Review: Grendel by John Gardner

676737 Genre: Classics
Published: June 2, 2010 by Random House Vintage Books
Length: 180 pages
Source: bought (at Barnes & Noble)

The first and most terrifying monster in English literature, from the great early epic Beowulf, tells his side of the story in a book William Gass called “one of the finest of our contemporary fictions.” 






Grendel was a very interesting read because if you’ve read Beowulf, Grendel is the antagonist in that story, but in Grendel, he is the protagonist. I like reading books where the antagonist from the original story tells his/her own story of why he/she acts that way (like the movie Maleficent). The first half of the book was very sad because Grendel tells us why he acts so angry towards humans and he has a very reasonable answer. I also like how Grendel is given emotions in this book unlike in Beowulf, he is only depicted as a monster. Grendel is actually quite smart. He likes to observe his surroundings and has a very caring personality. The dragon is also involved in this story and he is very wise. He gives Grendel advices about the things that he had acquired through his experiences. The only thing I did not like about this book is the 2nd half. It pretty much went downhill from there because I honestly did not understand anything I’ve read. I feel like the author was packing the chapters with empty words when he can just directly say what was happening. Overall it is a good book to read after you have read Beowulf.

3 of 5

2 Responses to “Review: Grendel by John Gardner”

  1. 1 Asti (@ABookishHeart) June 24, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Oh, I’ve read this one! Kelley gave it to me, and I felt really bad when I gave it three stars just because I knew it was one of her favorite books. But I’m with you. It just got too confusing. While I loved Grendel and thought it was quite interesting reading from his perspective, I was so caught up in my own confusion that I couldn’t really enjoy the story. Glad I’m not alone. >.< It made me feel sort of stupid!

    • 2 Leigh (LittleBookStar) June 24, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      It made me feel kind of stupid too haha mostly during the 2nd half of the book. I liked the first half because I understood what was happening and I like how we got to know the antagonists from Beowulf. But after the first half it went downhill for me.

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