Shelleyrae at Book'd Out's Reviews > Some Kind of Fairy Tale

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce
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's review
Apr 06, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: arc-are
Read from July 08 to 09, 2012 — I own a copy

I was intrigued by the premise of Some Kind of Fairy Tale which seemed similar to that of Don't Breathe a Word, which I really enjoyed last year. When Tara disappeared it was assumed she had been abducted and murdered in the woods surrounding the village but twenty years later, on Christmas Day, a disheveled Tara, looking barely any older than when she left, knocks on the door of her childhood home. When pressed she claims that she was lured away by a man on a white horse, just six months ago and has been trapped in an otherworldly place, eager to return but forced to wait until the hinge of the day. Tara's parents accept her story afraid of driving her away again, but her brother, Peter, is infuriated by her whimsical explanation. Richie, Tara's childhood sweetheart who was briefly a suspect in her disappearance, is thrilled by her return, no matter where she has been. The psychiatrist she is forced to consult with believes Tara's story is simply an elaborate confabulation to obscure a horrible trauma. As the line between fantasy and fact begins to blur, who will you believe?

Some Kind of Fairy Tale started quite strongly, and I'm not entirely sure when my attention began to drift but I think it was before I reached the half way point. I was determined to keep reading though, certain that the story would pull me back but unfortunately that never really happened. The element of ambiguity that the entire novel relies on failed to provide the tension I hoped. The overlap between Tara's 'truth' and the more rational perspectives of her family and the psychiatrist, simply never blurred enough to provide the element of doubt. I needed to question Tara's story, without the space to do so the attempts of Peter and the psychiatrist to prove otherwise seemed crude.

Peter was probably the strongest character, his hurt and confusion at his sisters return and his desire for a rational explanation are realistic. I was disappointed we learn almost nothing of how Tara feels to be back amongst the world and reunited with her family. I never figured out the identity of the mysterious narrator, and that it was at least partially why I felt removed from the story.

Perhaps if I hadn't previously read a similar story to this I would have enjoyed Some Kind of Fairy Tale more. The structure is there, as is the concept and the writing is fine it just didn't find it gripping. Though for me Some Kind of Fairy Tale was a fairly ordinary read, others have found it impressive, you will have to make up your own mind.


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