Robin Hood | Book Review


Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was a heartful and merry read.

Genre: Classic
Author: Howard Pyle
Published: 1883
Publisher: Barnes & Noble (this edition)
Pages: 435 (leatherbound)

I somehow never thought to consider what the original tale of Robin Hood would be like. I assume a children’s story, like so many of Disney’s adaptations are based on. And so it was quite fun to realise this is a full and proper novel for the grow-ups. Though that being said, I think it is still a children’s tale – but what I mean is it isn’t a fairytale.

I will start by saying that I listened to the audiobook narrated by an American narrator and became increasingly frustrated with the mispronunciations of English towns (unless I’m incorrect and places like Yorkshire are said differently now …)

In any case, this is a comprised of chapters in which we look at different adventures that Robin Hood went on. The differences from the Disney version (with which I am most familiar) were fun to point out and also fun to draw parallels between. I particularly enjoyed the references to him as a cunning fox.

The story is just joyful. It’s harder to read because the language is older, but once you get into the swing of it, Robin’s merry attitude is contagious and makes you want to approach life in similarly lackadaisical manner. I also enjoyed the nuanced annoyances between Robin and his men – particularly Little John and Friar Tuck – in how they were so loyal to each other but still got under each other’s skin as siblings do. My favourite is Little John’s frustration when Robin won’t let up on calling him fat.

The ending broke my heart and I didn’t expect for things to be wrapped up in that way. It made me want to start the whole book again to go back to the nostalgic and cheery times of the beginning. I feel like I could read this again and again and keep picking out little life lessons that are sewn throughout. The way Pyle describes the impossibility to returning to previous days gone by of good times in the exact same way, and other commentaries on life as such, were really profound and made this more than just a tale about a noble thief.

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