Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister : A Novel

by Gregory Maguire | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0060987529 Global Overview for this book
Registered by firrantello of Morganton, North Carolina USA on 12/27/2005
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by firrantello from Morganton, North Carolina USA on Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Gregory Maguire's chilling, wonderful retelling of Cinderella is a study in contrasts. Love and hate, beauty and ugliness, cruelty and charity--each idea is stripped of its ethical trappings, smashed up against its opposite number, and laid bare for our examination. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister begins in 17th-century Holland, where the two Fisher sisters and their mother have fled to escape a hostile England. Maguire's characters are at once more human and more fanciful than their fairy-tale originals. Plain but smart Iris and her sister, Ruth, a hulking simpleton, are dazed and terrified as their mother, Margarethe, urges them into the strange Dutch streets. Within days, purposeful Margarethe has secured the family a place in the home of an aspiring painter, where for a short time, they find happiness.

But this is Cinderella, after all, and tragedy is inevitable. When a wealthy tulip speculator commissions the painter to capture his blindingly lovely daughter, Clara, on canvas, Margarethe jumps at the chance to better their lot. "Give me room to cast my eel spear, and let follow what may," she crows, and the Fisher family abandons the artist for the upper-crust Van den Meers.

When Van den Meer's wife dies during childbirth, the stage is set for Margarethe to take over the household and for Clara to adopt the role of "Cinderling" in order to survive. What follows is a changeling adventure, and of course a ball, a handsome prince, a lost slipper, and what might even be a fairy godmother. In a single magic night, the exquisite and the ugly swirl around in a heated mix:

Everything about this moment hovers, trembles, all their sweet, unreasonable hopes on view before anything has had the chance to go wrong. A stepsister spins on black and white tiles, in glass slippers and a gold gown, and two stepsisters watch with unrelieved admiration. The light pours in, strengthening in its golden hue as the sun sinks and the evening approaches. Clara is as otherworldly as the Donkeywoman, the Girl-Boy. Extreme beauty is an affliction...

But beyond these familiar elements, Maguire's second novel becomes something else altogether--a morality play, a psychological study, a feminist manifesto, or perhaps a plain explanation of what it is to be human. Villains turn out to be heroes, and heroes disappoint. The story's narrator wryly observes, "In the lives of children, pumpkins can turn into coaches, mice and rats into human beings. When we grow up, we learn that it's far more common for human beings to turn into rats.
I read this a while vack after reading his novel Wicked. I didn't care for this as much as Wicked, but I liked it more than Mirror, Mirror.
This is basically a retelling of Cinderella.

Journal Entry 2 by firrantello from Morganton, North Carolina USA on Sunday, March 4, 2007
I'm making this into a bookray!
*Remember to journal the book when you get it so we know it's arrived safe and sound, then journal again when you've finished reading it.
*Ship to the person after you on this list. I'm trying to work it out according to shipping preference and location on list preference, so let me know if something doesn't work.
*If you PM the next person for their address and they don't respond within 2 weeks or so, let me know. I'll try to contact them as well. If we don't hear from them, we'll just skip them.
*Try not to keep the book for more than a month or so. If you need to keep over a little, that's fine too.
*Whoever is last on the list should RABCK or something similar with this when they're done.

List (updated as needed):
[Codes: Grey=completed, Blue=waiting, Red=in possession, Green=skipped]

ladyofunicorns (NM, USA) [US, Int'l if must]
AuburnCaMom (CA, USA) [USA]
Mom2Ty (NC, USA) [USA]
dantemiro (Canada) [N. America]
mjm (UT, USA) [Int'l]
flajol (UK) [Int'l]
Potat1556 (Switzerland) [Europe]
Vampberry (Finland) [Finland, Europe if must]

If shipping can be worked out:

BellaMack (Australia) [Australia]

Journal Entry 3 by firrantello at A Fellow BXer in USPS, By Mail/Post/Courier -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Released 14 yrs ago (3/7/2007 UTC) at A Fellow BXer in USPS, By Mail/Post/Courier -- Controlled Releases



Heading out to its first stop!

Journal Entry 4 by ladyofunicorns from Santa Fe, New Mexico USA on Tuesday, March 13, 2007
I received this book in the mail today! As soon as I have finished reading Mercedes Lackey's A Fairy Godmother, I will read this one and send it on to the next person! (Should start no later than this weekend!)

Journal Entry 5 by ladyofunicorns at Santa Fe, New Mexico USA on Thursday, December 29, 2016
I enjoyed the book very much. I will be contacting the next (or so) on the list to see if they are still interested. If not I will be contacting the owner of the book ray.

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