Dismantling Cinderella


Poetry - General
58 Pages
Reviewed on 10/01/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Dismantling Cinderella by Tamsen Grace is a compilation of poetry that initially takes the traditional telling of the well known fairy tale and turns it on its head. “I think the fairy Godmother should have turned that Prince back into a frog, or his head into a pumpkin… for not seeing, that a girl with ashes on her face, is much better than a fantasy, that just disappears at midnight.” Following the titular poem, Tamsen Grace then continues with verses that highlight the strength, beauty, and intrinsic attributes of the female sex – both young and old – with powerful prose; prose which brings to the forefront all that embodies what it means to be a woman, by a woman.

Dismantling Cinderella was just added to the list of books I want my teen daughter to read. I want my husband to read it. I want everyone I know to read it. I've always held the opinion that women do not need to have men to be their saviors. What women need is to stop being reduced to positions by men that make the female sex appear to need saving. Tamsen Grace is a powerhouse in both her message and the way she delivers it, often lyrical and rhythmic but with a teasing of free form. My favorite poem in this book is Masquerade: “My mask has fused to my soul, I can't take it off. Love does have limits, but pain is limitless.” Every single one of Tamsen Grace's poems spoke to me in different ways, and I expect all who read Dismantling Cinderella will find themselves feeling the same.

Kris Moger

Dismantling Cinderella by Tamsen Grace is a wonderful collection of poetry that every young girl (and woman) should read. Each poem breaks the tale of Cinderella apart and reveals the hidden truth behind the characters. Cinderella is not the suffering heroine saved by a blank prince, who can’t remember what she looked like. Women do not need saving; they need to learn to recognize themselves and love themselves.

Dismantling Cinderella caught my attention from the first line. Tamsen Grace’s, “What if Cinderella kicked the Prince when he tried to put the slipper on,” is genius. It sums up so much with vivid accuracy. I found my soul responding with a great big, “Yeah!” Each poem in this collection tears apart the patriarchal messages hidden behind the fairy tale with wisdom and truth. It challenges the paradigms we live in where women are almost seen as interchangeable.

I always wondered what would have happened if Prince Charming had found someone with the same foot size. Would he have married her? And how was it even possible that no one in the whole country had the same foot size as her? Why did I believe this story as a child? How did it and others like it mold my mind and heart? Dismantling Cinderella is more than poetry to me. It is a collection of revelations, delving into those hidden lies and cutting them out with words of truth, strength, and self-love. This is a book I need to read often to remind myself I am more than society demands me to be.

Jack Magnus

Dismantling Cinderella is an inspirational collection of poetry written by Tamsen Grace. In her preface, Grace shares her concern that her daughters would grow up seeing Cinderella as a fairy tale character worth emulating. She didn’t want them to wait and pine for a Prince Charming to rescue them, but rather she wanted to inspire them to go out and take life into their own hands, to relish challenges, and to recognize their own hidden strengths and abilities. And in feeling this way, she had to acknowledge her own need to dismantle her own Cinderella fantasy. In her title poem, Grace fantasizes about a Cinderella who gives her prince “a good swift kick in the ass.” She then describes a prince who loves her “even in the morning when my mascara/drips down my face like a raccoon,” faulting the fabled prince for “not seeing, that a girl with ashes on her face,/is much better than a fantasy,/that just disappears at midnight.”

Tamsen Grace’s poetry is a compelling collection that rejects the notion that a young woman is of value for her dress size or appearance and sets instead self-reliance, self-care and self-love as preferable goal posts in life. Grace’s poems are free verse, and they read beautifully. I was especially moved by her poem, I Am the Wind. This work is stark and economical, giving it a universality that is rare indeed, each thought carefully honed and polished to a precise jewel-like brilliance. She uses alliteration and the repetition of sounds to create a poem that is intense and profound: “I am the wind,/she said/that sweetly soothes/the sun kissed shores./I am the wind that rages,/over ravaged waves/of scorn./I am in tune with the flow/of the sea,/soft yet strong.” Notice how the soft sibilance of the first sentence is counterbalanced by the strength of its successor’s raging “over ravaged waves/of scorn.” While only 14 short lines in length, I Am the Wind is a marvelous poem, one that held me transfixed as I pondered on it. While each poem in this impressive collection is well worth spending time with, this poem was an especially exciting find for me, a harbinger, I’m hoping, of more to come. Dismantling Cinderella is highly recommended.

Faridah Nassozi

Poetry is one of the most beautiful ways to express emotions and opinions and share lessons. It gives the reader a chance to form their own understanding of the message, making a single poem applicable to different circumstances. In her book titled Dismantling Cinderella, Tamsen Grace shares a collection of multifaceted poems that touch on a variety of topics to bring to life compelling lessons about true love, self worth, relationships and getting rid of the myths and prejudices that have been ingrained in our minds.

Dismantling Cinderella delivers poems with raw and compelling emotions. Tamsen Grace kept each poem short without compromising the depth of the message and emotions. Each poem delivers a new message(s) and together they form a story. Dismantling Cinderella is a story of love, pain, healing, self discovery and triumph. The poems tell a story of the thorny path of life that is often inevitable in the journey to discovering true self worth. She shares her emotions with simple and raw honesty that makes the poems refreshing and memorable.

Tamsen Grace uses her own life story to deliver an empowering message about self love and self worth. Putting the Cinderella story at the centre of her message was a stroke of genius since this is a story kids all over the world have been raised on. Stories like this have such a strong hold on our minds from childhood and we subconsciously carry those beliefs with us for life. Poking holes in these stories frees the mind so we can discover our true self worth. Her words will inspire you to break the mold, find your wings and live life fully, happily and on your terms.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

“To think that this all began/ with an apple,/ a serpent/ and a woman who didn’t know her place…/ interpretation has condemned the world.” Has it condemned the world? Or has it condemned women to fit into this mannequin-style vision that the world has created? We women have allowed this to happen – to a certain extent. We have nurtured our children (girls and boys) to grow up believing in fairy tales. To believe that all little girls are Cinderella, a beautiful woman in rags just waiting to be discovered and clothed in the rich garments and jewels of a princess. To be waited on, to be adored. And by whom? The charming prince, of course. It’s a myth. And not a very good one at that. But we women have allowed this myth to flourish. Change is necessary. We need to teach our girls that they are beautiful and strong and brilliant and everything that is positive, no matter what. Even without a Prince Charming to come to our rescue, we can make our own mark in this world and stand tall and proud and beautiful. But first, we must love ourselves for who and what we are.

Tamsen Grace’s collection of poetry, Dismantling Cinderella, addresses these concerns and more. Surviving a brutal marriage and then cancer, this poet has sought peace and restitution in her poems. Using free verse and narrative verse, this collection of poems, some long, some short, captures the essence of a woman and the keen abilities every woman possesses to grow, nurture and love, not just herself, but others, too. Love is more than the Cinderella myth. Love addresses the power of the woman herself. Look out: “I am woman hear me roar.” Some of her poems are brutal, raw in the emotions expressed. Other poems demand deep thought from the reader, making the reader look at herself (or even himself) with greater care and greater love. This inspirational collection is a powerful tool for women’s self-empowerment. “Maybe through the fire and pain, I can find myself again and realize that I was never unlovable.” None of us were ever unlovable and we all have to remember that. Thank you, Tamsen Grace, for reminding us.

Anthony

This book is amazing. Beautifully composed by Tamsen Grace. A true warrior, who shows the battles not only her but many women face now in today’s world. Highly recommend this book to anyone.