This is an incredibly easy, fun and engaging short story collection. It takes some brilliant authors who take you on journeys through well known fairy tales. The fact that these retellings all focus on the villains of the stories just made me love it even more. I always love the highlighting of grey areas and alternate tellings.
My mother always taught me that it takes two to tango… and that idea carried through in her rearing of us, every time my sister and I got into a huge fight, we’d generally both get in trouble. So I kind of liked the fact that this story was about two (step) siblings who are playing a slightly sinister game and arguing. There are no good guys and bad guys in this story. But rather, a mix of motives that inform one another.
I absolutely loved this poem. Although Maleficent (or the evil fairy from Sleeping Beauty) has always seemed kind of a terrifying villain, she’s also been the one that I relate to the best. Well, maybe not relate to, but understand. After all, she is retaliating against an incredible slight. Plus, there are so many beautiful retellings in the world now which make her seem far less evil, and just… misunderstood.
As a child I always admired the children who could overcome the giants in the fairy tales. After all, they’re triumphing over someone and something far bigger and scarier than they are. But, the older I get, the more I realise that children are not necessarily always in the right. And, sometimes they are actually kind of in the wrong… and apparently Snyder agrees with this sentimentality.
I’ve never really questioned why there was a gingerbread house in Hansel and Gretel. Or why it seems to be something that is repeated across fairy tales. After all, it is a really impractical and useless way in which to make a house. And it kind of seems just… sticky to live in.
I never quite realised how weird a name ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ is. It’s just a name that has always been. But when you read a cute little short story about how odd that is, you start to realise that it is quite an absurd name…
There’s something about trolls that is always… I guess amusing. Probably because they are often cast as dumb, lumbering and far south of thoughtful. And, this short story really doesn’t do anything to dispel those ideas. What it does do is take a creature that is traditionally gross and smelly and making him… well, kind of cute.
While I really enjoyed this short story, what bumped up my great opinion of it was Black’s explanation for why she wrote it in the first place. On childhood vacations, she often wished that she could turn into a wolf and eat her family – so she wrote about a boy who could. And, honestly, who hasn’t felt like that on a family vacation?
I don’t think I’ve read the original tale of Puss in Boots. Although I have read a few retellings over time, and I thought that doing new take on an old classic using a poem was a quaint and attractive way in which to do so. This was quick, sharp, shiny and straight to the point. It was also well written, fun and great at highlighting the triumph of beast over man.
I haven’t yet had the chance to read the original Bluebeard fairy tale (I don’t think). But I did thoroughly enjoy Angela Carter’s retelling. So it was kind of fun to read a far more innocent and simpler retelling. One in which the villain suddenly becomes something completely different and offers an entirely new perspective to an otherwise dark and twisted tale.