I have to admit, I started reading this book with really high expectations, as several people recommended it, and I love retellings, and in the end, I was really disappointed. I don’t like it when I don’t like books, but really, I couldn’t help it this time. I struggled a lot, and in the end, gave up on finishing some of the short stories because I didn’t care. Okay, I feel really bad for not liking this book. But I can’t lie to myself.
Genre: Adult Fiction, Short Stories, Retellings
What is it about:
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories is a series of short stories by Angela Carter which was originally published in 1979. The first tale, the one which gave its title to the collection, is a retelling of Blue Beard, and it’s followed by two retellings of Beauty and the Beast. The collection also contains a retelling of Puss-in-Boots, one of Snow White, two of the Little Red Riding Hood, as well as vampire and werewolf stories.
Carter took a new twist on the stories of our childhood, and turned them into dark and sensual tales. She made them more modern, and more mature, and also made the leading ladies more powerful and important.
That sounded good, right? I don’t know why, but it didn’t work on me…
Maybe it just wasn’t the right time for me, but this book didn’t work on me. It’s not the fact that I’m not a fan of short stories – I’m actually liking them more and more – or the fact that these are not the stories I remember, because I know what a retelling can do. I liked the idea of this book, and the first stories were actually okay, but the more I read, the more I just wanted to discard the book and not finish it. I have to admit I just read the last pages diagonally. And I don’t even regret it. Maybe I will come back to it, but for now it is a huge disappointment. (Sorry book, I hate saying this. But really. Yes, I know, I have a problem.)
The first story was good. It was dark, but that really fits the original story. Yes, it was disturbing, but Blue Beard is really a horrible tale, and this retelling was really well-done. I found it a bit draggy (and predictable) but overall, I enjoyed it.
The retellings of Beauty and the Beast were interesting, I especially liked The Courtship of Mr Lyon, however in both tales, I didn’t really like the leading ladies. But let’s say that so far, I enjoyed the book.
My favourite was, I think, the retelling of Puss-in-Boots. Even if it had a cruel side to it, I really liked how it was narrated, and found it rather funny (though again, it was predictable, but we know the outcome of those fairytales so that doesn’t really matter).
But then, the retellings of Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood were plain disturbing, and I didn’t really care about the rest, the stories didn’t grab my attention, or interest me.
Maybe this book was not made for me, and maybe I just didn’t enjoy it because I found it too dark, I don’t know. If you have read it and enjoyed it, please tell me why because it really pains me! I’m not usually this disappointed when I read a book… Well, maybe the problem is that my expectations were to high actually.
Retellings lovers who like stories with a dark side!