Author: Michelle Davidson Argyle
Pub. Date: June 23, 2010
Format: Paperback, 182 pages
Cinderella's happily-ever-after isn't turning out the way she expected.
With her fairy godmother imprisoned in the castle and a mysterious stranger haunting her dreams, Cinderella is on her own to discover true love untainted by magic.
What I Thought:
In a world where Disney has turned princesses into beautiful young women, striving to find their prince while singing to animals, Michelle Davidson Argyle's novella is refreshing. Argyle's protagonist is Cinderella, but not Disney's version.
Last semester I took a class on folklore, and we spent half the semester covering the Cinderella fairy tale (which is 510A in the Aarne-Thompson fairy tale index, in case you were wondering. I know you were.), so I thought I was burnt out on all things Cinderella. Until I saw this book. A friend read it and let me borrow it (That would be Amanda. You can find her review here.), and I LOVED the idea.
Cinders is all about how Cinderella's dream-come-true has gone all kinds of wrong. Argyle takes the tale and turns it on its head. She gives you more Cinderella. You see her thoughts, dreams, and worries as she confronts the idea that what she wished for may not be what she wants. She expands the fairy tale and gives you characters with names and personalities, instead of epithets and stereotypes. One of my favorite things about the book is that Cinderella is not her real name. It's a nickname that she prefers because she loves the way it makes her feel.
Another great thing about Cinders is all the elements from the fairy tale that come up in the story. For example, Cinderella's shoes are FUR, not glass. (If you're confused by this, go here and read footnote 40.) Another element that worked wonderfully: MAGIC. Argyle's take on magic is not that it's a cure-all for every little problem. It's a powerful element that has consequences. Magic serves as a way for Cinderella to make choices and live life.
Cinders, at 182 pages, is a novella. Not many novellas get published these days because most of them just don't work. Cinders works as a novella. I didn't find it to be too short or too vague. Argyle has all the details and plot necessary to make a wonderful story.
The only thing I didn't care too much for was the ending, but that was just a personal preference. I get disappointed every time endings don't go the way I wanted them to. HOWEVER, I understand why the ending is the way it is. It's necessary, and it's true to the way fairy tales used to be written.
All in all, I loved Cinders. It broke my heart, but in a good way.
You can visit Michelle Davidson Arygle's website here, and you can purchase Cinders from Amazon (in paperback and Kindle edition) and from Barnes and Noble.