I’m a big fan of the concept of rehashing fairy tales. Heaven knows it’s not a new idea- it’s been done multiple times: by Disney; by modern authors; by producers of such mini-series as The 10th Kingdom and television shows such as Once Upon a Time; and these are frequently well-received. So, when I find that Theodora Goss, an author I’ve read before, wrote an anthology in this genre, I had to check it out.
What I found was a collection of short stories and poems, some new version of famous fairy tales and others I was less familiar with, but ultimately an interesting compilation of shorts perfect for reading in the break room or when you have a just a few minutes to yourself.
Some of the stories were funny and poignant at the same time. One of my favorites was the version of the little mermaid (not Ariel) and the Sea Witch, who have grown to be lonely old women who only have each other for company. I also enjoyed the Cinderella story, as told through the voice of one of the stepsisters, who became a podiatrist after cutting off part of her foot in an attempt to fit into the crystal shoe.
Some of the stories were morbid; some were optimistic; as the damsels in distress took responsibility for their own destinies and realized they had modern ideals and independence, even if the world they lived in didn’t agree. Some were a little depressing, such as the Red Riding Hood story which depicted the Huntsman as also being a werewolf.
The writing was exceptional, though I wish the author spent more time (and words) on the story from which the collection takes its title. Snow White has always been one of my personal favorite fairy tales, but this version is so short that perhaps only its theme is worth mentioning-the character wants to write her own ending to the story.
Still, it is a brilliant collection, and a quick read; a rather refreshing change from the 400-600 page tomes that normally attract me. I easily give it 4.5 stars and recommend it to fans of both revamped fairy tales and strong female characters.