Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

My grandparents had a beautiful set of green leather bound books. There were 25 books in the collection. I know because they are on my bookshelves and I just counted them. I have not read all of them. I was supposed to wait until I was Lori’s age. Lori lived next door to my grandparents and since she was older than me, unfortunately, I was never able to reach “Lori’s age”. The books are gorgeous and I still really want to read them ... all of them: Dante, Cervantes, Tennyson to Whitman, Emerson, Dana ... Collins to Fitzgerald, Chaucer to Gray ... the list goes on and on....
Frankly, I am afraid to touch them. They are so beautiful. Like a collection of precious dolls meant to be admired and enjoyed simply because they share my space.
My grandmother read to me from Aesop, Grimm and Andersen when I was seven years old. I loved the dark, frightening stories and learned my life lessons the hard way, just as those children did.
I have nightmares.
But I still love a good fairy tale. I love a good fantasy. I love a dark narration.
I thought I would love The Story Sisters. Alice Hoffman wrote this book with a matter-of-fact prose that seemed nearly vague most of the time. However, I enjoyed the fact that she slipped in and out of a mythical, magical world and the real one. It was dark and tragic and, I suppose, somewhat romantic. But more than anything else, I found it to be excruciatingly sad. Minus the extremes, I could relate to many of the characters, which is what kept me reading into the wee hours of the night, but I cried through the whole thing.
And I am tired of weeping.

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