Thursday, March 11, 2010

 I have always been fascinated with alternate versions of well known fairy tales Especially those that does not contain the Disney Seal of Magic and All Things Glittery but delves deeper into a darker but more realistic aspects of the story. I also adore works that does not encircle its universe around beautiful and dainty protagonists but manages to transcend secondary characters into a whole new realm of being. Ironically, this fantastic book by Gregory Maguire did both of those things in a novel I find myself fortunate to have had the experience of reading.

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is a "modern" take on the age of story of Cinderella minus the singing rodents and pumpkin metamorphosis. It delves more on the point of view of the ugly stepsister (Iris), her sister and mother and follows their story from being banished from England and their struggle to fit in and find a home in Holland. Original characters and concepts of art and paintings are added into the mix to give it a more contemporary, and I daresay, original feel. This is not just a retake of Cinderella's famous story but it is a literary piece that could stand on its own.

I was already supposed to write this review when I stumbled upon a poster of women in medieval clothes bearing the same title as this one. And 'lo and behold, it turns out that there was a made-for-TV adaptation of the book that aired back in 2002. I got to watch the said version, in YouTube of all places, and thought, though it was obviously a low budget production because of the almost laughable set worthy of a high school play, it was a decent adaptation of a great novel.

Although, none of the "ugly" stepsisters are ugly enough to pay homage to Gregory Maguire's brilliant description of the two unfortunate but oddly endearing central characters. It seems that the TV business is not capable of airing true hideousness even if the role demands of it. The actress who plays Iris is especially pretty and at most times overshadow Clara herself who is supposed to shine with physical perfection.
Other than differences in casting preferences, I have no problem with scenes edited from the book as it is an expected side effect of translating hundreds of pages into a 90 minute show. I actually admired the way they deviated from the plot and added a "fairy god mother" which, I believe, is the Queen of the Hairy Chinned Gypsies who had no useful role in the original novel than to appear out of nowhere and seem mysterious.

Overall, the book was great, the made-for-TV feature was decent. In the end, both reading and watching the same story were time well spent.


ハリソン said...

you knowマンベアピグ?
it's manbearpig!!

Clarrise said...


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