Tag Archives: hans christian anderson

The Complete Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales

Ok, so I know that I’m gonna catch a lot of flack for this–but I’m nothing if not honest…. 51CARXQDTVL._SL500_AA300_

I seriously did not like the collection of HCA’s Fairy Tales.

Sorry, sorry–hear me out.

Ok, we all know the classics. The Little Mermaid. The Steadfast Tin Soldier. The Nightingale  The Ugly Duckling. The Little Match Girl. I enjoyed those. For his time, HCA was totally groundbreaking. I mean, he and the Brothers Grimm kinda went back and forth ripping each other off a few times, but it is what it is. Never before had such fantastical tales been told! And I can appreciate that, I can, but from a modern viewpoint they are extremely dry.

Not to mention, really weird…

HCA had a tendency to forget facts he had already included and then change information later on down the road. And it seemed like if he wasn’t sure how to close a story or get rid of a character–BOOM YOU ARE DEAD, SIR! But not even in a way that really made sense. He just kinda trailed off with a lame, “And then he died…” or something like that.

He seemed to have some pretty extreme Christian leanings too, and a horribly misogynistic point of view. If you were a little girl and you did one bad thing–BOOM WE ARE CUTTING OFF YOUR FEET AND SENDING YOU TO HELL. Woah… If I had body parts amputated every time I misbehaved…let’s just say I’d be a pile of hair in the corner by now. At one point a little girl who did the unthinkable–stepped on a piece of bread in order to spare her new shoes–sunk down through the ground to Hell, where she was frozen like stone, covered in snakes and toads, and every time her mother cried for her the tears dripped down on her head and burned like acid.

That’s kinda messed up, dude.

So, don’t get me wrong–I totally understand that he was one of the forefathers of modern literature/fantasy. But his stories could be vastly improved on and (don’t hate me) I enjoyed some of Disney’s retellings better.

Let’s just say there is a reason why you’ve never heard of The Jewish Maid, Little Claus and Big Claus, or The Darning Needle.

It’s because they sucked.

2 world-traveling dung beetles of 5

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Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

I think we all remember watching the Little Mermaid as a kid. I do. Heck, I had Little Mermaid underwear! It seems as though even after all these years our obsession with mermaids and the aquatic life hasn’t died down much. Living in Florida makes it a little easier to believe in these types of fairy tales. Surrounded by water on three sides, with beautiful beaches stretching for miles–it makes you wonder if the light you saw glinting off the waves wasn’t really glancing off of silver scales. Myself? I never understood Ariel. You want to be part of our world?? Please girl, come sit at my desk while I take your place in the surf. I don’t care much for seafood, but I’m flexible! 


Mermaid
 by Carolyn Turgeon is a retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic. It chronicles the lives of Princess Margrethe–stuck in hiding during war-time posing as a nun–and Lenia, the Sea King’s youngest daughter. On her 18th birthday Lenia gets to visit the surface of the ocean for the first and last time (as is traditional for mermaids on their 18th year). She happens upon a terrible ship wreck and saves one handsome (of course) man from drowning. As she tows him miles to shore, she falls madly in love with him–warm skin, thumping heart, along with the idea of his soul (which mermaids do not possess). Margrethe happens to be standing on the beach at the very moment that the strange man is dragged to shore and she witnesses a tender kiss between the two. When he wakes up, he believes the young “nun” has saved him. Too bad he turns out the be the bad boy prince from the rebel Southern Kingdom. Imagine that. Soon after, Lenia visits Sybil the sea-witch to strike a bargain.

Thus ensues a love triangle of epic proportions.

“Souls were webs of light that contained the essence of a human’s life. Memories and loves, children and families. Every moment of a life, pressing in.”

I really appreciated this book. Retellings can be awesome or awful. This one was awesome. Turgeon’s style of writing is very lyrical and poetic and she has a great eye for details. I like how whenever a mermaid would touch a human’s skin, a shimmery trail would be left behind… forever. Is that cool, or what? The way that the two princesses became rivals was set up really well too. Both had so much at stake that I couldn’t help but change who I was rooting for after each new chapter. It was nice to see two beautiful women having respect for each other for once rather than being catty and evil. I liked how Turgeon added a little bit of sex appeal and raciness to the story–definitely not your Disney version here.

The only real complaint that I had about Mermaid was that the whole “love at first sight, marry me now” thing is so far-fetched that it just makes me roll my eyes. I get that extreme romance and true love theme is being imparted…but it’s a little tired if you ask me. But, I suppose that’s also how things worked back in the Medieval Times. You’re hot, I wanna bone you, let’s get married and make it legit. I get it.

Other than VEHEMENTLY disagreeing with Lenia’s choice to give up the sea for the human world, this was a great story. Definitely worth the read.

4 lost voices out of 5