| Home | Fiction | Listserv | Creative Archives | Scholarly Archives |
| Book Review Archives | Critical Essays | Contribute | Search the Site |

Briar Rose
ISBN:

By Jane Yolen
Review by: Kim Wells

6/2/04

It should come as no surprise if you've read any of my other reviews that I love fairy tales, and I love "new" tellings of old stories. This short, re-vision of the classic well-known fairy tale of Briar Rose helps us re-imagine both the fairy tale and think about the reasons humans create them in the first place. By crafting this novel of a survivor's understanding of the Holocaust into an age old "love-story" like Sleeping Beauty, Yolen shows us something about the nature of truth in a horrible place where one would rather not look at that truth.

This book was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and it would be an excellent addition to a curricula that included "real" narratives like Anne Frank, or Maus. It provides yet another perspective that can help us make sense of one of modern history's darkest hours. It is not, as any Holocaust book would not be, a fun or a pleasant read. But it doesn't beat us over the head with horror throughout-- and is very readable. It is stunningly written, and even has a touch of "mystery-quest" to it. We journey with the novel's protagonist, who is trying to make sense of a story told by her grandmother, and we learn much about the way survivors create a new personal history out of history's nightmares.

Briar Rose reinscribes memory, and mythology, and shows us what an important role storytelling can play in the acts of surviving and transcending horror.


| Home | Fiction | Listserv | Creative Archives | Scholarly Archives |
| Book Review Archives | Critical Essays | Contribute | Search the Site |

Contact Us