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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Who doesn’t love a good fairy tale? But one must be careful what they wish for. Classic tales and stories from the Bible have been, and continue to be, retold in various different genres, some pleasant and positive, others almost horrific. The classic Grimm story about Cinderella could have an evil twist if, after her marriage to the prince, she becomes obsessed with strange things, like pigeons and pear trees and even the gift from her husband, the golden slippers, that he insists she wears at his coronation. She endures this in spite of the fact that they make her feet bleed profusely. And Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother is really a witch, one to fear, but the wolf doesn’t fear the grandmother witch. A retelling of Rapunzel, the Pied Piper, and several others might make you think twice about enjoying a good fairy tale.
Molly Lazer’s collection of short stories, Lentils in Black Rice: Myths and Fairy Tales, is a clever and at times almost horrific retelling of classic tales. Each story is well constructed with a good plot that transforms but doesn’t obliterate the original tale. The characters are well developed and the language and format of telling the story are very much in the manner of classic fairy tales. Each story takes the idea of the original classic, mostly Grimm fairy tales, and molds the story into a lesson of good versus evil, almost telling the reader to be careful what they wish for. Although somewhat disturbing, these stories are a fine example of fairy tales, if a little on the dark side.