Peggy Orenstein's to start with. But Cinderella has consumed countless little girls, and she has not yet had her fil...moreWhose daughter did Cinderella eat?
Peggy Orenstein's to start with. But Cinderella has consumed countless little girls, and she has not yet had her fill.
And that's not only speaking of the Grimm Brothers version of "Cinderella".
Though readers know there are far grimmer versions (certainly gorier, with stepsisters lopping off body parts to try to fit oversized feet into pretty slippers).
But then there is the Disney version, which spawned an era of princess-fication heretofore unseen.
And not just a particular princess, not only Cinderella, but the idea of princess-ness.
The Disney Princesses.
The DPs came into being in 2000, thanks to Andy Mooney, who was brought into Disney to rescue its ailing consumer products division.
He had attended a "Disney on Ice" show, shortly after his hiring, and found himself surrounded by little girls in homemade princess costumes.
"How had such a massive branding opportunity been overlooked?"
Well, lots of reasons, as it turned out. Not the least of which was that Roy Disney "considered it heresy to lump together those [characters] from different stories".
Did you know that?
"That is why, these days, when the ladies appear on the same item, they never make eye contact. Each stares off in a slightly different direction, as if unaware of the others' presence. Now that I have told you, you'll always notice it. And let me tell you, it's freaky."
This is just the kind of thing that Peggy Orenstein does.
She mentions something, which isn't that creepy in and of itself, but in the wider context it's very creepy, and, now that you're aware of it, you are struck speechless.
And not only by the creepy-ness, but by the fact that you hadn't noticed it before. That's the creepy-est part, really.
(I've got a lot more to say about this one, and I even snapped some pictures too: such an inspiring read. If you're keen, read more here.)(less)
It is a basic human need. “Our need to know where we come from, to connect it to who we are and where we’re going.”
Ruth becomes aware of this need, fi...moreIt is a basic human need. “Our need to know where we come from, to connect it to who we are and where we’re going.”
Ruth becomes aware of this need, first, when she is six years old, but that is just the beginning.
It is not, however, the beginning of The Imposter Bride; Nancy Richler's novel begins with Ruth's mother.
Readers are introduced to Ruth's mother on the novel's first page, but years before she gives birth to Ruth. Readers meet her as a young woman who has travelled to Montreal in 1947 to marry a man who is meeting her at the train station.
Her arrival, however, precipitates a change of heart; Sol no longer wants to marry her. (This is not a spoiler, really, as readers learn of these events on the novel's first two pages.)
And so begins the series of insinuations as people slip into and out of each other's lives, inviting intimacies and then denying them.
"What man would insinuate himself into a woman’s private moment, as he just had, practically depositing himself onto her lap? The same man, she supposed, who would invite a woman to cross two oceans to marry him and then leave her at the station because she didn’t suit his mood on the day of her arrival."
So the book does begin with Ruth's mother arriving in Montreal, but the story does not begin there.
One could say that Ruth's story begins there (because Sol refuses the marriage and his brother, Nathan, offers marriage instead, and that's how Nathan becomes Ruth's father) but Ruth's story spirals around her mother's past.
"But now, at this moment, as she felt the reassuring weight of the new journal in her hand, a weight that gave substance to what she had dreamed and imagined, she felt she had arrived at the beginning."
Except that this beginning for Ruth's mother? It's from closer to the middle of the novel, which alternates between chapters told from each perspective, mother and daughter.
Ruth's mother has felt as though she arrived at the beginning on so many occasions. She no longer knows where she begins.
And readers know from the moment they pick up the novel that the bride is an imposter. Its author, however, is the real deal.
Nancy Richler spins a complicated and rewarding story. The Imposter Bride is the answer Ruth seeks or, more accurately, it is the process by which Ruth seeks to satisfy that basic human need to know where she came from, to connect it with who she is and where she is going.
"I sat for a long while with my fingertips resting on the first page of my mother’s notebook, and there was definitely a pulsing coming from it. "
The pulse that Nancy Richler's novel emits is a powerful one; it reads easily (like Ami McKay's The Birth House, Lilian Nattal's The River Midnight, Donna Morrissey's Kit's Law) but the story settles heavily in the reader's heart.
Kalila is tightly drawn. The prose is exact. The chapters are often only two pages long, never lengthy. The point-of-view shifts, offering multiple pe...moreKalila is tightly drawn. The prose is exact. The chapters are often only two pages long, never lengthy. The point-of-view shifts, offering multiple perspectives from which the reader can assemble their own experience of the events. It is vivid and bold, but not distanced. It is heartful, but not indulgently sentimental. Rosemary Nixon has produced a fine work of fiction.