I picked up Sarah Beth Durst’s debut novel a few days ago at Barnes and Noble. I will be perfectly honest and admit that I am a covergirl- any book with an interesting cover usually ends up in my shopping bag. Durst’s cover is gorgeous! I love the pinks, purples, and silvers. I also love the silhouettes of the main characters on the front. Plus, if you slide the cover off, the actual book is purple! How cool is that?
On to the book. I loved it! I will admit that I was hesitant at first. I like fairy tale retellings but they can get redundant. I was afraid that “Into the Wild” would suffer this same fate. Boy, was I wrong! Julie is your average 12-year old girl. She is annoyed/embarassed by her mom, wants to be accepted at school, and more than anything she wants to be normal. Sounds like most of my 6th grade students. Julie’s problem is that her mother is Rapunzel. Yup, that Rapunzel. See, it turns out Julie’s mom helped the fairy tale characters we all know and love escape from the Wild, or fairy tale world. It turns out, “happily ever after” is not all it’s cracked up to be. Now, Julie has the Wild living under her bed. That is, until it manages to escape because someone makes a wish at the wishing well. Suddenly, the Wild has taken over and everyone is sucked into its tales.
What an interesting and novel way of looking at fairy tales! I actually put the book down and pondered the idea that we take “happily ever after” for granted. The fairy tale characters are doomed to repeat their stories over and over again. Happily ever after just means they go back to the beginning and start again. Stories never end. Ok, fine if you are a hero or heroine. Not so fine if you are a victim in the story!
I really enjoyed this book and I can see the girls in my class passing it around come September. It’s modern, it’s hip, and it’s nostalgic. Who hasn’t wanted to be the princess in a fairy tale? Who hasn’t wanted their own Prince Charming? Sarah Beth Durst shows us the other side of the fairy tale coin. I look forward to any more works from her!