Friday, December 8, 2023

WAKING BEAUTY, Rebecca Solnit looks at fairy tales from her own unique angle

(illus. Arthur Rackham)
Haymarket Books
$19.95 hardcover, available now

Rating: 5* of five

The Publisher Says: Expanding, transforming, and subverting the magical tale of Sleeping Beauty, Rebecca Solnit revitalizes this classic story with a new perspective: Maya, the sister who stayed awake.

Waking Beauty tells of Maya’s great adventures, the inspiring, extraordinary artist and changemaker who “found [beauty] everywhere and gave it to everyone”; Atlas, who guarded the golden apples and was definitely not a prince; and Ida, who slept for a century and woke up in a very different world. The perfect follow-up to Cinderella Liberator, Solnit seamlessly weaves these compelling narratives, crafting a story that is as delightful and enchanting as it is empowering.


My Review
: The time to get a female to reject the toxic assumptions of the Overculture about her sex and gender is in childhood. If you have a granddaughter or niece who is of fairy-tale loving age, get her into Rebecca Solnit's mindset before damage that can't be undone occurs.

There's no denying Solnit's clarity of thought, no matter whether you agree with her conclusions or not. It's my theory that you, who're reading my reviews, aren't likely to dislike the message of agency and also of awareness that others have stories too...not the old way of "you're supposed to be kind and attentive to boys so they will like you " way but in the "everyone is the center of their own story, just like you" way. Arthur Rackham's lovely old silhouettes:
...exemplify the point Solnit's making about the way things look not being the whole story. I hope you'll make room for these retold fairy tales with a very modern spin to get into the heads of your just-barely-still-lap-reader kids.

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