The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg

Who doesn’t love fairy tales or things that remind us of our childhoods & a way better time than what’s currently going on? I know I do. Nostalgia is a beast that can rear its head when you need it most and it can be a strange wave of emotion if it isn’t checked. I picked this book up on a whim because I was nostalgic for a children’s lit class I took in college and I was itching to read new takes on famous fairy tales. Because if you’ve read the original fairy tales, you know they’re anything but happy.

So when I picked this up, I was stoked for a take on fairy tales like Beauty & The Beast, The Little Mermaid, and more that were reminiscent of their original forms but in a dark, twisted way. Unfortunately, this collection of tales and short stories didn’t live up to the hype. Stoked I got a copy in paperback and maybe I’ll regift it to someone in the future.

But what I did appreciate about this book is that it wasn’t gross or overly terrifying — the remakes of famous fairy tales were all potential outcomes that didn’t seem overtly fanciful or ridiculous. Ortberg is a ridiculously talented writer and she pulls you in. I just don’t think I was as pulled in as some other readers have been. Plus, there are chapters in this book that are a collaboration of several fairy tales, which is definitely pretty nifty.

I’d honestly just borrow this book from the library or from a friend but I’ll have to check out some of Ortberg’s other work as well. Maybe this is a one-off that isn’t reminiscent of all her talent.


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