Book Review: Mothers Grimm by Danielle Wood #aww2015

Title: Mothers Grimm
Author: Danielle Wood
Genre: contemporary/fairy tale retellings
Date Read: 08/11/2015
Rating: ★★

Review:

mothersgrimmcoverIn Mothers Grimm, Danielle Woods presents four shorter stories that break down the “Good Mother” trope/stereotype often found in fairy tales (the Good Mother is often so good that she is dead). Each story is linked to a fairy tale but turns it on its head to depict the realities of motherhood.

Well, this was disappointing.

A disclaimer: I am not a mother and I don’t have any intentions to become one. It is possible the stories in this book may have resonated with me more if I had children.

The four stories all depicted pretty bleak outlooks on motherhood. The women felt trapped in failing relationships, or resentful of the children who were taking up their lives, or just plain unhappy. To read these stories, you would think that there wasn’t a single rewarding aspect of being a parent. You would think that being a mother completely ruins lives.

The four characters were all well-written and individual, but none was especially likable. One of them was a bitchy gossip. Another lied to her husband about being on the Pill, then seemed to try to make out it was his fault when she fell pregnant a second time. The third was an eighteen-year-old who had made some bad choices; I didn’t mind her too much. The fourth was a mother in the 1950s who felt she was disappointing her own mother. The problem was that I wasn’t invested in any of them. I think perhaps part of the author’s aim was to make these women unlikeable, to ensure there was not one ounce of Good Mother in them. But what’s wrong with a woman succeeding in at least some areas?

The other issue was that I came in expecting some kind of fantasy or fairy tale element. This was absent. Even the links to the fairy tales were tenuous at best. Perhaps that’s my own fault for coming in with expectations of something that wasn’t, but I still felt a little bit ripped off at the end of it.

#WWW Wednesday and WIPpet Wednesday- 04 November, 2015

This has been one of those weeks where I can barely believe it’s only Wednesday, and yet Wednesday it is. On the upside, that means fun blog hops! First up we have WWW Wednesday, which is hosted by Sam over at A World of Words. You can join in over there by leaving a link to your own WWW Wednesday on today’s post. All you need to do is answer the three questions.

  • What are you currently reading?

wwwwednesdayI started Chasing Nonconformity by indie author Michelle Proulx yesterday. This is the sequel to Imminent Danger (And How to Fly Straight into It), which I reviewed back in February. This is a really fun YA/sci-fi/romance series with some really entertaining characters and strong world-building. After reading a whole slew of things that only got three stars, I wanted to read something that I’m pretty sure I’ll give at least four to.

Still going with The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker. The pace is very slow, but the writing is good, and I am interested in the characters. They’ve only just met where I’m up to, and I really want to see how their relationship develops.

I’m also reading How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson. I’ve been interested in this method for a while, so I’m going to give it a go with my next WIP.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

I read the first two volumes of Jim Henson’s Return to Labyrinth. They were fun, and I’m thinking about making my rating 3.5 rather than 3. They gave Jareth a tragic romantic backstory, though, which I have mixed feelings about, because really, can you imagine the man who sang “Dance, Magic, Dance” having a tragic backstory? And even though this is set 13 years after the movie, he seems to have been mooning over Sarah all that time. Now don’t get me wrong, I am totally a Jareth/Sarah shipper, but I’ve read fanfiction that depicted this relationship better (The Goblin Market is a good one, if you’re interested).

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Mothers Grimm by Danielle Wood is my November Pick for me read, and it arrived for me at the library today, so probably that. I’m actually not sure what to expect with it.

In other news, I hand in my final assignment for the year on Friday, and I’ve got to say, after the best part of ten months spent studying straight, I am so looking forward to the break. Nothing to get up for on the weekends! No feeling guilty for doing fun things! Yay!

On that note, since I now have free time on my weekends, I decided it was time to re-join WIPpet Wednesdays. I missed sharing my writing with you guys, though on the upside, sitting out for a few weeks does mean I’ve got lots of new stuff to share from. I’m actually pretty excited, as I may end up finishing the first draft of Operation Sugarplum tonight or tomorrow! I plotted out the last few scenes at the end of my lunch break yesterday. I’ve also got a lot of notes for things to be improved upon in the second draft, as well as some glaring inconsistencies that need patching up, but I will be putting this aside for a little while and picking up something else. Probably Lessons Learned, which I have shared from before. It’s the one with Grace and Frederick.

wednesdaybannerAnyway, WIPpet Wednesday. It’s a blog hop where we share some of our current WIP that somehow relates to the date. Our linkup is here. K. L. Schwengel is our host and she is awesome. This week, I’ve four paragraphs for the 4th of November. Not long after the last excerpt, in which the Creelan King was threatening Clara that she’d better do as she’s told, he notices that she’s wearing a familiar pendant. Max gave it to Clara earlier, promising it would guard her against Creelan magic. The King wants to know why she has it and if she knows where it would have come from.

“I can tell you where it came from. Either your Max, or someone else who could then pass it on, stole it from the body of a Creelan soldier. When there is magic flying blindly in the heat of battle, it can be easy to miss our intended target. These stones ensure we cannot be hurt by our own magic.” Again, he reached out his hand, though this time it was with the palm held upwards. “I would be grateful if you would hand it back, so it could be returned to the man’s family.”

Clara had to admit he was good. She nearly took the pendant off and handed it over, but common sense kicked in at the last second. “Do you think I’m that stupid?” she asked. “Give up my one means of protection while you’re keeping me a prisoner in my own house?”

“You think I’d need to rely on magic to hurt you?” the King countered, his voice rising. “Give it to me!” He lunged towards Clara, grabbing both the pendant and a handful of her shirt in his fist. Clara wrenched herself away.

“No!” she screamed. “Do you think I’m going to believe a single word you say to me? When you’ve already tried to kill me once, and now you’re taking me hostage? Leave me alone.”

Clara then flings herself off to her bedroom and the King lets her go because honestly, he’s got plenty of time to wrestle pendants from around her throat.

I have to dash now, as I need to be somewhere in half an hour or so, but I will catch up on your blogs soon!

~ Emily