Saturday, August 24, 2019

Review - Snow, Glass, Apples

Snow, Glass, Apples
by Neil Gaiman
Date: 1995
Publisher: Neil Gaiman
Reading level: A
Book type: short story
Pages: 56
Format: e-book
Source: The Dreaming

A young princess … her skin as white as snow … her hair as black as coal ... her lips as red as blood … an innocent young girl victimized by her evil stepmother.

Or is she?

Neil Gaiman’s “Snow, Glass, Apples” turns the traditional “Snow White” fairytale on its head and tells the story from the point of view of the “wicked” stepmother, who knows the truth about this less-than-innocent girl and attempts to save the kingdom from her unnatural and monstrous stepdaughter.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

That was oddly disturbing.

It's an interesting take on the "Snow White" story, to be sure. But, for me, it goes just a little too far. The necrophiliac prince is clever, but the subsequent rape of a child (she's only thirteen) pushed this from "disturbing" to "disgusting" for me. (If it had been less graphic and more implied, I might not have been bothered by it as much. But there's too much description, including mention of the little girl being "pounded". What? No... I don't want to read that.)

Twisting the tale around to make the "wicked queen" a sympathetic character was an interesting choice, and it works, for the most part. There is definitely something wrong with the little princess. And while the queen's actions are perfectly logical, given the sort of supernatural creature she was dealing with, I don't think the story really needed--or benefitted--from all the sexual stuff involving the child. Imply it, fine; but don't actually talk about genitalia and stuff oozing from between people's legs.

I would've appreciated a content warning with this one. Because Gaiman has also written for children, there might be confusion and unintentional trauma if people pick up what they think is an innocuous fairy tale retelling.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing & Editing: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 ladybugs

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