Book Review: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

I’m just gonna go ahead and be honest and say it… I didn’t really like this book. And I must make my own confession, that’s actually a fairly rare thing for me to say. I can get through most any book, especially fiction, and find something enjoyable about it. Yes, I may have found the writing weak and basic, or the descriptions too exhaustive, or the storyline just bleh, etc., but I’m pretty flexible with what I “like”. But I didn’t like this.

Here’s the number one thing I didn’t like about Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. Gregory Maguire took a beloved, magical fairytale and destroyed it. And he did it on purpose! Maguire takes a story filled with magic and mystery and turns it into a rational explanation for the original tale. I think this is sort of his shtick, and I must say, I’m not a fan! Don’t we have enough “rational explanation” and “realism” in the world? Why can’t the fairytales be left alone? I’m good with “happily ever after” every once in a while.

In fairness, the story was well written and somewhat interesting on its own if it hadn’t been destroying something sacred to me. Although I wasn’t particularly drawn to Maguire’s style of writing, so I actually had a hard time getting through the book. Not only did I not enjoy the storyline, but I also didn’t find this one to be a page turner. Not liking a storyline doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be a page turner. I found this to be the case with Gone Girl. I hated the story, but I couldn’t put the book down. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. So the two can coexist.

Of course it could’ve just been that I was angry the whole time. You don’t really want to return again and again during what’s supposed to be a restful, rejuvenating time to something that’s going to make you angry and annoyed.

Now, if you’re a more rational, realistic type of person, you may love this book and Maguire’s others. In fact, I participated in one of those Facebook things where you send one person a book, and if everyone participates as intended, you get 36 books in return… or something like that. And this was one of the two books I received from that little failed experiment. :) So the person who sent it must’ve really liked it… I don’t think she was trying to purposefully torture me. She doesn’t even know me!

So I imagine Maguire has a large fan base out there, and I’m just not on the list. #NOTafangirl !!!

I’d be curious to hear another perspective on this one. If you’ve read it, comment below or on Facebook and let me know what YOU thought! Obviously my opinion is very one-sided here (and rather angry). :)

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