Thursday, October 1, 2009

I've been reading lately...

But those are just a teaser...

What I really want to talk about is a book I finished a few days ago, Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon. Check out her blog - she's a rocking funny writer, which I totally did not expect since I read the book without researching the author at all. I will definitely be adding her to my author list.

"Godmother" is about a lonely old woman, Lil, who works in a dusty Manhattan book store. But there's more to her than what you can see. Namely, wings. Giant, white, gorgeous, feathery wings that she keeps bound on her back and hidden under her clothing during the day. She possesses this magnificent pair of wings because she's actually a fairy godmother; in fact, she's the fairy godmother, responsible for sending Cinderella to the ball and her fate. However, that's not exactly what happened, hundreds of years ago. Things didn't quite go as the fairy tales would have us believe. Something went quite wrong.

Lil succumbed to human emotions and desire, and fell in love with the prince. Due to certain circumstances, she went to the ball in Cinderella's place, and for this she was banished from her magical world. A long time later, in the little book store, Lil meets the beautiful and vibrant Veronica. She is dark and light, a girl with her own tragedy and a passion for life, and so much like the other fair beauty from so long ago. Lil suddenly understands that she has been given a second chance: if she can unite Veronica with her own Prince Charming, she will be able to return to her dearly missed fairy world and friends, and suffer no more.

"Tous mes anciens amours vont me revenir..."

* * *

This book is dark and beautiful, magical and gritty. I found myself yearning as Lil yearned, falling in love with the sweet and animated Veronica, wanting Lil to succeed and return home. Without giving too much away, I finished the book feeling both joyous and broken.

After reading this and Gregory Maguire's Wicked series, I am definitely a fan of the re-imagined fairy tale. Taking a different perspective than the usually Disney-fied, saccharin storylines we all know is very refreshing. And reading the original Grimm tales are eye-opening (I haven't read the original Wizard of Oz); they are brutal and not often ending happily. Its like looking in mirror and only noticing, when you get right up close to the glass, the tarnish and spots that aging has left behind; from a few feet away the reflection is perfect, but up close it becomes wavy and uncertain. Maguire has done a few other books in this vein, and Turgeon is working on a little mermaid story; I'm very much looking forward to reading more. According to Turgeon's website, "Godmother" has been optioned for a film... I will definitely watch it, and I will most certainly cry. I can't wait!

* * *

So, back to my teaser earlier. I've been debating whether or not to write about this, but since I have very few readers, I'll go ahead and do it.

I do not remember how, but I'm part of a program from Random House Publishers call Read it Forward. Every month or so I receive an email about new releases and reviews, with the option to request an advance copy of soon-to-be-released books. So far I've received and read Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram (wow, its incredible and heartbreaking!) and "Godmother." Last week in the mail I received Something Missing by Matthew Dicks and Where the River Ends by Charles Martin, apparently a guaranteed tear-jerker since it came with its own pack of tissues. Due to some current circumstances, I'm not really up for a sob-fest right now, so I started "Something Missing" today and already have high hopes for this novel about a "... career criminal with OCD tendencies..."

Check out Read it Forward, but don't take my books! Just kidding... kinda. :)

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