Review: Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood
Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

You may have heard negative comments about the ending to this book. They are all justified. The book just ends without any resolution to the major plot points. Now, if that would have been the purpose of the ending about how life is unfulfilled, well, I could have accepted that. But no, once you turn the page, the book instructs you to go to a website to read the rest of the story. How about “no”. I invested hours into this book that could have been spent watching the movie instead, and you tell me to go to a website because you didn’t want to spoil the movie for people when the book was originally released. Who’s brilliant idea was this anyway? Because when the book first came out, people who checked the website for the extra material were told to come back on March 13th. At that point, it would have killed any interest I would have had in seeing the movie.

But it’s not enough that the major plot point of the identity of the wolf is left unresolved. The poor excuse for a love triangle doesn’t even get any real sense of closure. The entire book Valerie swears up and down that she loves Peter and she couldn’t possibly ever love Henry. So there’s not really a lot of tension in the love triangle because Valerie is never conflicted about any of it. Oh, that’s right, until the last twenty pages when she has an epiphany about how good life could have been with Henry even as she’s already made the decision to run away Peter. Those are the kind of doubts that should have been present earlier in the book, not left until the very last minute. So, a love triangle that barely existed was resolved with her choosing one but thinking about how she could have been happy with the other one. Except we never actually get to see what’s so great about either of these guys. We’re told that one’s the bad boy and that the other one would be able to provide for her financially, but there’s never any moments that show us why Valerie should be in love with either one of them. She picks the bad boy because the village always made her feel like there was a darkness in her? Because she killed a rabbit once? Don’t you live in a medieval village where killing animals was probably a part of daily life? Or did that job belong exclusively to the butcher who was then shunned by the rest of the community for his evil ways yet they still crawled back to him because he was the only way they could ever get their precious meat?

I don’t particularly care for this trend either where young woman cannot be friends with each other without turning on each other and being extremely catty when it comes to boys. Whatever happened to girls sticking by each other? I mean, all of Valerie’s friends turned on her when she was engaged to Henry, when it wasn’t even their decision. I have to question how many marriages are arranged in this town to begin with, which meant they might not have ever stood a chance with Henry anyway. Also, the fetishism of Valerie’s small waist disturbs me. At one point it was mentioned that one of Valerie’s friends could wrap her hands around her waist and have her fingers touch on the other side. Now, either Valerie is secretly six, or she has no organs. Then she wonders why people so easily believe that she is a witch.

So, by now you’re probably wondering why the two stars. Because I was actually kind of liking the book for a while. I mean, it wasn’t the worst book I have ever read. It was bearable. I was actually starting to enjoy it in some places. Like when Henry was spying on Peter and Valerie together and I instantly made the decision that he should go join them. This might have actually been a better solution to the whole love triangle, if the two boys could just manage to get along.

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