Saturday, October 3, 2015

Good Things Come in Sevens: A Book Review

Seven Tales by G.C. McRae

My days are pretty much spoken for, what with an autistic four-year-old and an eight-month-old baby.  So it couldn't be a better time for a collection of short and enjoyable reads, to snatch up whenever I am able to collect a handful of minutes; thankfully, G.C. McRae kindly delivered!

You may have already read one or two of his tales, such as "The Sneaking Girl and the Other Queen," "The Dollmaker's Daughter," or "The Wishing Oak."  Now these original fairy tales are published with others in a collection titled Seven Tales.  (A simple title yet significant, like a pair of shoes or a ball of thread in a folk tale!)

Just when we'd imagined all possible fairy tales discovered, a brand new bunch proves their timelessness and immortality.  First, a discovery of tales a hundred years old, only recently released to the public; and now the charming collection by G.C. McRae, which remain true to fairy tale form but from the mind of a single author.

The most noteworthy impression left on reading Seven Tales is that I didn't notice they were making an impression!  It was all too easy to sink into them, following the intricate threads and the arrivals of characters old as time and common as rocks, but who spring out unexpected and un-called for, as true fairy tale people tend to do.

My favorite tale is "The Seven Sisters," in which seven princesses each pretend to be the same person in order to placate a queen who hates children, which keeps you guessing 'til the end and is pure entertainment.

These tales are also refreshingly devoid of deconstruction and schools of criticism.  And while I know we fairy tale scholars like to go on about our theories and models, all our chatter would be for naught if the normal people hadn't (blessedly!) ignored us and just told their good tales, as McRae has done.

I read these stories out loud to my children.  It seemed only appropriate.

Seven Tales is published by Ingram and will be available from all major booksellers on October 7th.


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