Red Riding Hood

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Author: Sarah Blakley-Cartwright
ISBN: 9781907410826
RRP: $18.99

There is so much to say about this book and how it came into being because it is unusual in the way it has come to life. Usually there are books which inspire people to go out and make them into movies, in this case there was a script which held more promise than could be condensed into a 120 minute movie.


Director Catherine Hardwicke received the script by David Leslie Johnson and was immediately excited at the prospect of making the movie but thought there was just too much complexity for the tale to be properly told in the movie so the script needed to be expanded upon and told in a novel and she discovered she knew the perfect person for the project.

red riding hood

Sarah Blakley-Cartwright threw herself into the project, spending a lot of time on set and with the characters to totally immerse herself in this modernised fairy tale and ensure her novel expanded on the movie, bringing a deeper understanding of the characters and their backstories.

All of this is interesting information gained in the introduction by Catherine Hardwicke. Not information you have to have to enjoy this book but I definitely thought it was worth knowing, and it has only made my itch to see the movie that much stronger.

That is probably enough behind the scenes info and I apologise if it’s more than enough for some of you.

Red Riding Hood is a retelling of the classic fairy tale that is an almost total re-imagining which retains enough little snippets taken from the original to retain that childhood fairy tale magic. And like all good classic fairy tales there is a moral to the story and a large element of social commentary.

The setting is timeless though the characters feel a lot more modern. Daggerhorn is a very gothic seeming town which evokes very medieval images in my mind as I read; a town that seems to be very readily defensible and very forbidding to strangers. Daggerhorn is a town that has a very dark feel to it, the darkness of fear.

This is a timeless tale of love, loss and the choices required in growing up. Valerie is different from everyone else in town, she has always felt it setting her aside – not necessarily better or worse, just different. Red Riding Hood shows how the stigma that is attached to difference and how easily it can be misshapen to feed the paranoia and mob mentality that sometimes escalates in times of high stress and danger.

There is also the love triangle which is representative of so much more than just the lovers and their passion. Henry the hot blacksmith’s son who all the girls are in love with, Valerie who feels less lovable than her gorgeous and kind older sister, and Peter the woodcutter who has returned to Daggerhorn a decade after being run out of town with his father. This is the age old dilemma of love or money, security or danger and it could quite well be the choice of good or evil but that is a question to which we never got an answer.

Daggerhorn is a town terrorised every full moon by a werewolf, an uneasy peace has been held for the last two decades with the townspeople remaining safe as long as an animal sacrifice is left. An animal is no longer enough, the werewolf wants Valerie and it isn’t afraid to go after what it wants.

Red Riding Hood captured my imagination and held it enthralled until the very last page, it has now left me eagerly anticipating the release of the move because I simply have to go and see these characters and this story brought to life on screen.

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