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Monday, September 28, 2009

So this is Love?: Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon

Why yes, that is a reference to the original Cinderella story, or at least the very popular one coined by Disney (gotta love Disney!) that sends millions of little girls into a frenzy longing for the beauty, the magic, the romance of this classic tale of yesterday.  *SIGH* I can hear the music now.... (**waltzing in head, believe me, it's safer**) Anywho, back to the review at hand...the subject of today's post came to me courtesy of Read It Forward (also on Twitter) (thanks!).  The cover is beautiful, the title intriguing...today's book of choice is....


Godmother
by
Carolyn Turgeon

Boasted as "The Secret Cinderella Story" (I didn't say it, the cover does), the reader is drawn into the life of Cinderella's fairy Godmother before, during and after the events that took place...or rather WERE suppose to take place.  Have you ever wondered what life would be like if she hadn't gone to the ball, met the Prince and lived happily ever after?  Well, my friend, you're about to find out!  You see, fairy's in this world aid in guiding man to destiny and fate.  It was written that Cinderella was to be the one love made for the Prince...all Lil (the fairy Godmother) had to do was follow her orders and guide this into being.  No problem, right?  WRONG!  It seems Lil has gotten a little too close to her ward and unless she finds a way to sever the tie drawing her in, the consquences could be dire!  But how to choose?  Should she stay on track and see her task through to the end and live among her fairy friends joyfully for centuries to come?  Or should she go after what she feels to be her one chance at happiness she's never had (nor desired!) before?  (Dum, dum, dum....)

If you've been reading my blog during its short life span thus far, you know how I feel about bad reviews.  (What?  You don't remember!  No problem, keep reading...)  My own personal motto on this is...

"Respect the effort, if not the result."


That being said, let me delve into the dark side of my review first so as to end on a happier note.  I am a fan of fairytales.  I love the magic, the fantasy, the love (okay, I'm even sounding sappy to myself as I type this, but I promise it gets better...)....the overall package.  You start out with an underestimated girl (or boy), add in seemingly insurmountable odds and obstacles Hercules himself would avoid, throw in a splash of magic and TADA!  A happy ending for one and all....or at least just desserts for those that caused trouble!  When I first came across this title and it's brief summary...I thought, why not?  A retelling of the Cinderella story we all know and love sounded like a perfect fit!  Well, the glass slipper was a bit big for me in this case.  (tehe, more shameless references...)  This story paints the Godmother, or rather the fairy with the potential to be her Godmother, as someone that miscontrues both her and Cinderella's hearts desires only to end up with a death on her hands.  That's right!  The classic story has been turned into a fantasy/murder/mystery combo with unforseen turns to boot!

The ending....well, it left me...confused.  (WARNING:  Potentially SPOILER-type Material!)  I mean I couldn't decide what it really meant.  Was Lil just a crazy little old lady trapped in the magic her head created and ultimately bringing herself to a watery doom?  Was she really a fairy at one time and now she is returning to them?  Or is it a combination of the two somewhere in the middle?  The add in of one very repetitive line in the book does not help the situation either: 
"What occurs in the world of faerie will become manifest in the world of men."
See what I mean?  (Okay, maybe not clearly if you haven't read the book, but pretend at this point of the review for my sake...)  I for one like my stories to end neatly...preferrably with a happy ending (what can I say...there's enough sadness and badness in the real world), but at least with something I can clearly decipher.  This one...not so much.

Whew!  That's out of my system...now on to the good parts!  Just because I don't LOVE a book, doesn't mean that there is not something good worth mentioning!  I loved the character she created in Veronica.  She was colorful, full of life, enthusiastic, and yet damaged...in short she was REAL.  Her vibrancy could be felt through the pages.  Also, the transitions between what we presume to be Lil's her past life as a faery and present day are obvious, but in a good way.  You don't make it half way through a paragraph and then realize it was a "memory" passage versus "her-life-now"...that's a good thing!  The bookstore backdrop was appropriate and appreciated by this blogger seeing as this is a sort of remake of a classic novel. 



In the end, while the story was well-intentioned and the pitfalls of bad decisions greater and darker than the cover or summary let on, this really wasn't the book for me....but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a go at it!  For those reading this that have read the book, I'd love to hear your take on it...for those that have not, feel free to comment on my review or others you may have read!

COMMENT CREATOR
There's been a lot of talk in the blog-o-sphere recently about fairytale remakes.....what is/was your favorite fairytale whether it be the book or movie version?  What makes that one stand out to you the most?

Feel free to leave your comments and feedback!
Until next time....happy reading!

13 comments:

Bella said...

I may have to check this out.

For modern fairy tales I quite like Princess series by Jim C Hines. The first one The Stepsister Scheme was quite good.

Petty Witter said...

What an excellent review, it sounds like a story of consequences as well as all the other things you mention.

Hook - the film adaptation of Peter Pan, starring Robin Williams must be one of my favourite remakes. I love how they keep talking about a man loosing his marbles, only to find out he literally lost his marbles as a small boy,I don't know why but I cry at this part everytime.

Jo said...

I want to read this book, I want to read this book! I don't know whether I'll enjoy it or not, but I am so intrigued! You've hinted, but I want to know what actually happens!

My favourite is The Little Mermaid - Disney and Hans Christian Anderson versions! I love the happy ending in the film, and the sacrifice for the other's happiness in Anderson's version! Both are just awesome!

Do you know about Fairy Tale Week? Thought you may be interested.

Juju from Tales of Whimsy said...

1. Great review.
2. This was the 1st book I reviewed for my book blog (http://www.talesofwhimsy.com/2009/06/godmother.html)
3. I was SO disappointed in this book. I felt like it had mega potential and cool writing but the ending sent me for a loop and lost me.
4. I think it meant that she was in the end just crazy.
Boooo!
5. Love the shoe pic! :)

GMR said...

Wow...feeling the love on this one! Thanks guys! Now to respond to each of you....

Bella: I don't beliveve I've heard of that particular series but I will add it to my list of things to check out. Thanks!

Petty Witter: I believe you are correct about the consquences theme...alas that doesn't really allow for happy endings. *SIGH* I too love that movie (HOOK)! The marbles thing is classic and it's hilarious when they are trying to teach him how to fly again...

Jo: Love the enthusiasm! Like I said, to each his/her own so by all means let me know what YOU think once you've read it! Also, The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite Disney films. Confession time, I DO sing along with the songs...they're infectious! I saw your post on Fairy Tale Week but didn't have a chance to review the latest info...will being doing now (thanks for the link!)

Juju: As always, I see you've left a thorough commentary. =0) Thank you for the kind words...I will be checking out your review of the book as well! Glad to hear I wasn't the only one that got lost in the ending...and BOO HISS to that meaning on the ending! I think I will delude myself and imagine she wasn't crazy.. =0) (Oh, and I HAD to include a Disney Cinderella picture....what can I say, I'm a Disney kid at heart!)

Bookfool said...

Great review! The ending ruined the book for me. I like the way you got the bad over with and emphasized the positive. It was a magical book until that ending. I got mine from Read it Forward, too, and then I couldn't figure out how to go about adding a review. Do you know what to do?

GMR said...

Bookfool: I was wondering when you might stop my (since you reviewed this title as well). Thanks for the kind words....I try not to butcher a title even if I don't particularly care for it. Someone else is bound to like it, right? Regarding adding a review, I looked at the paper that came with the book (yup, the pack rat still has it) and it doesn't say anything about having to, or requesting you to post one. There is no where on the pub site to add one either, so I think the main purpose is just to get reviews out there via blogs (and maybe twitter, Amazon, that sort of thing).

Bookfool said...

Haha! Pack rats unite! I kept that piece of paper, too. Since it didn't say much, I went to the site and noticed there are reviews but I couldn't figure out how to add one. So, I gave up. I try not to give scathing reviews, too, but without sacrificing honesty. I soooo loved this book till the end!!

Okay, so I'll just assume I've done my part by posting. Thanks for the help! :)

Pop Culture Nerd said...

Hi GMR,

Your site is as cute as pie (ha!).

I think my favorite fairytale is Beauty and the Beast because she isn't helpless or imprisoned by either circumstance (Cinderella), a literal prison (Rapunzel) or a sleeping curse (you know who). It's also her choice to love the beast; she wasn't just chosen by some prince.

The Disney movie was great, too. The upcoming live-action film with Vanessa Hudgens? Not so excited about that.

GMR said...

Bookfool: Happy to help!

Pop Culture Nerd: Thanks! I think it works. =0)
I LOVE Beauty and the Beast too! Pretty much for the same reasons....she's an understated beauty that loves to read and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in or those she loves. (all these comments with Disney movies is seriously making me want to get out my collection!) I didn't hear about the live action one with VH though...I liked HSM (guilty!) but I don't know about this being remade....

Pop Culture Nerd said...

I forgot to mention Belle's love of books, which makes her even more awesome!

The live-action version is called Beastly. I'm not an HSM hater (I'm glad it makes kids sing & dance) but I don't think VH is talented enough to portray our beloved Belle (named Linda in this movie).

Nymeth said...

I'm planing to read this soon, so I didn't read past the spoilers warning...I'll be back once I have, though! Looks like there's some nice discussion going on in the comments.

GMR said...

Pop Culture Nerd: Thanks for the tip! I'll look for the previews, but can't say whether it will make my must see list.

Nymeth: Good! I don't want to spoil the book for you....stop back and let me know what you think when you've finished! I'd be very interested to hear!

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