Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm – Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Length: 187 pages
Genre: Fairy Tales, obviously.
Started: 10 January 2010
Finished: 03 March 2010
Where did it come from? From my LT Secret Santa.
Why do I have it? See above.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 December 2009.
aren’t all that you’ll be getting
in this book of tales.
Summary: The Grimm brothers’ collection of folk stories was originally intended as a scholarly work for adults, although they’re better known today as children’s fairy tales. This collection contains early versions of favorites such as Cinderella, Rumplestiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. However, there are also many lesser-known fables as well, telling stories of noble kings and beautiful princesses, clever merchants and shiftless sons, magical sacks and enchanted animals, and wicked witches and the depths of the dark forest.
Review: I’d always heard that the original versions of fairy tales were a lot darker and more gruesome than the Disney-fied versions that everyone knows. And, while it’s true that the stories in this collection were certainly not nearly as sanitized as the versions that you’ll find in children’s storybooks, neither were they quite as dark as I’d been led to believe. A lot of the stories are either humorous and light, or relatively straightforward morality tales with the good and honorable people winding up happy and the wicked people ending up punished for their misdeeds. What really surprised me were the few stories that seemed to run counter to the implied morality of the rest of the tales – there was more than one story where the character who is clever and manipulative and greedy actually gets his own way, instead of causing his own downfall. That discontinuity actually interested me more than any of the so-called “dark” elements to the stories; I’d be curious to read a more analytical approach to these classic stories.
This book took me a long time to finish, not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because when a book contains short short stories, it becomes too easy to put down and not pick back up again. The stories I enjoyed most were not the stories I already knew (i.e. Cinderella, etc.), nor the stories that were totally unfamiliar, but rather the stories that I had only ever encountered in passing in other works of fiction. I got a lot of background on quite a few Fables characters whose origins I didn’t already know, that’s for sure. Finally reading “The Goose Girl” let me see how much of Shannon Hale’s version was her own invention, and I was shocked to see that Tender Morsels is an actual quote from “Snow White and Rose Red.” Overall, if it isn’t too blasphemous, I do have to say that I generally enjoy retellings more than the originals, but that my appreciation for the retellings is deepened by knowing where they come from… so reading the Grimm brothers’ originals was certainly worth my time. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Every lover of fantasy and fairy tales should probably read this (and Hans Christan Andersen’s Fairy Tales) at some point in their lives.
Other Reviews: Rebecca Reads, Ulat Buku in the City
I feel like this is the one rare case where the Book Blog Search Engine is letting me down – it’s hard to pick out posts that are actually about the original collection of fairy tales from all of the posts that are about some version of one of the tales. Have you reviewed this book and I missed it? Please leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in!
Cover Thoughts: Those are some fat little German kids!
Vocab: (see the whole list)
- p. 100: ““Oh no,” cried the host, quite humbly. “I will gladly produce everything, only make the accursed kobold creep back into the sack.”” – a spirit or goblin, often mischievous, that haunts houses, mines, or underground places.