First of all, the winner of the paperback copy of MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE is:

Jennifer Rumberger

Thanks to everyone who entered!

I’m excited to share IN A GLASS GRIMMLY this week for MMGM. I read Adam Gidwitz’s first book, A TALE DARK AND GRIMM, before I started this blog, so I didn’t get a chance to review it. I’m delighted that his second book includes the same things I loved in the first one. Although these two books are companions, they are completely separate stories, so you don’t have to read the first book before the second. Here’s the blurb: caution ahead–

oversize plant life, amphibious beasts, and fear-inducing creatures abound.

Lest you enter with dread.

Follow Jack and Jill as they enter startling new landscapes that may (or may not) be scary, bloody, terrifying, and altogether true.

Step lively, dear reader …

Happily ever after isn’t cutting it anymore. If you dare, join Jack and Jill on a harrowing quest through a new set of tales from the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and others, in this eerie, subversive, and hair-raising companion novel to Adam Gidwitz’s widely acclaimed, award-winning debut, A TALE DARK & GRIMM.

Here are the five things I loved most:

1. The narrator It’s not easy to pull off a narrator who speaks directly to the reader, but Adam Gidwitz is a master. He interrupts throughout the story to give warnings or outright heckle the reader. I love it. Here’s an excerpt from the prologue.

Once upon a time, fairy tales were horrible.

Not boring horrible. Not so-cute-you-want-to-jump-out-the-window horrible.

Horrible like they define it in the dictionary:

Horrible (adj.)–causing feelings of horror, dread, unbearable sadness, and nausea; also tending to produce nightmares, whimpering for one’s parents, and bed-wetting.

I know, I know. You’re thinking: “Fairy tales? Horrible? Please.” I get that.

If you’ve been raised on that drivel that passes for fairy tales these days, you’re not going to believe a word that I’m saying.

2. The fairy tales – The prologue provides a perfect segue into what Adam Gidwitz does with the fairy tales. He takes two characters–Jack and Jill–and weaves them into multiple fairy tales and nursery rhymes to form a single story. It includes such diverse tales as “The Frog King of Iron Heinrich,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “Faithful Johannes.” He then includes some original tales of his own to connect them all. It’s brilliantly done.

3. The boy factor – This isn’t technically something that I love because, well, I’m a girl, but I can appreciate that boys will love the chapter with the vomit, as well as many other gross and even violent scenes. These characters do not have it easy. By the end of the book, they’ve been through a number of disgusting and painful adventures.

4. The characters surprise me – Every time I thought I knew what to expect from Jack and Jill, they’d surprise me. They’d keep making the same mistakes, until suddenly they didn’t. But I believed the change. It’s very well done.

5. The moral of the story – Much of the advice you see out in the writing community is not to have a heavy moral lesson. This book gets away with it because often fairy tales had a moral to them, so of course this one should, too. And it’s a good one. So kids will enjoy the adventure, but they’ll also learn something, too.

Who else has read Adam Gidwitz? What did you like best?

Responses to “MMGM: IN A GLASS GRIMMLY by Adam Gidwitz”

  1. Brenda

    I really enjoyed the narrator and overall message. My favorite quote was ” I’d say that all mirrors are magic, or can be. They show you yourself, after all. Really seeing yourself, though—that’s the hard part.”

  2. Rosanne Parry

    This is a great book to look at for its interesting narrative style. It’s fresh and kids find it really appealing. I’ve read quite a few of the lesser known Grimm tales some of them in German and he’s pretty good about being faithful to the original versions. They really are that gruesome. It’s also an interesting conversation to look at how modern versions of the tales have been changed and why.

  3. Akoss

    I have yet to read any book from this author but I do remember adding the first book to my tbr list a while back. Maybe I both books will make it on my halloween list.
    Thanks for the detailed review, especially the “boy factor” part. 🙂

  4. Jill

    This must be why I love your blog. You like the same books as I 🙂 I LOVED this book (loved the first one too). And I agree about the moral. Might sound silly, but toward the end of the book (when those “deeper” thoughts are laid out) I really “learned ” something…made me stop and think. And yes, the narration is brilliant…I really think Gidwitz is an amazing writer. I want to re-read these books actually — this is the downside of not being able to buy books anymore. Love the library, but miss owning books 🙂

    • Michelle I. Mason

      The good news is: there’s another book in this series! I’m not sure of the release date, but he’s not finished with his fairy tale retellings yet.

  5. jillhaugh

    Oh–I MUST read this! After being dogged my whole life by that nursury rhyme–from school kids on the bus to classmates to the nursing home residents I now work with… I simply must read up on this– my own personal namesake nursery rhyme.
    ~Just Jill
    (Jack’s off)


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