I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales is comprised of three short stories. I'll review each story individually and then share my thoughts about the stories as a whole.
"The Girl Who Looked for Elves"
A girl named Heather goes to a tarot reader and reviews her life in the past, present and future. This is the story of how her parents ended up divorcing and all the fighting that led up to that. Her father remarries, and her stepmother is a truly wicked one. Heather was treated cruelly by her stepmother - I felt empathy for her. She was just a little girl.
When Heather's father brings home a record player and an album of Grimm's Fairytales, the story "The Elves and the Shoemaker" becomes her favorite story and brings her comfort and hope. That story became just what she needed to make it through those tough times.
I can relate with that during tough times I've gone through in life. A song or a book can become the difference between hope and despair. This story was written in a style that is different from anything I've read and took me a minute to get used to. It's my least favorite of the three, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.
My favorite quote:
"Watching for Elves, that's what I did as a child. Believing in magic, that's what I do now."
My Rating: 3 / 5
"The Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes"
After breaking up with her rich boyfriend who squelched her creativity and true self, Heather stops drinking and begins bingeing on food. Feeling disconnected from her spirit, she also feels it's dangerous for her spirit to reside in her.
She ends up going to a bookstore, and getting an audiobook called The Red Shoes: On Torment and the Recovery of Soul Life by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
She becomes focused on red shoes, convinced they're the answer to finding meaning in her life again. This was a story I could read again and again - I loved it that much. It's my favorite of the three and pulled me in right away. I was able to relate to this story more than the first one, which might be why it's my favorite. It's almost like a story within a story, and I wanted to find out what happened with the story Heather listened to on audiobook. I wondered if it was a real book, so I looked it up and it is very real. I might listen to it as well!
My Rating: 5 / 5
"The Girl Who Couldn't Sing"
For twelve years, Heather worked hard towards her dream of becoming an indie musician, but she couldn't sing or play guitar well no matter how much she practiced. She had a lot of strength and determination which I admired. I probably would have given up a long time ago had I been her, but she didn't. She kept on going.
This story was one I could relate to as well, and it made me want to go after my dreams proactively like Heather did. I love it when a story can influence me in a positive way and inspire me to keep trying to achieve my goals. I felt bad for Heather because she didn't realize how other people perceived her lack of musical talent, but at the same time I thought if she had noticed, she might not have made it as far as she did.
My Rating: 4 / 5
While the synopsis states these stories are loosely biographical, they're still very much fictional. But I think it's genius that the author has taken these experiences that are important to her and turned them into fairy tales. The first story didn't make sense to me at first, but I understand it better after reading the next two stories. All three of these stories are linked, which is good to know going in - you'll have a better understanding of them knowing they're related.
My Overall Rating: 5 / 5
Read more of my reviews at my blog, Donnie Darko Girl!