but is portrayed as astute and exacting of her students.
- Violence – This is a modern fairy tale. Instead of spears, there are guns. A priest has been murdered (shot, then strangled) and there are still blood stains in the (now closed) church. We don’t actually see the murder, just read about it through the characters. Mr. Freet pulls a gun on Rose, he hits her with the gun, and attempts to suffocate her with a plastic bag (page 172 +). Mr. Freet shoots Bear (195). There are several fist fights.
- Sexual Content – Rose attends prom with a boy who attempts to take advantage of her (113). The scene is set and Rob’s intentions are implied but Rose cleverly escapes. Rose learns Rob and “his buddies track down girls just to score with them.” (133). Rob states: “she’s the one who doesn’t want to grow up.” Rose replies, “That kind of love is sacred. Something for real men who have the guts to make a life long commitment…” (134)
- Language – “Holy Candlesticks, sister!” (139)
- Consumerism – None, unless you count the specific naming of G.K. Chesterton, Carrol, C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, and other classic poets. As an antithesis to Chesterton, Shaw.
- Drinking/Smoking/Drugs – Blanche is concerned Bear is a drug dealer. Mr. Freet has drug dealers at the school do some of his dirty work. The teenagers are drinking at Rob’s prom party (111), the “wrong crowd” smokes.
- Religion – The book is not specifically Catholic in nature. The family is Catholic, the girls attend Catholic school, and Truth and Beauty are emphasized and discussed.
- Other – the author provides her own “Picky Parents Guide.”