Warning: This is not a positive review at all. I’m not posting it anywhere else. But I needed to get it off my chest. I read this a few days before my previous review, but I couldn’t peg what about the book left me feeling disgusted. Sucks to realize the why.
Tale as Old as Time,
a dark fantasy retelling of a Disney classic.
Shocked? I never give one stars, right? It means there needs so much work it shouldn’t’ve been published.
Let’s go back to [when researching won’t be enough]. Some stories are not yours to write.
This was a white woman who wrote a tale for Black or Indigenous people.
As a Lenape descendant, this hit all the wrong notes.
I grew up loving books. Until they started making me hate myself. I look and feel more Lenape than most realize. I was almost a MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls). I’m not even joking. I was seven when that middle aged (probably only 30) white man came up to me saying how “exotic” I looked. Yup. I fled for adult supervision and it was rare I ever stepped away from the adult I knew until I was much older.
That’s not normal childhood memory. But it’s mine.
So many books in my life have written pieces of myself as the enemy, as the villain, as bad, as wrong, etc. I was always the bad guy in a book. The ones who looked like me, acted like me, were wrong. Were the stupid sidekick who ended up dying. Or the smart person who ends up dying. I was the dead character. I was the villain. I was the one who was defeated/taken down/turned in.
It made me hate stories. I started to hate reading. It took me a long time to realize the why. Now I will read a book with distance between us. I need to. Because people like this author are still the most commonly published. They are still the most likely ones found on the shelves.
And they are the reason I typically don’t pick up a work written by a white person. I don’t trust them. They’ve hurt me in so many ways. In the real world and the fictional ones.
On to this particular book. I can’t fault the editor/proofreader. There was flow. There was little in the way of plot holes. There were few errors in general. I’d say there was too many “big words” for a teen book, but that’s to each their own, right?
The entire thing should have never been written in the first place.
This was a white woman writing about race. In the form of fantasy. Some people were “normal” and some had magic. Yup. White woman classifying the preferenced group as normal. The rest of us are abnormal. Cool, cool. Definitely no racist vibes at all there.
Then there was the riots where all the “abnormal” magic users were attacked, beaten, dragged, killed. The normal stuff.
???? Why is she treating these events as if they were “normal”? As if that’s all I have to look forward to? I fear white people because of the damage they’ve done. How does this make me trust them? It doesn’t.
But it was close to the opening. The before story. Okay… So that’s fine. There can be a chance this isn’t a white woman pretending they know anything.
I kept wanting to believe it wasn’t an allegory. I kept wanting anything to suggest otherwise.
I cannot tell you whether the fleeing the riot was more closely connected to the Underground Railroad, Trail of Tears (lost some good family on that trail), or one of the more recent flights that were required to happen so we didn’t just get killed.
Flight was the only answer in the story.
Okay… So… There was a baby involved. I can get fleeing. Protect the youth and all.
During this entire time, one of the “allies” in the story has hated the magical even being one himself. He is openly hateful to others and fully accepted as is.
Is this a suggestion that I should still care and accept people who wish my death? Wait, what?
Half way through the book, the only positive way out would be as a white savior. And even that ending was failed. She refused to sacrifice herself for the magical people.
At least that’s an accurate statement.
The final point made was to say our only way to live is to hide away so no “normal” people can’t hurt us.
Hide? No fucking way am I going to hide.
Is anyone against me burning books? I have some kindling if you need it.
I am definitely not checking out another one of this Disney classic retellings. And I’ll steer clear of white authors.
They only prove the same point over and over:
I should hate myself. I should hate others like me. I should hate my connections to anything besides my European ancestry.
This is a one star.
And I hope the author never completes another book again.
Fuck them and their racist bullshit.