Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire: Here is the story of Iris and her sister Ruth, famed stepsisters of the Cinderella tale. Like Maguire’s earlier Wicked, it is a retelling of a famous story from the villain’s point of view. Also like Wicked, the heroine of the canon is portrayed as self-serving and cruel, while the villain is merely a social outcast, trying to puzzle her way through the world as best she can. The Cinderella story is nearly unrecognizable for about two thirds of the book, while it discusses Iris’s love of painting and Clara (Cinderella)’s bizarre self-imposed seclusion, but in the end there is a prince and a ball and a lost slipper. Despite a general confusion throughout most of the story, I turned the last page feeling at least most of my questions had been answered. I don’t know that I will go out of my way to read more Maguire – I grew weary of so much unneccessary use of hundred-dollar words and such impossibly flowery dialogue – but I am glad I read this one. I like fairy tales and all their retellings; hopefully the popularity of Maguire’s version will not overshadow others’ attempts to show the other side of the story.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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