Last night, put in the right mood by Carter, I picked up Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm, a book that also looks at the Grimms through a glass darkly. But this book is meant for young people. And they should beware. Entering this book leaves dark trails on your thoughts. The seeds of the stories sprouted in the shadowy corners of my room late last night, making the old piece of driftwood hanging on my wall look rather like an old crone's claw (yikes).
Like the film Mama currently in theaters, this book centers on two small children who find themselves lost in the Schwartzwald (riffing on the plot of "Hansel and Gretel"; by the by, Guillermo del Toro, of Pan's Labyrinth fame, was executive producer on Mama, suggesting that the film will be rife with the aesthetic of dark fairy-tale revision). The revisions of the tales from the children's perspective are utterly unsettling. In the revision of "Hansel and Gretel" itself, for example, the "witch" is not a witch at all, but an old baker woman who has developed a taste for children's flesh after accidentally "tasting" her offspring during that age-old mommy game of "you are soooo cute, I could eat you right up" (num ... num ... num). Ewwww...
I highly recommend this book if you are a twisted reader like myself, if you enjoy someone taking something you love dearly, tearing it to shreds, and making a crazy-quilt of a book out of what's leftover. Gidwitz nails the tone that makes the tales of the Grimms and Perrault so appealing in the first place. His book is darkly poetic, provocative, and true. To put it in Gidwitz's words, "In the darkest zones, one finds the brightest beauty, the most luminous wisdom... And the most blood." Until tomorrow. ~Alice