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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The fairy tale of Robin Hood, made into a long wonderful story. McKinley has done this often and well .. taking vague tales and making them believable and with depth. Robin accidentally kills a man and goes into hiding, and with the help (and persuasion) of two good friends takes others with him. They become a banner for Saxons who are frustrated and angry with the Normans who unfairly tax them and take control of more than belongs to them. Robin is more than flesh-and-blood to those who keep surviving under Norman rule -- he is the embodiment of a legend -- he symbolizes their hope.

All the regular characters are here .. Robin Hood, Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian, Much, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Will Scarlet. Characters as unique as one could hope for .. each with quirks, fears, dreams, humor. The band in the woods is made believable by the way they care for each other, the ways they interact, the mundane problems they have to deal with (food, rain, shelter, hiding, uncomfortable trees). An intruiging idea .. something that to us is only a tale becoming living people. How quickly normal people can become larger-than-life. I wonder if we need that to survive. Humans need stories .. but do we also need stories that are 'impossible' .. heroes who survive more often than they should, relationships that are saved and not broken as they so often are in our world, people who need hope and to whom it is given. Things that perhaps are not .. but perhaps should be? or could be? or may yet become?

Title:The Outlaws of Sherwood
Author: Robin McKinley
Date published:1988
Genre: fantasy, fairy tale
Number of pages: 275
Notes: repeat reading


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