Monday 9 January 2012

Fairy Tales: Love, Hate and Hubris by Manoj Kewalramani

From goodreads

If you caught up with the wolf that hounded little Red Riding Hood, can you image what he would tell you? What did the wicked and vain queen really want from Snow White? Is Beauty and the Beast a tale of love or a story on the shackles of idealisation? 

'Fairy Tales: Love, Hate and Hubris' is a poetic recap of 16 such timeless fairy tales. Delving into the lives of the antagonists and other characters that have been forever ignored, each poem is an adaptation that sheds new light on their predicaments and motivations.

The collection dwells on wide-ranging unexplored themes - from age and youth, the trappings of power, God and faith, narcissism, self-loathing, and unbridled desire, arrogance and lust, idealisation and love.


I'm not quite the poetry enthusiast. I read and appreciate the occasional poem and have liked novels written in verse but I've never read an entire collection of poems in one go. It's just that most times the crux of the poem eludes me. But I'm so glad I won Fairy Tales: Love, Hate and Hubris by Manoj Kewalramani in a Goodreads First-Reads giveaway. This book is never going to leave my bedside table!

First of all, the cover is amazing! I love how the wolf is looking into the Magic Mirror (The narcissistic wolf is the title given to the poem based on Red Riding Hood) and there are apple trees everywhere! Each page was so prettily decorated with more flowers and apples and the font and spacing made it very easy to read. I never thought these things would enhance or affect my reading experience but it did!

Second, the poems. I LOVED most of them. They were mostly centered on the antagonists of the fairy tales we have grown up reading and listening to. I was such a Disney fan as a kid, so I enjoyed reading the poems on Snow White's stepmother, Sleeping Beauty, Thumbelina and the insights that came along with it.

The poem that I warmed up to instantly was The narcissistic wolf which is from the perspective of the Big Bad Wolf! There were parts that made me laugh out loud. I enjoyed the point of view of the wolf and it made me look at the story of Red Riding Hood in an entirely different light!

Some of my favourite lines: "Baby you knew me, so why the shock/ My eyes, my ears, my teeth/Such a tease" and "You sigh in relief; but I am sure there's grief/For if it wasn't for me; The Big Bad Wolf/You'd be nothing more than another girl in a little red hood".

Though I didn't love it the first time, I gradually found Pea wars to be very poignant and Just a kiss felt like a fun, very modern take on the Princess and the Frog (Honey, sometimes a toad's just a toad). The beast of ideal, on the Beauty and the Beast was the perfect end to a very awesome collection of poems. It was great to hear the Beast say what he had to say!

In a nutshell, this was just the book I needed to read! Fairy tales are very big at the moment, with the TV Series Once Upon A Time (which I really need to watch) and the upcoming release of Snow White and the Huntsman. This poetic recap is smart, funny and totally adapted for today's world. I loved that I got to see a different side of characters I had not thought much about for a long time.

As a kid, things were always black and white. Snow White's stepmother was wicked and Rumpelstiltskin got what he deserved. It was great to sit back and rethink and relive those tales! I loved how in-character most of these antagonists were... I especially appreciated the way Snow White's stepmother was characterised. It was also great how most of the antagonists pointed out a single vice of the traditional protagonists' of these tales!

I'm sure to re-read this collection of poems several times this year. There is so much more I get from it every time I read it and it's such an enjoyable and fun experience every time! I would definitely recommend this and on an unrelated (or related but totally random) note, I really need to watch Once Upon A Time!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


  1. Excellent review. I agree I am not a huge poetry enthusiast but perhaps it just takes the right book. I loved some of the lines you quoted. This must definitely be a find. I am going to head over to Amazon and check this out!

  2. if i write a book , i will ask you to review it but show mercy then i ll give it for free :P

  3. @Heidi I hope you check it out! If you liked the lines I quoted, you're sure to love the rest of the book :D

    @Deepak Hahaha!


HI. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. :)