A Tale Dark and Grimm (A Tale Dark and Grimm#1) - Adam Gidwitz Appeal Characteristics: violence, fractured fairy tales, adventure, sibling relationships, parental relationships, magic, wisdom & life themes

I heard mixed reviews about this particular book. I felt I should give it a try because a) i love fairy tales b) i love snark. I know it isn’t for everyone, but I love the fact that you can almost gloss over or tame the violence by delivering of snark. Now, I know I might receive flames, but I feel I can justify this book by the fact that when I read this I look at it as an element outside loco parentis.

Ugh, I hate even saying this but the famous “when I was a kid” (I can say that because it wasn’t super long ago) I was reading Harlequin prints, Sandra Brown & many other romance authors...before I even knew exactly what the characters were doing. That was back when they were written as PG-13. You remember in the old movie scene when the screen would go black? Yeah, my mind would go black too...and I knew the characters were doing something more, but a) i could care less b)the kissing was just fine--- yet I couldn’t get enough of the books because a) I loved the characters b)all the fluff. Oh yeah, that was when I was in 5th grade and would hide them under my bed because I knew I would be in trouble if my parents found out. I had friend who would equally explore territories that their parents wouldn’t have appreciated either. I had a friend who thought R.L. Stine & Cormier were too childish, so he started reading Stephen King & H.P. Lovecraft long before we were in high school. Am I a crazed sex fiend and my friend a crazed psycho? NO! so don’t flame me yet... cuz I’m not done. What I’m trying to allude to is that these books are for specific kids. NO, not every kid needs to read these---I would’ve gone running to the hills or hated reading if I had picked up this book as a young kid. Yet there are very specifics kids I know would get a kick out of this book.

I’m not going to go through a history or research with results and lesson of violence and kids. I will mention that there are a lot of kids who play video games that aren’t rated E for everyone, go to R-rated movies (I literally had a kid and his mom a few rows down from at a Django showing) and have babysat kids who had access to premium channels (which they watched regularly) that aren’t parental blocked (and was in so much shock as they related to what shows they watch). We could go into how children back in the past use to attend public executions, see wars in their back yard, see death on a much more regular basis, and have their childhood innocence taken at an early age. I read a few articles about why Grimm fairy tales were told... and concluded that maybe the parents wanted their children to get use to not living “on a bed of roses” and this is not again to excuse or condone malicious acts of violence...but violence has always been with us in human nature. With all that being said, if you like all versions (or are open to trying) all versions of Grimm, like a side of snark, with an extra helping of themes from “is the grass really greener on the other side” or “families are like fudge...sweet with a few nuts” than you’ll like this book.

Now on to my literary criticisms of this book.... the choppy-ness I felt. I know he was trying to spin them as tales, but I just wished the book flowed better. I felt it was too cut and paste and not enough smooth sailing. I liked the pacing, but I just felt that if he was going to tell one tale as many different tales or include characters in many different folklore stories there has to be a better way to do it. Other than that, the pacing and tone where fine. I think the character development was right for the age he intended...if he did intend an age...:)

Red Flags: violence, horror, grimm :)