The conceit is excellent – several Grimm’s fairy tales strung together as though they were one large, interconnected tale – but the execution seems so half-assed. And there are times when half an ass is precisely the right amount of ass but I would have liked a little more…can I say ‘ass’ again in a review about a book written for children? I would have liked more ass.
And Gidwitz has the right idea, because fairy tales have been bowlderized to their detriment, but he starts off all There will be blood and you’re like ok and he’s like No, really, there’s going to be a lot of blood and you’re like I’m chill with that and he’s like Can you handle the amount of blood that there will be? and you’re like Not if you don’t get to the blood. It’s like that time I read Denis Leary’s Why We Suck and he spent so long telling me he was going to piss me off that by the time he got around to pissing me off I was Le Tired. Also? There is not a terrible amount of blood.
And I have openly admitted to liking my fourth walls selectively permeable. But if you halt your story to be all, I bet you were wondering why this happened. But I, the storyteller, don’t know! Because it’s mysterious! Dude. Part of this is just me hating when people say ‘I bet you’re wondering’ or ‘in case you were wondering.’ Because on the one hand OF COURSE I’M WONDERING in a general sense, otherwise I wouldn’t be reading, but on the other hand I’m almost never wondering that specific thing, and when you point it out it only draws attention to how little I was wondering that. ALSO inherent in fairy tales is the suspension of wondering, to not be like, Why can that mirror talk? so that when YOU THE AUTHOR are like, Why did the finger open the lock when it was supposed to be a chicken bone and why a chicken bone in the first place WHO KNOWS HAHAHA you are piercing my fairy tale bubble and I do not appreciate it. Lighted matches can cause hallucinations and a saucy bean can laugh until he bursts and that is the nature of fairy tales. You may keep your whats and whys.
And I picked on Tender Morsels for being a little too Ye Olde Fairy Tale, language-wise, but at least it kept up the chatter. When you are inconstant with your Olde-Timey Speakke it makes it more grating. And I think ‘implore’ means ‘to beg’ and therefore cannot modify a statement, and Forgive Your Parents When They Do Bad Things is sort of a self-serving overall moral, and maybe I was supposed to be seven if I was going to read this?
Whatever. Four caterpillars.