Grendel - John Gardner Okay I will admit to not being an erudite individual and I usually steer clear of literary writings as I just don't have the energy to figure out WTH the author is trying to say with his flowery prose. I knew Grendel was the monster in Beowolf which I read eons ago in high school or college (I don't remember which) but I do remember hating the hell out of it...again not understanding a damn thing. Of course, the Danes were terrified of the monster and were trying to kill it. That I got but the philosophical enlightenings (haha) was beyond my understanding.

Even so, I was surprised at how challenging Grendel was. It's written in very large print making it seem like a child's book but with sentences like this I am aware in my chest of tuberstirrings in the blacksweet duff of the forest overhead, I spent most of the book just trying to understand what exactly Grendel was thinking. Oh sure he hated the Danes and terrorized them but if he hated them so much, WTH didn't he just leave and go somewhere where people weren't going to annoy him. It didn't help any that Grendel was a completely unlikable character. Oh sure he was a sad and lonely monster which would usually have my pity meter working but he was also whiny and weak. He just got on my nerves which is never good when it's the main character and the focus of the story.

Unless you're an English teacher or a graduate student, I would suggest you pass this up.