Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tender Morsels Review

Book Talk: Life for Liga has been heading downhill ever since her mother died.  Life seems nothing but a series of violent catastrophes, but just when she thinks that she can take it no longer she is transported to another realm where she can raise her own children in peace.  Life may not be eventful, but at least it's safe.  That is, until the barriers begin to break down.  Suddenly Liga's children encounter harsh reality for the first time in their lives.  Is a life in this exciting and dangerous new world worth the threat that it poses?  Is life in your personal paradise worth living if it means forsaking the real world?  This re-telling of Snow White and Rose Red is at turns haunting and inspiring and is sure to leave an impression.

Rocks My Socks:  The fantastic occurrences and characters in this novel made me consider reality in a way that only fairy tale can.  People are turned into bears, dandelions into gold, and fantasy into reality, but the accumulated result of these impossibilities is a truth that is deeper and stronger than that found in non-fiction accounts.  I enjoyed seeing the familiar elements of the story of Snow White and Rose Red altered to fit this new narrative.  I loved the characters and the way the fickle nature of their world kept me constantly guessing at what would happen next.  Mostly, though, I love the way it made me weigh the risks of going out into the world against the benefits to be found there.  A valuable lesson for an introvert like me.  I also love the strength and independence of the Rose Red character. 

Rocks In My Socks:  This is no Disney re-telling.  This is a fairy tale that follows the original Grimm tradition and is much more brutal than what we're used to in modern times.  Liga is raped by her father, gang raped, forced to abort children, and tries to kill one after it is born--none of which are spoilers because that all happens within the first two chapters! I also don't like what they do with Liga's character--she never really seems to get to have a life of her own.  She's used by her father, and then used by her children and she seems fine with that.  I wanted her to assert herself and gain some kind of independence and happiness of her own at the end, but in the fine fairy tale tradition happiness seems to only be for the young.

Every Book Its Reader:  Given the violent and disturbing nature of parts of the narrative I'd recommend it to older teens and adults.  It's great for fans of fairy tales retold, but only if they can handle taking it black.  No sugar or milk in this one.  The narrative revolves around the female perspective mostly, but could be enjoyed by open-minded males as well. 

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

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