Book: How to Fracture a Fairytale by Jane Yolen
Release Date: November 5th 2018
Tags: Fantasy / Collection / Short Stories / Poetry / Retellings / Fairytale / Mythology / Jewish Characters
Trigger Warnings:Concentration Camps / Rape / Body Shaming / Physical Abuse / Emotional Abuse / Incest
Fantasy legend Jane Yolen presents a wide-ranging offering of fractured fairy tales. Yolen fractures the classics to reveal their crystalline secrets, holding them to the light and presenting them entirely transformed; where a spinner of straw into gold becomes a money-changer and the big bad wolf retires to a nursing home. Rediscover the tales you once knew, rewritten and refined for the world we now live in―or a much better version of it.
I will admit that I have never read anything by Jane Yolen before. But when this cover with that title, I mean how can you pass up How to Fracture a Fairytale as a title, passed me by I knew I had to give it a shot. This book is a collection of short stories Jane Yolen has written over the many years of her career. She is in her seventies. I had no idea.
A lot of these stories have been published in other anthologies before because of various prompts and anthology ideas. This book puts all of the explanation per story in the back. I think it would have done my reading a lot of good had each story had their explanation right after. There were some interesting things to read in there and each explanation came with a poem. Some of those had been published before too. Others were written just for this collection. It just felt weird to have all of the explanations in one go, like a big info dump.
There is a variety of stories in here, all retellings of fairytales or mythologies. Cinderella was however quite a reoccurring one with at least 3 stories based on it. It was fun to see though how each story was twisted a bit. My personal favorite of those three was Cinder Elephant as the main character here was fat. Unfortunately there was also some bodyshaming going on in this story which she does slightly address in her explanation but not enough.
I think what I liked seeing most was how a bunch of the stories had a Jewish character or Jewish influences. Jane Yolen herself is Jewish and I thought that was great to see. One does not often see Jewish characters in fantasy. With that came however some heavy topics like the concentration camps.
I had a large fondness for the story Mama Gone. I suppose that cut into my own mom heart. The emotional feelings along with the rising of a vampire. Of having to say goodbye. But there were also funny bits like the wolves in retirement home and a goat nurse.
Overall I think this is a great collection of short stories and poems to read if you enjoy fairytales. Yolen certainly has her own style and twists she makes. Not every story hit home for me, but what didn’t hit for me will hit for someone else. It is certainly worth the effort.