Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After by Anne E. Beall released in 2018 in the Feminist, Fairy Tales, Literary Criticism genre.
Did Cinderella live happily ever after? You might think so until you look more closely at the hidden messages in beloved fairy tales. In this book, fairy tales are analyzed in terms of the underlying messages about marriage, agency, power, suffering, and good versus evil, with a focus on how male and female characters differ in each of these areas. The analysis is a data-driven approach that provides clear evidence for the hidden messages in these beloved tales. The end conclusion is not whether fairy tales are good or bad but rather what messages they deliver about life, even if unintentionally.
This book is not here to answer questions or give answers to issues we keeps dragging along. What it does, is give you a picture that is hiding in plain sight, helped by nostalgia for those stories our moms and grandma told us, and habit, and how we underplay the power of the stories we tell our children today.
And that makes this book very interesting and eyes opening.
It’s an analysis on a relatively small batch of fairy tales, but they are indeed the most lord and I found the choice reasonable.
The way it’s told is absolutely approachable, the topics in each chapter well divided and clear.
I do feel like pointing out that those fairy tales are the product of a very different time, and how we’re talking about them, scrutinize them, and look at their impact on our children reflect the shift in culture we’re living.
I also feel like we can take those stories we love (because we do), and turn them into something that speaks to our sons and daughters in a healthier way (Camila Cabelo’s Cinderella, I’m sooo looking at you right now! It is, to me, the best retelling up to now and it tweaked the right things to make it very modern and enjoyable. It also started a low-key convo about genre and identity with my then 7yo boy, thanks to the best Fairy Godmother ever.)
Last point, one that I feel Disney owned. I’m not going into the politics of Disney, just the movies, with my own little (so little) research and I like what I see because I think we’re on the right track.
Disney movie since 2018, the year the book I’m reviewing was published.
– Ralph Breaks The Internet (friendship, an odd coming of age, and not hiding our true self)
– Incredibles II (debatable. still relies heavily on the stereotype of a dad who’s clueless when it comes to his own kids and home, and on a mother ready to give up e everything for the children because of the aforementioned clueless dad. Good intentions, not very well executed.)
– Toy Story 4 (growing up and learning to let go)
– Frozen II (Christophe is the ultimate modern hero. Doesn’t try to take charge, doesn’t push, has the emotional maturity and self respect to just ask Ana “What do you need,” and he just did it. No questions, no trying to change what she needed. What do you need, and he did it. That’s it. It’s a lesson to us all.)
– Onward (Father figure and going of age).
– Soul (I don’t know, honestly, but there’s no princess, prince, or stepmother).
– Luca (self acceptance, friendship, tolerance for the different).
– Raya (Loved it, powerful female lead.)
– Encanto (absolutely loving it so hard. It’s not only about family, but also about how a broken heart can lock us into a prison, about the strength to look at who we are even if it may cost us all we have. And each and every song rocks. Louisa is all of us.)
We need to go back to 2010 to Tangled to find a more classic hero and a girl who needs saving and even here, Rapunzel has some agency and is not scared to fight back when confronted with the truth.
So, I’m sorry for this last digression. Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After might not be exactly shocking (we’re all siding with Triton because yeah, Ariel is 16 and running after a Prince she’s never talked to, and we all frown when confronted with Snow White’s clueless goodness and kind of want to teller to snap out of it), but having all the numbers together really makes you think a bit more about what story you’ll read tonight.
To me it’s a solid 4 stars.
Meet the Author:
A leader in the field of market research and one of the few female CEOs in the industry, Anne E. Beall is the author of 10 books in business, gender studies, and mindfulness, including Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales and The Psychology of Gender. Her book Heartfelt Connections was named one of the top 100 Notable Indie books in 2016 by Shelf Unbound, and she has published nearly a dozen business articles in noted journals. Her books have been featured in People Magazine, Toronto Sun, Hers Magazine, and Ms. Career Girl, and she has been interviewed by NBC, NPR, and WGN. Having received her PhD in social psychology from Yale University, Anne resides in Evanston, Illinois and is the founder of the market consultancy company Beall Research.
This post is part of a tour. you can find the schedule here: https://www.ireadbooktours.com/blog—current-tours/book-tour-cinderella-didnt-live-happily-ever-after-the-hidden-messages-in-fairy-tales-by-anne-e-beall
- a signed copy of CINDERELLA DIDN’T LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER (one winner/USA only)