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BOOK REVIEW: Mothers Grimm by Danielle Wood

| 14 October 2014 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Mothers Grimm by Danielle Wood 

Allen & Unwin
September 2014, $27.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell



A sly, cheeky and blackly comic telling of mothering, heartache, heartbreak, desire, love and death.

In the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm, Rapunzel’s mother trades her firstborn child for a handful of leafy greens, and Hansel’s step-mother abandons him in a clearing in the forest. In ‘The Goose Girl’, the queen sends her daughter away to her fate with a bloodied handkerchief tucked in her bosom, and in ‘Sleeping Beauty’, Mama’s best efforts cannot prevent one little prick from having disastrous consequences for the heroine. Danielle Wood’s Mothers Grimm brings characters from these stories into the modern world in a collection of four long stories that interrogate contemporary womanhood and motherhood. Happy endings not guaranteed.

I try not to judge a book too much by what my expectations were going in, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided.

In this instance, I felt like I was offered modern day magic, or at least something “other”. But each of these stories only had a very small link to the original fairytale, more often than not unfeasible in this modern, real world they were thrust into.

I actually finished reading this book a few weeks ago, but have been struggling to put into words why it didn’t grab me.
I think the only thing I can say after all this time is that maybe the chemistry between me and this book was off; maybe it was me.

The stories were enjoyable enough, the voice of each was different from the others. They were well written. But they seemed incomplete somehow, and I didn’t feel an overwhelming need to jump into the next story, or even to come back to the book after I had to put it down part way through a story.

I enjoyed the style, and I plan to read more books by the author, but there was just nothing stand out about this book for me.

If it sounds intriguing, don’t let me deter you, but don’t go in expecting magic.

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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