Monday, November 28, 2011
Howl's Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones
I wanted to read this book because I saw the animated version and fell in love. The movie was full of sweet, lighthearted characters and intriguing magic. I had high hopes for this book, and it exceeded them.
Diana Wynne Jones's writing is direct and agreeable. She starts out with the classic Cinderella structure: protagonist, two sisters, dead father, stepmother, magic, and then throws everything on its head by declaring that the two sisters are lovely and kind, and the stepmother treats all the daughters the same. So, we have the basic structure of Howl's Moving Castle: a Cinderella story, but not. Instead of falling in love with a handsome prince, Sophie falls for the selfish and vain wizard Howl, who's only redeeming characteristic appears to be that he under-charges poor people for his spells (naturally, he over-charges the rich).
Unlike the Perrault version of Cinderella, where the fairy godmother saves the day, Howl's Moving Castle has a Grimm brothers' protagonist: a clever woman. But Jones goes even father than the Grimms did; where the Grimm Cinderella is aided by nature, Sophie has to figure things out on her own. So, Howl's Moving Castle tackles the idea of taking responsibility for your own actions and your own life. It contends that we all choose the course of our lives and shape them the way we want, regardless of circumstances. It's within each individual's power to find joy or sorrow, no matter what obstacles life (or witches) throw in their way.
Copy source: library
Genre: young adult fantasy
View my suggested books by Diana Wynne Jones