Friday, April 6, 2012

Not an Ordinary Fairy Tale

Upon finishing the previous title Motzei Shabbos before leaving to SF, I did not immediately write up a post.   I also did not go to sleep in anticipation of my 7:00 AM flight the next morning.  Instead, I took a survey of books to bring with me on the trip and decided I was in the mood to read The Ordinary Princess right then and there.  So I did.  It's not too long, finished it before going to sleep.

It really is an adorable little thing.  I mean it's a children's book, but it's not written for children so much as as an homage to children's books of yore (fairy tales).  So, though its attitudes are often simplistic, it's understood that's to be expected in a fantasy land.  And occasionally there's some light fun made of the open-and-shut universe of fairyland.  Well I suppose actually the entire book is a parody, since the notion of an Ordinary Princess highlights the ridiculousness of all those other Extra-ordinary ones.  But in any case, no one reads this book as a satire, and not even really as light humor.

Instead, it's a charming love story/coming of age.  In common with some fairy tales, there is no tension to be found - I mean none - Amy goes to work as a kitchen drudge, but that's not something she minds.  And she's happy to live alone in the forest.  So the time passes as easily for us as it does for her.  And the love story - it's interesting, because it doesn't really have much of that angst I always say is essential to a good chic-lit romance - but yet, I find the story quite romantic.  I almost don't know why, but there is the constant underlying tensions on both sides that the other party is "not for me" (though of course, we know  better :)) And despite that, they do grow closer - and reading between the lines, treasure their fleeting time together.  I almost don't know why I enjoy this romance so much... but after all, it's by MM Kaye - who has written some rather grand romance in her time.

The book takes about an hour (or less) to finish - and I wouldn't want it to take more.  But from start to finish, I really don't think there's one moment I don't enjoy.

Verdict: 4.5/5

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