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Customer Review

on 5 December 2013
The fun title says it all - these are fairy tales with a twist: classical stories updated and re-presented in contemporary forms, often through the eyes of the bad guys from the original stories. There are fourteen stories, the majority written in the first person, allowing the author to get inside the minds of the characters and thus explain their attitudes and behaviour.

Take 'Snow White', for example - my personal favourite. The first person narrative gets into the mind of the 'wicked stepmother' and we see how the prospect of growing old and losing her good lucks drives her jealousy of her stepdaughter. Her self-justification of her, literally, poisonous behaviour toward Snow White is well-done and gives a realistic and refreshing new slant to the story.

The Planning Officer, 'Mr Woolf', initially shelters behind a bureaucratic facade but slowly reveals his teeth and true nature to the 'Bacon family' in his attempts to knock their jerry-built house (built without planning permission) down. There is great word play in this and other stories - and particularly the 'Chicken Licken' story (look out for the 'webbed-sites' and 'Chickipedia' references!)

The majority of stories are written with a light, wry and gently humorous touch, although I rather liked the explicit darker edge of 'The Pied Piper' too, with the underlying issue of rejection and lack of integrity shown toward a gifted scientist made redundant and exploited by officialdom.

The themes of growing old, with its attendant advantages - and disadvantages in a modern world - are never far away in these stories, hence the title, so the collection would make a particularly apt gift for a post-war baby boomer, now turned pensioner, who is likely to understand and appreciate the references to the past, i.e: "This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Aquarious!' chanted another neighbour, Goosey Lucy, who tended to be a bit fey" (from 'Chicken Licken').

The stories are all well-constructed, confidently written, and very imaginative. A future edition might benefit from an introduction by the author, giving her slant on the stories, which I would be interested to read, plus a list of story headings.
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Product Details

4.6 out of 5 stars