No Fairy Tale

The Reality Of A Girl Who Wasn't A Princess and Her Poetry

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
225 Pages
Reviewed on 06/24/2016
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Author Biography

D.L. Finn is an independent California local, who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks and cedars, her creativity was cradled until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to her readers to join her.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Chris Fischer for Readers' Favorite

In a unique and creative read by the obviously talented author D.L. Finn, No Fairy Tale: The Reality Of A Girl Who Wasn't A Princess and Her Poetry is a read like none other. A work of non-fiction, autobiographical in nature, the story is actually a re-telling of the author’s own life experience, but told in the voice of a fictional princess. The princess wants nothing more than the return of her father, to be reassured of his love for her. But instead she gets a new step family, and some difficult and painful experiences that no one should have to endure. The abuse the princess endures, as well as experiences with addiction and the turmoils of adolescence, are all painfully outlined. Through all of her difficulties, the princess is still somehow able to find hope, and to pull herself out of the misery that has become her family life. This story is one that will stay with a reader for a long time after the book is done, and one that I can easily recommend!

Author D.L. Finn has done an amazing job in providing her readers with a very intimate look into her harrowing youth, but in such a way that I have never seen before. Using the guise of a fictional character to tell one's own personal history was a true stroke of genius, and one that other authors will soon emulate, I have no doubt. The author also brings herself back into the story at the end of No Fairy Tale: The Reality Of A Girl Who Wasn't A Princess and Her Poetry, providing readers with highly personal and moving works of poetry and photographs that will make the story all the more real to them. Many readers will be able to connect with this story, from those who have lost a parent, or come from blended families or from a history of trauma, and they will be able to find inspiration from the life that D.L. Finn has lived. I certainly hope that the very talented author, D.L. Finn, will continue with her work in this area. Her voice is one that deserves to be heard!

Deborah Lloyd

No Fairy Tale: The Reality of a Girl Who Wasn’t a Princess and Her Poetry, by D.L. Finn, offers insights to the stories behind eloquent poetry. Ms. Finn calls her book “creative nonfiction,” meaning the events are true, portrayed to the best of her memory. Growing up with a mother who could not express any love towards her, and a physically and emotionally abusive stepfather, led the author down a dark and lonely path. Her parents drank heavily, and she (the princess) started to sneak their alcohol. She too became dependent on using substances to escape her life of despair. The princess escapes this life with some ups and downs. She starts to make choices that are life-affirming and healing, and eventually crafts a fulfilling life with her own husband and children. Writing poetry was one of her methods to deal with her early life problems.

Thought-provoking and sometimes heartbreaking poetry is the culmination of D.L. Finn’s life struggles in the book, No Fairy Tale: The Reality of a Girl Who Wasn’t a Princess and Her Poetry. Ms. Finn includes her poignant memoir to provide the background to her poetry. Although the content of her story (abuse and constant criticism, blaming and shaming) is difficult to read at times, her writing style is clear and concise. She also shows this kind of abuse exists in families of all socio-economic levels, an important message. More importantly, her writing demonstrates that anyone can heal from past traumas; writing was one of her tools to bring love and healing into her life.

Sarah Stuart

The first five chapters of No Fairy Tale recount the period from the princess’s earliest memories to the present day. This is D.L. Finn’s reality, even though her mother and step-father are the queen and the king. It catalogues neglect that escalates into verbal, emotional and physical abuse and its effect on the young child, the teenager, and the adult princess to the present day, and the serious health issues the abuse and her attempts to escape reality caused. The rest of No Fairy Tale comprises beautiful pictures - a few coloured, but mostly monochrome - and free style poetry. Chapter six contains advice for suicidal readers and there is a link to an American helpline, and a reading list at the end.

It seems a miracle to me that Diane, whose story this is, survived. Many children wouldn’t have and she comes close to suicide, the first time at a very young age. The early chapters are the reality of her life, and it was anything but a fairy tale. Moving, heart-breaking, it isn’t difficult when reading the poetry to guess at what age each must have been written, though “A Winter Night” surprised me; I expected sadness, not “The silvery snow sparkles” and “To sleep the slumber only nights like this can bring.” “Path” is longer and sadder. D.L. Finn has a very different take on the first moon landing: “When man first encroached on the moon and our innocence.” No Fairy Tale is a challenging read.

Viga Boland

What an unusual book No Fairy Tale by D.L. Finn is. It certainly isn’t what I expected and, as the author states, it’s definitely not a fairy tale. So why that title? Actually, the title is rather clever, as is the reason the book has been written as…did you guess? A fairy tale! It has a princess, a queen and king, an evil brother, and even the gallant knight who rescues the fair princess from the perils she faces and takes her to a better life. But the similarity ends there.

No Fairy Tale is an autobiography which D.L. Finn has chosen to write in the third person. But she is definitely the princess in this non-fairy tale, and not a happy one when we meet her. This princess is given a name, Diana, but we don’t hear anyone using it very often as No Fairy Tale is primarily a narrative with very little dialogue. Perhaps that’s because the book is based on D.L. Finn’s journals and her intention isn’t so much to tell a story as to share details of a life plagued with childhood physical and mental abuse at the hands of alcoholic parents. By the time this princess is in her teens, she is resorting to alcohol and, later, drugs to ease her inner turmoil and pain. Even long after her gallant knight whisks her away and being loved becomes the balm she needs to heal, she develops physical ailments at an alarming rate. She is in and out of doctors' offices and hospitals, dabbling in every form of alternative medicine and natural diets, and admits that to this day she is still not healed.

There are many readers who will identify with D.L. Finn’s traumatic life, from the early abuse, to her self abuse, to her many attempts to recover and become whole again. She has come a long way and succeeded. But one gets the sense she still has a long way to go. The story line of No Fairy Tale is told in a handful of long chapters. The emotional side is then explored through D.L. Finn’s poetry, supplemented by high quality photos. The poetry is soothing, easy flowing, but nothing complicated or overly deep. In short, anyone who’s experienced similar will relate to D.L. Finn’s reflective musings through free verse. As someone who is herself a childhood victim of abuse and has spent her life learning to love herself, I find it interesting that the author has such an affinity for water: so many of her poems are about water, flowing waters, oceans, waves. Why has that struck me? I too relate very strongly to water and its cleansing properties, and I’m not just talking physically. That identification by D.L. Finn gives her poetry, and her story, a universal message. After all, how many of us are lucky enough to have a fairy tale life?

No Fairy Tale will not find its readership in those who are out for a riveting, page-turning read. I myself would have preferred to see it written as a story, with lots of dialogue and interaction between the characters. That’s just my preference when it comes to memoirs. But for those for whom the style matters less than the content, this is an interesting and reflective account delivered with sincerity.

Tracy Slowiak

Wow! Just, wow! Those were my exact thoughts as I finished reading author and poet D.L. Finn’s newest release, No Fairy Tale. A truly lyrical work, beautiful and extremely creatively written, this story outlines the author’s real life, but through a princess’s viewpoint. A deeply personal piece of non-fiction, No Fairy Tale is not necessarily a read for the faint of heart. Many of the situations and scenarios that D.L. Finn divulges are truly heart breaking and many readers will find themselves wiping away tears in places. The princess in this story wants only one thing; for her father to return to her and profess how much he loves and misses her. Instead of her deepest desire, she instead gets a new step family, and from that point onward, there is dark twist after dark twist. Dealing with both addiction and abuse, the princess’s life will never be the same. But somehow, even at fourteen years old, she is able to muster up the courage and the faith to believe in herself, and know that her life can change.

I so enjoyed D.L. Finn’s highly personal work. Telling her own truth in the guise of a fictional character was a unique and unusual twist in a non-fiction work, but one that I highly appreciated. The works of poetry and photos offered at the end of the book, when Finn is again writing as herself, add to the reader’s understanding of this profound work. Any reader who loves non-fiction or autobiographical works should definitely pick up this book as soon as possible. I can highly recommend No Fairy Tale to any reader simply looking for an excellent and moving work. I have been lucky enough to read several of D.L. Finn’s works, and can honestly say that I certainly hope she has more coming soon. I, for one, will be keeping my eyes peeled for them!