"Talking, talking, spinning a spell, pale skin of words that closes me in like a coffin."

So goes the beginning of Chapter 2 in "Grendel," the late John Gardner's most celebrated work.And so might go the end of "Grendel's" sojourn at Viewmont High School.

A group of parents calls the 152-page book "crude," while an English teacher says it's "a great work of literature."

Written during the 1960s, "Grendel" is a reworking of the epic poem "Beowulf," an 8th century tale of the new Christian, feudal world of heroes and monsters. In "Beowulf," Grendel is the man-eating beast that is eventually slain by the Christian hero, Beowulf.

The book "Grendel" is a first-person account as seen through the monster's eyes.

Parental objections center on Grendel and his apparent thirst for blood and violence.

But Viewmont English teacher Ken Zeeman said the critics are missing the message of the work as a whole. "It's quite an uplifting book. It affirms the value of life and the things that only humans can truly enjoy: beauty, aesthetics and decency."