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Book DetailsISBN: 9781741756746
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Book Review: Mothers Grimm by Danielle Wood - Reviewed by CloggieA (02 Aug 2014)
From an Uncorrected Proof kindly provided by Allen & Unwin and The Reading Room. Mothers Grimm is the third fiction book by Australian teacher and author, Danielle Wood. It is a collection of four short stories that offer strikingly different versions of fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm. The prologue describes for readers The Good Mother, a woman we all recognise but can somehow never actually be. The first story, Lettuce is Rapunzel in deep disguise; Cottage is Hansel and Gretel with a modern day twist; Sleep, of course, takes a different look at Sleeping Beauty; while Nag is a very alternative interpretation of The Goose Girl. These stories have beautiful women and crones; babies are abandoned at birth, or taken and left daily in the woods known as child care; mothers suffer from sleep deprivation, loneliness, rejection, exhaustion and lack of support. As well as being blackly funny, these tales are thought-provoking, clever and occasionally heart-breaking enough to produce a lump in the throat of the most cynical reader. The characters are familiar from the preschool, the mothers group, the yoga class and the café. The prose is often wonderfully evocative: “You turn your back and walk out the door and, as you do, you hear your [baby] screaming. The effect is like having your uterus torn out through your earholes.” “Being the younger sister, Lauren thought, was a bit like turning up in the afternoon to a garage sale once all the good stuff was gone.” “…the rich smell of coffee made Meg’s lemon and ginger tea taste even more like the overpriced hot water that it was.” “His crying echoed within her all the way to the car, all the way to work through the morning-choked streets, stowing away in the curling corridors of her ears…” Being a mother is NOT a prerequisite for enjoying this novel, but it is certainly a book that will appeal to mothers. Reading (or rereading) the original versions of the fairy tales is likewise not absolutely necessary, but doing so (and Wikipedia is helpful here!) will demonstrate just how cleverly Wood incorporates various elements of the original tales in her own creations. Really quite brilliant!
Danielle Wood is the author of the novel The Alphabet of Light and Dark, the short story collection Rosie Little's Cautionary Tales for Girls and a biography, Housewife Superstar: The Very Best of Marjorie Bligh. Together with Heather Rose, she is 'Angelica Banks', author of Tuesday McGillycuddy adventures for children. She lives in Holbart and teaches in the English program at the University of Tasmania. www.daniellewood.com.au
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