Grendel is a monster full of surprises. One minute he’s philosophizing about life, and the next he’s biting the heads off his neighbors. In this book, Beowulf’s infamous enemy narrates his own story, bringing a whole new perspective to the events of the epic poem.

Pensive and sarcastic, Grendel could be coined Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance for monsters. The book is contemplative, with a dreamy/nightmarish feel, but Grendel’s musings on life don’t exactly leave you with a “happy to be alive” feeling. He is witty, but he’s also a cranky and childish psychopath. He uses vulgar language (including the “F” word), and the book contains more than a fair share of man-eating, blood spurting violence – typical monster behavior.

The book is an interesting/intelligent read that is equally disturbing and irreverent. So why did I review it? It’s another selection from our library’s high school required reading collection. Best bet: give your seniors Beowulf to read and leave Grendel to adults, particularly aspiring forensic psychologists – they should find the creature’s psyche clinically fascinating.

About the late author

Beowulf history/text

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