This retelling of classic fairy tales introduces Charm, Snow, and Tiny, and tells of how each heroine triumphs because of the strength she finds in a pen, a paintbrush, a lover, a friend, a mother, and, finally, herself.This retelling of classic fairy tales introduces Charm, Snow, and Tiny, and tells of how each heroine triumphs because of the strength she finds in a pen, a paintbrush, a lover, a friend, a mother, and, finally, herself.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2001-07-16 Block (The Rose and the Beast) moves to a new level of complexity without sacrificing accessibility for this exquisitely wrought coming-of-age story. The subjects, settings and semi-magical tone will be familiar to Block's readers as Echo, an artistic L.A. teenager, overcomes various forms of rejection in her search for selfhood and true love. Echo lives among angels, false and true, mythic and real, among them Echo's mother, whom Echo thinks is perfect but who appears blind or impervious to her daughter's needs; a famous-artist father whose love for his wife seems to leave no room for Echo; girls Echo wishes she could be; and a nameless, wounded boy who saves Echo from drowning and whose memory sustains Echo as she meets men incapable of loving her. As in previous works, death hangs heavily over the heroine: parents die young, vampires prey on the innocent, children fight terrible disease. Block's structure and imagery, however, manifest a new sophistication and subtlety, as passages and metaphors "echo" one another throughout. She delicately shifts the narrative to show different partners (the heroine's grandparents; the lovers of Echo's friends; a sibling pair) facing similar conflicts, but she quietly varies the individuals' responses. Lyrical passages, such as Echo's descriptions of her mother's extraordinary beauty ("She is like the da Vinci Madonna with a crescent moon hung on her mouth") ripple beneath Echo's life-and-death struggles. This begs not just to be read, but to be reread, and savored. All ages. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-10-02 Block's (Weetzie Bat) contemporary novels have invariably borrowed elements from classic fairy tales; this time, the author pulls a switch. Setting out to revisit nine fairy tales, she fills her stories with gritty, even headline-grabbing issues. "Charm," for example, features a Sleeping Beauty who embraces the needleDbecause it delivers heroin. In "Bones," a serial killer who names himself Bluebeard is an L.A. hotshot; he throws huge parties and from among the guests selects his victims, rootless girls whose disappearance will attract no attention. One or two stories strain for effect ("Glass," loosely related to Cinderella, tends to belabor the storytelling prowess of its protagonist, whose glass shoes are "made from your words, the stories you have told like a blower with her torch forming the thinnest, most translucent sheets of light out of what was once sand"). But even these entries wield power, and the collection as a whole is close to intoxicating. Rendered in Block's inimitably lush prose, these works are heady, like the thick fragrance of the redolent gardens and perfect roses that figure here. The darkness of these conflicts and subjects proves the strength of the magic she describes: the transfiguring power of love. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-07-30 In a starred review, PW wrote, "Block sets out to revisit nine fairy tales, filling her stories with gritty, even headline-grabbing issues. The darkness of these conflicts and subjects proves the strength of the magic she describes: the transfiguring power of love." Ages 12-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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