Welcome back to Lamon Reviews.
Today we have a review of Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales by Anne E. Beall and an author interview.
Category: Adult Non-Fiction (18+), 126 pages
Genre: Feminist, Fairy Tales, Literary Criticism
Publisher: Independent Publishing
Release date: November 17, 2018
Content Rating: PG + M. Some fairy tales are a bit gruesome but there is no bad language or explicit sex.
Did Cinderella live happily ever after? You might think so until you look more closely at the hidden messages in beloved fairy tales. In this book, fairy tales are analyzed in terms of the underlying messages about marriage, agency, power, suffering, and good versus evil, with a focus on how male and female characters differ in each of these areas. The analysis is a data-driven approach that provides clear evidence for the hidden messages in these beloved tales. The end conclusion is not whether fairy tales are good or bad but rather what messages they deliver about life, even if unintentionally.
A leader in the field of market research and one of the few female CEOs in the industry, Anne E. Beall is the author of 10 books in business, gender studies, and mindfulness, including Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales and The Psychology of Gender. Her book Heartfelt Connections was named one of the top 100 Notable Indie books in 2016 by Shelf Unbound, and she has published nearly a dozen business articles in noted journals. Her books have been featured in People Magazine, Toronto Sun, Hers Magazine, and Ms. Career Girl, and she has been interviewed by NBC, NPR, and WGN. Having received her PhD in social psychology from Yale University, Anne resides in Evanston, Illinois and is the founder of the market consultancy company Beall Research.
connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ twitter ~ goodreads
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What did I think? I enjoyed reading this one. If you enjoy informative books that break down information and shows you how encorporating these fairy tales mirrors our collective community as a whole, I am sure you will enjoy this one.
The book brings attention to who is active, who is passive, and why, it also draws attention to which of the fairy tales tend to be popular and remain in the public mind. And usually, they are not the ones with active women protagonist.
I think by analysing who suffers, who causes the suffering, and other statistical data points like number of characters married against their will etc, Dr. Beall dissects the true meanings behind the fairy tales and how society interacts with them.
I personally never thought that I would meet prince charming and live happily ever after. But deep down I always believed that beautiful and aesthetically pleasing women would and do to this day.
I think she sums up the reasoning behind why this book is needed in the quote below.
Fairy tales are more than just entertaining stories; they’re a huge part of our culture…By telling and retelling these narratives, we convey more than just the plot lines—we also convey the hidden messages.Anne E. Beall PHD
Sometimes it felt like I was reading a text book, with the informative graphs and illustrations. But I enjoy reading statistical data sets because it helps me visualize it better than just being printed in words.
Author Anne E. Beall has several other interesting published books that are positive and informative. One in perticular I would be interested in reading is Reading The Hidden Communication Around You: A Guide To Reading the Body Language of Customers and Collegues.
Seeing the information broken down into more manageable informative sets helps me see what she is saying. I would definately recommend this book to all adult readers. Also, I think college aged students would find value in Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales.
After reading this book, my interest is piqued about a story titled; The Peasants Daughter. I remember most of the other fairy tales, well the super popular ones anyway, but I don’t remember this one at all. So I’m going to go look it up!
Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After by Anne E. Beall
LR: You wrote a book about hidden messages in fairy tales. Why are they important?
AEB: Great question. Fairy tales are thousands of years old, and they exist in every single culture. And interestingly, the same stories exist in cultures all around the world. In fact, there are over 1,500 versions of Cinderella! These stories form the basis for classic literature and contemporary novels of today. The basic stories are told and retold in different versions. And the movie versions are one way both adults and children continue to enjoy them.
LR: Do you think fairy tales influence how people look at their lives? Is there any truth to the idea of the Cinderella Complex?
AEB: Some people may look at their life and feel disappointed that it didn’t turn out like the story of Cinderella. They may have looked for that powerful, wealthy man to save them from a tough life and it didn’t happen.
Cinderella Complex is a term that some therapists use to describe a fear of independence and strong desire to be taken care of (like a child). I certainly know people who identify with beloved fairy tales and wish their lives resembled these stories. So, it’s possible that people may look at their life and feel disappointed.
However, there are plenty of fairy tales where women are strong, and they save people—including themselves. And women even do battle in some fairy tales. It just depends on the story you most identify with in the end.
LR: What is something most people don’t know about fairy tales?
AEB: Fairy tales were originally intended for adults, and their tellers were women. These were the oral tales that women shared with one another. They were the province of females, not males. We often think about fairy tales being for children, but if you look at the Grimms’ tales, they are gory and were never meant for a young audience.
LR: Is there a fairy tale you particularly like?
AEB: Yes! I like all of them. But I particularly like ones that feature strong female characters. One of my favorites is Li Chi Slays the Serpent, which is about an enormous serpent that terrorized villagers who lived in the mountains of China. The serpent attacked cattle and almost ate a child. A group of soldiers went out to fight it, but only one came back.
Then the serpent requested a young maiden every year, and in exchange, it would no longer attack the animals and people. After nine years and nine young women, Li Chi offered herself up. Her parents tried to dissuade her, but she insisted.
She journeyed up to the cave where the serpent lived and put sweetened rice balls outside the entrance. When the serpent ate the snacks, her hunting dog bit it, and she attacked the serpent repeatedly with her sword. After a long struggle, she killed it. For her bravery, she married the king in the area.
LR: What is your advice to anyone who experiences writer’s block?
AEB: A writer once told me that nothing can block you from writing. You can always write. The only thing that stops you is the feeling that what you’re pouring out onto the page isn’t good enough. That doubting voice isn’t helpful, and you shouldn’t listen to it. Let it flow.
Don’t worry that you’re writing is terrible, just get it out. Then take a break from it and go back in a day or a week to review it. It will surprise you that it’s better than you think. That’s the advice my father gave me long ago, and it’s been useful all my writing life.
I hope you enjoyed todays review and author interview. Remember to enter the contest for your chance to win. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
And As Always…
Go forth, dear readers, support your favorite indie authors and encourage reading and literacy.