Sunday, February 22, 2015
This book makes me laugh! Jane Yolen is a gifted storyteller and is perhaps best-known for the touching Owl Moon, so it surprised me to read such a witty, even sarcastic, fracture of Sleeping Beauty.
Sleeping Ugly begins by introducing us to Princess Miserella - a spoiled, snotty, completely beautiful princess. She gets lost while out on a walk and, finding an old woman napping under a tree, rudely wakens her and demands to be guided home. It doesn't quite work out as she planned and they end up at Plain Jane's ramshackle cottage deep in the woods.
Miserella refuses to rein in her boorish behavior and the old woman, who is a fairy in disguise, tires of listening to her and, in a fit of frustration, casts a sleeping spell on her, which affects all three women since her ferocity breaks the wand.
They slumber through hundreds of year until Prince JoJo "who was the youngest son of a youngest son and so had no gold or jewels or property to speak of..." enters the cottage and decides to practice his kiss on the old woman first, then Jane, and in a moment of clarity, decides against kissing the gorgeous Miserella because "JoJo knew that kind of princess. He had three cousins just like her; Pretty on the outside. Ugly within."
He and Jane marry, have children and add a granny flat to the cottage for their friend the old woman/fairy. They never wake up Miserella who often serves as a coat rack for their guests.
Humorous, clever, completely fractured fairy tale.