I was fixing my morning cup of coffee just now and pondering yesterday’s post and I feel like I may have left you with the impression that Karen Russell’s book is playful and funny. Well, yes, there are playful moments, but even “kids take their play seriously,” to quote my friend Walt. And I was hesitant to tell you more about the stories. But let me add this. The author is offering us a round of modern fairy tales, and like the original Grimm brothers, these tales bounce between the whimsical and the dark. And I believe that it’s at this edge of darkness that we can find a piece of truth about ourselves. Wicked stepsisters don’t chop of parts of feet to fit into slippers, but Russell comes close to that. That being said, I might caution the lighthearted reader. Lemony Snicket cautions us but his intent is to get us to read the story. Here, I offer a genuine piece of advice: these may not be the tale your grandmother might read. Or rather, the kind of tales YOU don’t think your grandmother reads. But there’s a grandma out there who’ll just squeal over these stories.
Give me a call, Grandma, I got a book for you!