in a glass grimmly

In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz

A companion novel to A Tale Dark & Grimm, this book continues to celebrate the darkness and horror that is part of real fairy tales.  This time the focus expands beyond The Brothers Grimm to also include Hans Christian Andersen and Christina Rossetti among others as inspiration.  This is the story of Jack and Jill and their adventures.  Yes, there is a broken crown and also a beanstalk to climb.  There is also a talking frog to be kissed, a goblin market to explore, and monsters to either battle or befriend.  There is plenty of blood, anger, misery, hunger and torment too.  Sound like the sort of book you’d enjoy?  I thought so!

Gidwitz has continued with his narrator who warns readers about what is about to happen, most of the time.  There is a wonderful playfulness in this approach that lightens the sometimes very grim storylines.  The interwoven tales, some of them original and all of them slightly twisted, make for a great read.  The writing is strong and vibrant and a joy to read.

The characters of Jack and Jill are both wrestling with different issues, but both come down to the same thing.  The two of them need to focus more on what they themselves think and not about what others think of them.  Jill struggles with her mother’s focus on beauty, resulting in her walking the street naked in a spin on The Emperor’s Clothes.  Jack wishes he was a leader rather than a follower, and is tormented by the other boys.  He’s even mocked with a version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”  The two children start out very likeable and relatable but turn out to be true heroes in the end.

This engaging story and pair of books is one that will get reluctant readers reading with its promises of gore and disgusting content, but is will be most enjoyed by children familiar with the original tales.  Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from ARC received from Dutton Children’s Books.