I was originally was going to give this a 3 because it is uneven strange, and sometimes surprisingly amoral, but then i realized how much I acutally h...moreI was originally was going to give this a 3 because it is uneven strange, and sometimes surprisingly amoral, but then i realized how much I acutally had to say about it, and just how much I enjoyed reading these goofy stories. So bear with me while i recount some of the best and worst stories and some of the strange themes of grimm's fairy tales. (I have to admit, I write these reviews almost entirely for myself)
Some themes/things you should know: -If you are an evil stepmother or witch, and you are looking for a brother and sister or pair of lovers, they've probably turned themselves into a duck and a lake, respectively. -people or animals geting released from wolf's stomaches and then placing stones in their place. -if you kill a dragon, giant or other fearsome creature, always cut out the tongue and hang onto in case you are betrayed by someone who claims to have killed the beast himself (when confronted, the deceiver will always claim that the beast had no tongue, but no one will believe him) -if you rescue someone (a fair maden, of course) from the bottom of the well while your companions are above ground, always put something else in the basket to replace your weight, because they will drop you and try to kill you. -Never bet against: -A tailor -Anyone named Dummling, or Thumbling -The youngest of 3 brothers -Anyone that can talk to, or is kind to animals, or who is kind to old women -basically anyone young, pretty, and poor. -Always bet against: -ugly people
Best stories. Two Brothers-two brothers wander the world with a shitload of animals at their beck and call, so many in fact, that they decide to split up. they stab some knife or something into a tree that they can look at to see if the other is ok. One becomes a king (after killing a dragon), the other wanders the world. the king goes hunting, gets turned into stone by a witch. the other brother her saves him. lots of other things happen. it's one of the longest and strangest stories and it's just great. Rumpelstiltskin-One of the classics that the one I knew was actually very similar to the original. NOthing quite as funny as how upset the little guy gets when she figures out his name. Brother Lustig-Another long and weird story, this is different in that Brother Lustig first appears to be a good guy, then he is kind of a jerk, but he sort of gets picked on by a priest and then he tricks his way into heaven. it's weird. The Man of Iron-Robert Bly wrote a whole book on manliness based upon this fairy tale, and I can see why. It just a really good story, and very rich with male stereotypes. Not that stereotypes are necessarily good, but it just really well written and interesting. The Straw, The Coal and The Bean-my favorite. So funny. Contains this passage, as the coal tries to cross the river by walking on the straw: "The straw, however, beginning to burn, and the Coal slipping after, hissed as it reached the water, and gave up the ghost. The Bean, which had prudently remaned up the shore, was forced to laugh at this accident, and the joke being so good, it laughed so immoderately that it burst itself." Fortunately a wandering tailor is able to stitch the bean back up.
3 disturbing stories: The Frog Prince: Did you know that in the original, the frog is turned into a prince after being thrown against the wall?! She gets pissed at him because she is supposed to be his companion (because he retrieved her ball), but then he turns into a prince and they marry. what kind of lesson does that teach?? Actually the story is really more about the last paragraph, about the prince's loyal servant, Henry, who had tied bands around his heart which broke of happiness upont the prince's return. Cinderella: one stepsisters tries to get into the shoe by cutting off a toe, the other by cutting off a heel. Their punishment for failure? They get their eyes pecked out by birds. The Poor Boy in his Grave An orphaned boy is adopted by a cruel farmer and wife. The farmer beats for his honest or endearing mistakes, like eating a bundle of grapes because he was a hungry. While baling hay while they are out, his sweater gets caught in the hay. Knowing he will be beaten, his despair leads him to drink what the the farmer's wife said was poison, but is actually honey. At this point you still think things are going to end up well. And it's kind of funny, he says "I thought death would be bitter, but it is so sweet!" He then moves onto to the fly-poison, about which he was also lied to, because it turns out to be wine. Still funny. But then his drukeness makes him feel a bit woozy, so he thinks he might be dying so, he goes and lays in an open grave, and the cold and the wine kill him! He lays in the grave forever. The farmer's house burns down later on and he and his wife live in poverty and misery, but come on!!
That's all. See, I told you I had a lot to say.(less)
Anyone who is interested in education, social justice or racial issues in anyway should read this book. It is fantastic. I totally agreed with its exp...moreAnyone who is interested in education, social justice or racial issues in anyway should read this book. It is fantastic. I totally agreed with its explanations of the motivations of inner-city adolescents. Thos book has a lot of heart and a powerful message that I've found is too often overlooked in schools: students need to treated with respect and humanity, so that they can maintain their integrity while also getting an education.(less)
At first glance, it seems the title is wrong, and that it should read "One sin: adultery" because it shows up almost every other story. But what makes...moreAt first glance, it seems the title is wrong, and that it should read "One sin: adultery" because it shows up almost every other story. But what makes this book so good is that it is really about the many ways people deceive themselves and how it effects their romantic relationships. Ford creates his characters beautifully, it is haunting to notice similarities between yourself and the down-and-out characters. Read a romance novel or childrens book after this one.(less)
Apparently you either love this book or hate it. (I perused the goodreads reviews, because I want to read everything everyone thinks about this book)...moreApparently you either love this book or hate it. (I perused the goodreads reviews, because I want to read everything everyone thinks about this book) Which, considering that clocks in at 1088 pgs, 100 of which are tiny footnotes, probably isn't too surprising. If you finished it, you probably loved it, or you have to profess that you like so that you don't feel like you just wasted several months of your time. Which leads to why people hate it. I will now speculate the reason why people might hate it: They read all these people profess how much they loved it (whether they really did or were just saying they did as allegiance to that aforementioned large chunk of time), and they started to read it, and they didn't like it (for reason soon to be discussed), but they kept trying because it's 1000pgs, so maybe it changes, or something unexpected happens and then they'll start liking it. And so they slog (and if you don't appreciate his use of language, I would imagine "slog" would be the right verb. You can't skim or read this very quickly) through 50 or 200 or, if they are very persistent and bullheaded (e.g. me reading Brothers Karamazov), they read the whole damn thing, hating it the whole time and anger gradually increasing. So here is my first thought: I wouldn't give it more than 200 pgs or so. Let's say this: if you've started to get to know the recovering addicts at Ennet House and are still hating it: stop. Not much about his style will change, you will meet many more characters, but no one major (though you'll just barely be getting to know Don Gately--who is amazing) and the there won't be some big reveal in the last 20 pages to make you suddenly feel like you get it.
I had thought the goal of my writing this review would be to help me collect my thoughts about the book, to wrestle all the pages into a sort of understanding that I've now gained. But it seems more like I'm trying to convert you: I want you to read this book, because I love it, and want to read it again, but maybe if you read it than we could talk about it So why do I love it? I'll just share a select few passages with you: "She needed somebody chivalrous to pick her up and carry her and lay her back down 24/7/365, it seemed like. She was a sort of sexual papoose."
"His was the creepy businesslike face of someone carefully picking up glass in the road after an accident in which his decapitated wife's been impaled on the steering wheel."
"It now lately sometimes seemed like a kind of black miracle to me that people could actually care deeply about a subject or pursuit, and could go on caring this way for years on end. Could dedicate their lives to it. It seemed admirable and at the same time pathetic. We are dying to give our lives away or something, maybe. God or Satan, politics or grammar, topology or philately--the object seemed incidental to this will to give one-self away, utterly. To games or needles, to some other person.Something pathetic about it. A flight-from in the form of a plunging-into. Flight from exactly what? These rooms blandly filled with excrement and meat? To what purpose? This was why they started us here so young: to give ourselves away before the age when the questions why and to what grow real beaks and claws. It was kind, in a way."
This book is about how to live in the United States without going crazy. About what happiness could possibly be. It does so in language that is shockingly, beautifully precise. The characters are endearing, funny and sad. It makes me think about what I do with me life and why, but it doesn't depress me, it reminds me that we have so much in common. It has wheelchair assassins and undercover agents in terrible drag discussing the philosophy of entertainment, reflects on humanity's true nature via a story about a head trainer who takes his soon-to-be-a-priest brother's dare to be homeless and ask people to simply touch him, it makes me see some beauty in tennis and it has a hulking recovering drug-addict former convict painted as a paragon of modern masculinity (albeit, still a struggling, fumbling masculinity). It makes most books I have read seem like light blips. I might have to revise this review, because I'm not yet doing it justice.(less)
A very strange, funny, and enjoyable book. As inconsistent as Grimm's fairy tales, but in a very different ways. In fact it he writes a fairy tale in...moreA very strange, funny, and enjoyable book. As inconsistent as Grimm's fairy tales, but in a very different ways. In fact it he writes a fairy tale in which i man is visited by a magician who will grant him three wishes, but instead the man runs away and cries. Then the final line, "Reader! Think this fable over and it will make you somewhat uncomfortable." Kharms is classified as an absurdist and he certainly is at times. This can be fun, jolting, or boring and annoying. This book is filled with enough wonderful one-liners (some of the 'stories' are in fact one-liners) that it is worth it. A few for posterity: You should quit smoking in order to boast of your will power. Bubnov did not love his new wife. Whnever she left the house, Bubnov would buy himself a new hat and spent his time exchanging greetings with his neighbor, Anna Moseyevna. But once one of Anna Moiseyevna's teeth broke and she opened her mouth real wide in pain. Bubnov began to ponder deeply his biography. "You see," I said, "in my opinion, there are no believers or non-believers. There are only those who want to believe and those that do not want to believe." (Finally, a full story for you) The Meeting
Now, one day a man went to work and on the way he met another man, who, having bought a loaf of Polish bread, was heading back home where he came from. And that's it, more or less.
i read this in 11th grade and it captured my young idealistic mind. "Life runs on contradictions." or truth is. or whatever. I loved the style, and El...morei read this in 11th grade and it captured my young idealistic mind. "Life runs on contradictions." or truth is. or whatever. I loved the style, and Ellison's character is simply one of the most engaging, challenging and thoughtful characters in literature. I need to re-read this one.(less)