Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales From Various Contemporary Writers

Aside from a healthy book diet of children's comics and stories, I also grew up devouring fairy tales.  It's usually normal for kids to do so; but aside from that, in my case, nostalgia also played a role in my fascination with these stories.

We used to live in a small compound in Pasay City where I had my immediate relatives as neighbors.  Inside my lolo's (grandfather) home was a small library of sorts housing a modest collection of hard leather-bound titles, a remnant of my mom and her sibling's childhood days.  I was around 4 or 5 years old when I discovered these books and although I still had yet to learn to read, I'd visit the room again and again, just looking at the wonderful pictures and smelling their musty old scents.

Our old home was a wooden, post-war dwelling and as expected, eventually succumbed to the wrath of termites.  Among the casualties were my beloved books.  Alice in Wonderland was actually the first to go.  The others slowly, and painfully, experienced a similar fate. 

Out of all the titles in that old room, I was only able to save one; a collection of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales that have since been in my possession ever since.

Thus, did my love for fairy tales began, which eventually led me to purchase this book -- My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales written by various contemporary fiction writers and edited by Kate Bernheimer.

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales

 
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales is a collection of new fairy tales written by today's well-known writers.  Their stories are highly influenced by the tales of long ago and aims to bring a more modern twist on our well-loved narratives.  (Read the full summary here at Amazon.com.)

I don't consider myself a purist; I do love re-imaginings and re-takes of old popular stories (my current obsession is with the numerous Pride and Prejudice variations.  Reviews to come in future posts.); but I must admit, this would be the first time I've read a remake of my beloved fairy tales.

Did I like it?  Hmmm... a little, I guess.  It was interesting to see just how twisted (as if the old ones weren't deranged enough already) fairy tales can become when placed in a more modern setting.  I know the old stories were violent and gory to scare children from bad people and events; and these modern retellings are just as nasty and crazy.  Definitely not a book you'd read to your kids.

I use the word "retelling" loosely here.  Don't expect the stories to closely resemble your beloved tales; although they are highly influenced by the old narratives.

All in all, I say this is one interesting read.  Lovers of contemporary fiction novels would surely love to add this to their collection.

11 comments:

  1. This is kinda creepy, but I read somewhere that most fairy tales are sort of "edited" too. :P


    http://www.dekaphobe.com

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    1. The Brothers Grimm edited the tales they collected to make it more kid-friendly. I've read some unedited versions and it was really disturbing. But you have to take into consideration that these stories were really meant to scare children from wandering off alone or being naughty. =)

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  2. Oh I don't know. I guess I am very traditional but oftentimes, I feel bad when my old fairy tales or even nursery rhymes are being "remaked" and then the storyline or lyrics are being changed. I feel like my childhood memories are also being changed. That's what I've been experiencing when I was teaching old tagalog nursery rhymes to my daughter now. When I tried to find audio copies of it, the many of the lyrics have been changed and it does feel sad for me :-D Drama lang ang peg?

    Spanish Pinay

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    1. I know how you feel. There are instances when I don't like revisions, too. But the book just sounded really interesting. =)

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  3. Replies
    1. I bought it at a Times bookstore here in Singapore. But I remember seeing a copy in Fully Booked High Street. Might still be there. =)

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  4. the title is interesting:) I remember on my younger days my family was nver fun in reading we dont even have books or encylopedia but it was trap for us...mama and papa will always advise us that if you need to do research you can go on the public library which is isang tumbling lang smin and now that we are all grown up we are all into books we almost have a small library:) it's only now I totally comprehnd kung bakit sila ganun dati...hahaha!

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    1. Very sneaky a. But I do applaud them for that. I believe every child should be taught the value of reading books, not just for studies but also for pleasure. It's good exercise for the mind. =)

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  5. Oooh.. This book sounds interesting! I'm into fairytales too. Have you tried watching Once Upon A Time? You might like it. The plot : all the fairytale characters we group knowing were sent to the modern world because of a curse. Interesting plot lines :)

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    1. Not yet. But I've been meaning to catch a few episodes. They started showing the first season in SG a few months back but at a 10:30pm schedule e I'm too tired na to stay awake that late. Hehehe! =)

      I'm hoping I could catch it on cable here in PH. =)

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