|Dahlia Adler (2023)
|3 February 2024
|★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A great set of fairy tales which are loosely inspired by some classics, but with some diverse and inclusive perspectives. This is where the anthology format really shines – you get a lot of different perspectives and takes in a short number of pages.
There are stories with themes of race and religion, gender and sexuality, and sometimes blending the two. The lack of representation for disability and the Global South was disappointing (unless I missed some), but the stories that were there didn’t feel homogeneous or repetitive.
This caught my eye because of Darcie Little Badger, whose other books I’ve enjoyed (and I liked her short story in this), and now I’ve found several other authors I want to check out.
Some favourites (I liked the stories that play with gender, quelle surprise):
Sugarplum, by Anna-Marie McLemore – a Mexican girl must reluctantly dance for a group of White party-goers at the Silberhaus ball, but the only person she really wants to dance for is the girl upstairs.
Mother’s Mirror, by H. E. Edgmon – a trans boy resists his mother trying to make herself in miniature, finds a community of online friends, and falls for a dashing local drag king called Prince Charming.
HEA, by Alex London – a teenage drag queen whose life is dictated by being an influencer gets invited to the Met Gala, but runs away to have an evening of normalcy flirting with the barista at the local Starbucks. Cinderella as a commentary on modern social norms, but done well.
The Littlest Mermaid, by Meredith Russo – a mermaid explains the concepts of humans to her child, and Aria, a “termaid” who’s a trans woman who came to live in the ocean for a while. Some fun paralles between being a human-turned-mermaid and transition, and I love a good “humans as aliens” story. Plus genderfluid lesbian mermaids.
The book is a mix of 3 to 5 star stories; there was enough stuff that really spoke to me to bump the overall book to 5 stars.
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