My love of literature originates probably with my mother, who read stories like the Famous Five to me every Sunday morning as I was growing up. I was late to reading, only learning how when I was six or seven. This was only because I couldn’t see the point in learning as others would read to me, and the assistant teacher at the time never seemed to like me much. When I eventually figured out that learning to read meant I could take stories with me (with or without my mum) it took me very little time to pick it up.
A lifetime of stories being in my blood means I have a lot of very intense feelings about literature. Fairy tales in particular have always spoken to me, and as such I have read countless reiterations of the classic tales (I’ve also seen a lot of Disney movies). Angela Carter’s compilation of stories from around the globe is therefore not new to me, but that does not stop it from being incredibly delightful.
My copy of ‘Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales’ is beautifully bound and illustrated, and was gifted to me by a relative at Christmas. I saved it up to read during the summer holiday while in Tenerife. I wasn’t entirely aware of the nature of some of the stories, and as such nearly spilt my drink when reading the Innuit tale of Sermerssuaq, which is the first story to feature in the book. As with all fairy tales, the majority of these stories have clear messages and fairly simple structures, but are written in a way as close to the original as Mrs Carter could make them. Her Introduction is elegantly put, and that in turn speaks for the rest of the compilation. Despite often bawdy plots with violent natures, the whole book feels elegant somehow, like one should read it while sipping wine and referring to oneself as ‘one’.
Overall, I was delighted with this gift, and look forward to rereading this over and over. I especially look forward to taking it into my creative writing class to look at with L&A!
Overall Rating: PoA. (7/7)
Rating scheme as follows:
7/7 – PoA 3/7 – HBP
6/7 – OotP 2/7 – GoF
5/7 – PS 1/7 – CoS
4/7 – DH (all are worthy of at least 1/7)