Updated Fairy Tales

My Mother She Killed Me,
My Father He Ate Me

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me
Edited by Kate Bernheimer

I first heard about this collection well over a year ago. The title was great, and it had selections from authors I’d been meaning to read for awhile (ahem, Neil Gaiman). I bought it shortly after, during one of my last visits to the Strand before I left New York. I started it back then, but mainly just flipped through it, picking out the stories that sounded interesting, leaving the rest for later.

Well. Later has finally come, and I’m kinda wishing it hadn’t. Turns out I read most of the good stories during my first go-round. A lot of the other ones felt like the author was trying to hard to evoke a theme, without really spinning a story. One of the great things about traditional fairy tales was they could be read on many levels – kids could get them, and adults could find elements to appreciate, too.

There were some very good selections. Amiee Bender’s “The Color Master” was excellent – an engaging story with a touch of magic and a sense of foreboding lingering in the background. Stacey Richter’s “A Case Study of Emergency Room Procedure and Risk Management by Hospital Staff Members in the Urban Facility” probably wins the award for longest title, and is a fun tongue-in-cheek re-imagining of “Cinderella.”

Neil Gaiman’s story was good. It’s the tale of a girl whose sister turns into an orange monster, and it’s written in the form of the girl’s answers to some unknown questions of an unnamed interviewer. It definitely intrigued me enough to read more by him (I just picked up Neverwhere from the library today).

Honestly, though, it’s hard to judge the good stories on their own. Are they truly good? Or are the others so alike and so subpar that anything slightly original or interesting stands out like a shining beacon?

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