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Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
Grendel’s Mother by Diana Stout is, literally, the story of the mother of Grendel, but it is much more than an enchanting fantasy. It is a powerful argument against social injustice shown through the eyes of a teenager of only fifteen, who dreams of freedom from hard work and boredom and marriage to Eric, whom she loves and hopes her father will accept as a suitable husband. Da has other plans for his only daughter: marriage to an old man which will bring him prestige and money. When she is raped by an unknown man and finds herself pregnant, the village community unites against her and their verdict is death. She is to be tied to a stake and left for the dragon to kill and eat.
Diana Stout rolls back the mists of time for the setting of her novel, Grendel’s Mother, to a community run on a feudal system in which women have no rights. The author paints a vivid picture of inequality and discrimination. More than entertainment, this book is thought-provoking. Readers are likely to remember and question cultures in the twenty-first century where this is considered normal. The fifteen-year-old heroine of Grendel’s Mother is rebellious and resourceful, surviving against what appear to be impossible odds. Alone, forced to avoid members of the community intent on killing her, she must find shelter, kill for food and furs for protection from the winter cold, and face giving birth alone and a future where she is her child's sole protector. In Grendel’s Mother, Diana Stout has produced a fantasy that will appeal to teens and adults alike.