Hi everyone! Yes, I know, I’m back with another tag, but they’re just so fun, aren’t they? This particular one is courtesy of the lovely Delly, who decided to create The Fairy Tale Book Tag. And, as somebody who loves a good fairy tale, I couldn’t resist taking part! Below you’ll find the rules, as administered by Delly herself, followed by a set of quotes and questions – all Fairy Tale inspired – and I’ll be doing my best to answer each and every one as honestly as I can!
Fairy Tale Tag Rules:
- Answer as many questions as you can!
- Tag five fairy tale lovers.
- Please tag Delly as the creator.
- Have fun!
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
“He’s no monster.”
a character that makes mistakes, but redeems themselves in the end;
Todd Hewitt of The Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness.
I don’t know if ‘redeems’ is necessarily the correct word, with Todd being the protagonist of the series, but I certainly think he’s so deliciously nuanced that he really does fit the bill. Though Todd is our protagonist, and we see this world through his eyes, he’s exceptionally flawed, and I think a large portion of this series is about watching his growth, and watching him deal with the consequences of his actions. He’s such an incredible character, one that leaves me utterly in awe of Patrick Ness’ writing, and without spoiling the series, there are so many instances in which you are conflicted by the storytelling, by these characters and their actions, and Ness expertly makes you question your allegiance not only to Todd, but to multiple different characters throughout the course of their journey.
“Once upon a dream.”
a book that sent you to sleep;
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
I’m sorry to say it, and I’m sorry to milk the cow dry with this one, but I really didn’t like this book. Not one bit. Not only did it send me to sleep, but I recall countless different instances in which I was flinging the bloody thing across the room in frustration! I understand that it’s a classic, and I understand that it’s extraordinarily popular, but I can’t rightfully think of a book that simultaneously bored and infuriated me more than this one. It was excruciating to get through, despite it being less than 200 pages. I mean, it was a slow start, and I was really pushing myself to get through it, thinking I’d have a nice, simple, quick read before I moved onto something bigger and more complex. Boy was I wrong. Not only was it an incredibly slow start, but the misogyny and the underlying racism was so bizarre, that I couldn’t quite fathom just how it had become such a fan favourite to begin with. There are so many classics that are chock full of misogyny, homophobia, racism, and just general ignorance, all a product of their time, and the bigotry jumping out and dancing before your very eyes, impossible to miss. It isn’t nice but, again, it’s often a product of its time and inevitable when reading such old stories. In this book, though, it was so casually overlooked and disregarded, presented in a way that wants to convince the reader that it is right, and that this narrative is correct, that I couldn’t even bring myself to like our supposed protagonist. In all honesty, I could probably talk for days on end about how much I hated this book, but I won’t, I’ll just leave it to everyone else to make up their own minds one way or another. All the same, Fahrenheit 451 is a book that, with such a premise, could have been something remarkable, but truly was not.
THE LITTLE MERMAID
“Nothing gave her greater pleasure than to hear about the world of human beings up above.”
a book that excites you or is full of adventure;
A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee.
This book is an utter marvel, if I do say so myself. Right from the off, I was so compelled by Lee’s writing, the intricacies of the story, and all of the characters. I can’t say there was a single character that didn’t intrigue me one way or another, regardless of whether I liked them or not. With a trusty map in the front of the book (which, frankly, is usually a deterrent for me, yet in this series actually endears me), we follow Monty, Percy, and Felicity on their tour as they span from city to city, crossing foreign borders, and experience and abundance of new cultures and new experiences, some of which are pleasant, and some of which are certainly not. Not only is A Gentleman’s Guide teeming with adventure as they take us on their rickety journey, but even the more silent, calmer moments still left me absolutely thrilled and dying for more. There wasn’t a single moment in this book that disinterested, so much so that i’ve just recently finished its sequel!
“Perhaps the greatest risk any of us will ever take is to be seen as we really are.”
a book where a character is mistreated;
The Color Purple by Alice Walker.
If you haven’t read this classic, I implore you to do so. As a lot of people know about me, I have a particularly complicated relationship with classics. I am always so conflicted on my emotions when it comes to classics, and there have been so many scenarios where i’ve had to force myself to finish a book, disappointed and underwhelmed, and not at all seeing what it is that other people so love. The Color Purple, however, is nothing short of a masterpiece. For such a short book, it’s an incredibly hard hitting read, which only puts emphasis on just how poorly Celie is treated. Everything that she experiences even within a day is enough to stick with you for a lifetime, and you find yourself constantly losing hope, even alongside her, when all you want is to champion her and root for a better future for her. A testament to Walker’s talent, The Color Purple leaves you feeling simultaneously raw and empowered by the end of it, and always wanting to care for and protect Celie, from the very first, right through to the very last, page.
“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away, and away means forgetting.”
a book that you will never forget;
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
There are so many options I could go with for this one, but I think THUG is absolutely the most deserving. In fact, I’m not even sure where to begin with this one. Angie Thomas’ first novel is an expansion on a short story she wrote back in college, inspired by the terrible and unjust shooting of Oscar Grant, back in 2009. Many people know of this story, and many people don’t, but we’ve all heard of a story much the same. Oscar Grant, only 22 years old, was fatally shot and killed on New Year’s Day by an armed police officer. Those are the only details that are required to know that we’ve all heard this story, time and time again. Young black people are shot and killed, brutally attacked and assaulted, and altogether villainised by the police force. It is, unfortunately, a truth still relevant even now in 2019. Thomas’ novel tells the story of Starr Carter, a young girl who bore witness to the corrupt and terrifying shooting, and consequent murder, of her friend Khalil Harris. Khalil is unarmed, Khalil is doing nothing wrong, and yet; Khalil died. This book follows Starr through her horror and her grief, and shows us the shocking realities of what it is like to grow up black, to be immediately perceived as a thug, and to never feel safe even in the hands of those hired to protect us. Starr has to navigate life during the aftermath of what happened to Khalil, and has to face an array of obstacles ranging from discovering just who she can trust and confide in, who has her back, and whether or not it’s safe – or, in fact, right – to speak up in defence of Khalil, and to protect and fight for his name and his innocence, even after he’s gone. Angie Thomas is an incredibly gifted writer, and though this book left me sobbing my heart out in various instances, she still managed to have me smiling and laughing on the next page. It is gut wrenching, truly a heartbreaking read, and only a brief glimpse into the injustices that the black community face, and if you haven’t picked this book up yet, I highly recommend it. Even to watch the movie, for those less inclined towards reading, the impact and the powerful message portrayed across both print and screen is one that I think everyone should be required to take a look at.
THE UGLY DUCKLING
“It is only with the heart that one can see clearly, for the most essential things are invisible to the eye.”
a book or character that you love, but others don’t see the same way;
Nymphadora Tonks of Harry Potter by JK Rowling.
Now, this is actually a bit of an odd one, I’ll admit. Most of you will probably read this and think, ‘what? there’s no such thing as an unpopular opinion within the Harry Potter universe!’, or ‘but Tonks is a fan favourite!’, and yet, it appears she is not. This is only a recent discovery of mine, but both friends and strangers alike have enlightened me over the past year or two that, in fact, people really dislike Tonks. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that this is a fandom that spans far and wide, and that the drama and discourse is seemingly unending, even this many years after the final book was published. I also understand that, as far as dynamics such as Remus/Tonks and Remus/Sirius go, that there’s always going to be conflicting opinions and feelings. I get it, absolutely. And hey, I actually ship both of these duos, so I understand exactly why people don’t like Remus & Tonks, and why people think they don’t work. However, it hadn’t ever occurred to me that those same sentiments extended to Tonks as an individual, and yet here we are! I personally adore her, and I think she’s not only a great character, but a pretty wonderful role model for young people. I always enjoyed that Tonks never took herself seriously, and was always something of a class clown, a joker, and somebody who prioritised laughter and happiness over anything else. Yet, with that in mind, she was still an exceptionally skilled auror, teeming with talent, and both the order and the ministry trusted her beyond belief to get a job done correctly, and to keep not only Harry, but the Wizarding World as a whole, safe. I always enjoyed the fact that Tonks broke away from stereotypes in every sense of the word. She was most often seen with bright pink hair, a colour often associated with being girly and feminine, yet she was never afraid to get stuck in, get her hands dirty, and to muck in with the lads, either! A metamorphmagus with the ability to be constantly changing her appearance as she pleased, Tonks gives you the impression that not only is it okay to look the way that you do, and to be exactly who you are, and that you should never be ashamed to have a little laugh and poke fun of yourself, that it’s also okay to want to change little details, and to adjust yourself accordingly to your own comfort. It’s important to be comfortable in your own skin, but only by abiding to your rules, and nobody else’s, and I think that Tonks is a lovely example of that, personally! She’s fierce, strong, and a little foul-mouthed, but she’s also soft, sweet, and has an absolute heart of gold.
THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA
“She had felt one pea all the way through twenty mattresses and twenty more feather beds.”
a book or character that made you uncomfortable;
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote.
Much like Fahrenheit 451, I just… did not like this book. To be blunt, I found Holly Golightly, our main character, completely insufferable. I didn’t like her one bit, and I didn’t enjoy this book in the slightest. I can’t really pinpoint anything positive to say about it, which is a shame given that so many of my closest friends love it so much! For such a universally praised book (and movie!), and a story that I’ve never heard a single negative word about, I must admit I was a little bewildered when reading it, and to this day I’m still baffled by its success. I didn’t find any of the characters, nor the story, to be remotely intriguing, and I felt like so much of the language and behaviour within these pages was so mortifying, and yet swept under the rug as though entirely acceptable. So much of the ignorance and bigotry in this book was so casually thrown in, that it never seems to bother anybody, and while I know I spoke of the ignorance of classics being a product of their time, I will point out that this book is only 60 years old (going on 61 in October), meaning it’s younger even than my father. Now, I know that homophobia, misogyny, racism, and other such outdated and unacceptable attitudes were of course rampant in the 50s (and often times still are), when you compare such ignorance in a book only 60 years old, to some of the ignorance present in classic novels such as Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, both reaching the 172 and 206 year old marks, it really is a little bewildering to me that nobody seems to think Capote’s attitudes and writing a little more than tired. And, I get it, she’s the original manic pixie dream girl, a trope that nobody ever seems to grow tired of, but I am. I’m tired of it, and I lost count of the different levels of discomfort this book brought out in me for such a short read. How Golightly ever became a feminist icon I’ll never know, but I don’t claim her even for a second.
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
“Oh Granny, what big teeth you have!”
a book or character that wasn’t what they seemed;
All That She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher.
The thought of this book always makes me laugh – for all the wrong reasons. This was not a book I enjoyed, not in the slightest, and I really expected to, beyond belief. I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that I was going to love it, in fact, and then I turned around and hated it with every fibre of my being! And I feel bad saying that, really and truly, because I adore Carrie, I’ve been lucky enough to see her perform live on four different occasions, met her on one, and was genuinely so excited to finally dive into one of her books. I’d heard nothing but good things about them! In fact, I actually bought this particular copy when visiting Jenny and, when I had no space to take it with me on my way home, a little gutted that I wouldn’t be able to read it soon, Jenny found herself so thrilled at having the book in her own company, and immediately set to work on reading it. Not only did she find herself so enraptured from the off, she then bought me a copy, to replace my own which she intended on keeping, so smitten with the writing and these characters, that I instantly followed suit and started reading it the second it arrived. Well, Jen, I love you to pieces, but what a fool you were, huh? And weren’t we all? What started out as quite a lovely novel featuring a sugary sweet, black female lead, with a penchant for baking and a rather magical secret hidden away, soon turned into an utter train wreck. This book genuinely took such a bizarre, unfathomable turn for the worst, and even ventured into rather heinous territory with lines blurring by way morality and consent (trigger warning for sexual assault). It shocked me in all the wrong ways, and left me feeling unsettled and confused. I can understand what Carrie was trying to do, and I can even respect that she wanted to take a bit of a plunge into something darker, to shock her readers and give us a bit of grit, but it absolutely did not work for me, and I found myself uncomfortably forcing myself through the latter half of the book.
SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS
“I’ll take a chance with her.”
a book with great friends;
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.
The strange thing about Guernsey – aside from it’s absolutely outrageous name that took me an obscene amount of time to memorise, after months of calling it ‘the guernsey potato club book’ – is that it’s absolutely not the kind of book I would have considered reading, had it not been for both movie adaptation, and Jenny’s insistence that I hurry up and read it. And, of course, i’m delighted that I did (and that her sleepy ass endured two separate sittings of us trying to watch the movie despite her having already seen it!). It’s such a great book for the formatting and style of writing alone, exclusively written in letters passed around between each and every one of the characters, both main and supporting, with such a compelling story and cast of characters. Each and every character has such a distinct voice and a plethora of endearing and standout traits, with even the less likeable characters having such notable characteristics to set them apart. Between the sweet, witty, and just downright charming exchanges between Dawsey and Juliet before their initial introduction, to the hospitality and welcoming nature of the Islanders, to Juliet and Sidney’s darling friendship and almost familial, protective nature, to the universal love and warmth that each of the adults shared for young Kit, to the sense of community within both the society and on the Island as a whole, there are just so many endearing, heart warming dynamics to lose yourself in throughout the course of the story. I absolutely loved each and every relationship that Juliet formed (well, almost every relationship, Markham Reynolds who?!), and I think Shaffer does an incredible job of creating a cast of characters who, despite most of them having had a similar upbringing and backstory, all have their own sense of individuality, a whole body of standout traits and characteristics, each teeming with fresh and endearing factors to them. The dynamics shared within this book are so immensely enjoyable, and I have to also note that the translation to screen was also such a joy, and I couldn’t fault either if I tried.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
“Who in the world am I?”
a book about identity or a character who questions themselves;
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
This is, of course, a question that can be taken in a variety of different ways, and can certainly translate in whatever way the reader resonates with it. We all experience a level of insecurity within ourselves, and to question yourself, your future, your own character – whatever aspect of yourself – is a natural part of human progression and, frankly, just growing up. In this current society, though, I think it’s worth shining a light on particularly marginalised groups, such as people of colour, the LGBT+ community or, in this case, both. For the final question of this post, i’m really floundering and struggling to really do this book justice, if i’m being entirely honest, and that has everything to do with just how incredibly special this book is to me; it truly is a forever favourite, I have to say. Absolutely every single thing about this book is truly stunning to me, and every page is a testament to just how truly elegantly and lovingly the author crafted each character, each plot, every tiny detail. An LGBT+ story centring around two Mexican-American teenage boys, set in the 80’s, I think it’s fair to say that the general theme of this story is identity as a whole. Based around the blossoming friendship – and, perhaps, something more – between Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana, we follow these boys as they face both internal and external struggles with racial and ethnic identity, sexual identity, their own places within their familial relationships – as well as the very relationship formed between the two of them. Not only do both of them struggle in their own individual ways, instances which drive them apart and draw them closer on separate occasions, but we also see the internal struggle with mental health, and the general anxieties that often weigh upon us, even away from the struggles of racial politics and sexuality. It’s been quite some time since I read this book (and i’m certainly long overdue a reread! Perhaps even in need of finally grabbing myself a physical copy), so I can’t say for certain whether or not Ari, in particular, ever explicitly has his mental health addressed by means of openly talking about anxiety, depression, or mental illness in any capacity. That being said, with the extent to which Ari regularly questions the workings of his own mind, and the world around him, while also trivialising things such as smiling. In this instance, Dante notes that Ari’s smile is back, something fairly mundane, simple, a sweet observation, and yet Ari responds with;“Smiles are like that. They come and go.” (and even at one stage stating, with his own internal observation, “I had learned to hide what I felt. No, that’s not true. There was no learning involved. I had been born knowing how to hide what I felt.”), it becomes abundantly clear to the reader that he has a lot of unresolved issues even within his own sense of self. Not to mention, set in the 80’s, as it was, things like gender, race, and mental health were such wildly taboo topics – especially when you take into consideration that even now, in 2019, they’re often conversations that are shunned and swept under the rug – and to openly and loudly talk of such matters, especially through the voice of a 15 year old boy, is an incredibly powerful move, and one that I admire deeply. I think this is such an extraordinary book for a number of reasons, and one I will never stop recommending to anybody that might ask.
And there we have it! Sorry for prattling on for so long, though I think we’ve all established i’m very good at waffling on for an unnecessary amount of time without ever really saying anything of interest! Whoops! Thank you so much to the absolutely delightful Delly for creating such an excellent tag! It’s been an absolute joy following her both on twitter and over on her blog, and to get to keep tabs on all her posts, but especially her fairytale themed content! Keep ’em all coming, Delly, you’re doing wonderful!
To keep the tag going, i’m going to tag the following:
As ever, there’s zero pressure to participate should your schedule be too full, or you decide you don’t want to, but i’m certainly looking forward to seeing what everyone has to say, and which books and characters inspire a response to the brilliant questions above!