Karen's Reviews > Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge
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's review
Jul 28, 2012

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bookshelves: 2012, 2012-ya, fairytale-inspired, horror, poetry, young-adult, ya-etry, ya-poetry

Macabre -- that in all its permutations is the best word to describe both the fairy tale based poems and the art that accompanies them in this slim volume. Koertge basically took the original tales and both updated them and chose to dwell on their most unsavory aspects-- the eyes plucked out of the stepsisters eyes in Cinderella; the masochistic attraction part of Red Riding Hood's relationship to the Wolf and the bride's to Bluebeard. And even though the scissor cut art is done in black and white, it conveys the gruesomeness of hacked off body parts and violent abandon. Despite having an overarching outlook though, the poetic renditions seem uneven. I loved "The Ugly Duckling" because it perfectly captured the feeling of a picked on teen - it truly updated the story ("Just over his pulse/is a fresh tattoo - a dotted line and the words/----------Cut Here -------------). But ones like "The Ogre Queen" weren't as successful - only alluding to the present in a line or two that strained for freshness and didn't take the time to elaborate (ogre as DC consultant to the Pentagon). Still it's a good addition to the reworked Grimm-and-more genre.
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