"Rosamond was truly a beautiful, golden-haired girl, locked in the room by her stepmother for singing, and still singing on, because it passe2.5 stars
"Rosamond was truly a beautiful, golden-haired girl, locked in the room by her stepmother for singing, and still singing on, because it passed the time away better than anything else."
Eudora Welty’s first novel is an adaptation of a Brothers Grimm fairytale by the same name. If you pick this one up, you’ll quickly recognize additional elements from a number of other traditional fairytales. Welty’s version takes place in eighteenth century Natchez, Mississippi. You might even catch sight of some legendary figures if you are at all familiar with any of the regional folk tales from this era.
"Then, sailing his cap in the air, he gave a whistle and a shake and declared that he was none other than Mike Fink, champion of all the flatboat bullies on the Mississippi River, and was ready for anything."
What can I say about this little book… I suppose ‘meh’ would not be sufficient because that would not be fair to those future readers that may actually feel greater enthusiasm for this one. Fantasy, magical realism, fairytales/retellings – not my usual fare, but by no means do I steer away from them at all costs. In fact, I’ve found some real treasures in these genres. What I’ve come to realize, however, is that I can more easily suspend disbelief if I am drawn into the story by a compelling plot, skillful character development, and superb prose. This one didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I would have to say that the writing was quite good… strikingly descriptive and sometimes humorous. Neither the plot nor the characters ever fully grabbed my attention, however. An odious stepmother, a throng of malicious bandits, an upright and loving father, a beautiful heroine and a charismatic and mysterious hero might appeal to some, but I was mostly drawn to the strange familiar to the stepmother, aptly named ‘Goat’ (you’ll see why if you read the story.)
"Goat… came out through a hole in the door with his hair all matted up and the color of carrots, and his two eyes so crossed they looked like one. He smiled and he had every other tooth, but that was all. He stood there with his two big toes sticking up."
A message of good versus evil but with that gray area between both is quite evident as a take-away message, at least in my opinion. There is also the case of mistaken identities – can we always take a person at face value or is there more below the surface of that outer shell?
If you’re interested in fairytale retellings, then you very well may enjoy The Robber Bridegroom. Others have liked this far more. Not a bedtime story for your little princesses at home though – this one is much too violent and borderline disturbing for that! I have read some of Welty’s other work, and I’m about 50/50 right now. I’ll read a little more and see where I land. 2.5 stars for this one.
"For all things are double, and this should keep us from taking liberties with the outside world, and acting too quickly to finish things off. All things are divided in half – night and day, the soul and body, and sorrow and joy and youth and age…"...more