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Fairytale Holiday (Not Really)
Ah...the Holidays. The time of year where good cheer abounds, parties rock around Christmas trees, theories abound on the meaning of auld lang syne, and the cold air forces us all to dress in a million cozy layers so that we all walk around looking like an expertly crafted 7-layer bean dip. My kids and I try to do as many holiday activities as we can fit in over the course of December, including even the little things such as sickening sugar-covered holiday pancakes and as many hot chocolates as you can drink. While all our activities start out filled with the joyous intentions of the season, they don't all end up being fun for everyone (I’m looking at you ice skating rink), but they are always filled with laughter and, I’ve heard tell on a Hallmark card or two, the time spent together is really what’s important anyhow.
In keeping with this tradition of things never going as perfectly as planned, I thought that, instead of doing a normal holiday blog filled with good tidings and cheer and auld lang syne I would write a blog more in tune with my own anxiety-riddled traditions of being myself and provide a few tongue-in-cheek, good-intentions-gone-bad stories, that maybe we can all relate to in way or another, because hey! Tis the season, I guess!
I Hate Fairyland volume one by Skottie Young
Like Candyland on acid, a little girl, Gertrude, gets trapped in every child's dream of fairyland only to be trapped there for 37 years because she can’t find the key for the way out. In the end she much more resembles a hardened streetwise character who needs to head straight to the nearest anger management class (do not pass go) than the once starry-eyed day-dreaming child whose eyes spewed rainbows. The story is great, the art phenomenal, and it takes a classic tale that most little girls (and some boys) dream of and plops it right into much more realistic settings. Its rainbow pops of color on every page, which start out as pink dresses and candy-colored fantasies but then go wrong when faced with the bloody trail of wrath form a Gertrude gone angry. Like all my favorite graphic novels (at least art wise) it tends towards a bit of the violent side, so keep that in mind before letting the kiddies check this one out.
I Hate Fairyland volume two by Skottie Young
Just because I love this graphic novel so much (and because it just in time came in for me to include it in this blog) I decided to go ahead and talk about volume two as well. This second installment starts off with our favorite fairyland girl gone bad, Gertrude, sitting on the throne as she has now taken over (albeit for a short stint) as queen of fairyland. This volume comes through as good as the first one – a fluffed-up Candyland game with seemingly no reachable way out for the rough-around-the-edges newly-crowned queen Gertrude. This volume featured a lot of references to the outside world such as a really funny Game of Thrones conversation and a shot out to everyone’s favorite Broad City. I would say my favorite part of this one is issue 8 where Gertrude and Larry, her not-by-choice-faithful fly sidekick, end up in a video game and face off with a bad boss-level Cinderella named the Purty, Pretty, Princess. So, in keeping with my holiday theme, even though these volumes are very much fiction, they are good reminders that things aren’t always how we think they are going to be, even our fantasy worlds!
Christmas songs soundtrack to these books:
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
At 346 pages of highly controversial material, it is lovely and heartbreaking, sickening, devastating, yet sweet and perhaps one of the most "real" fiction books I’ve read in a while. The fact that it is told from the eyes of a smart but damaged beauty of a child gives it an almost slow, dream-like quality—like Karen Carpenter’s voice or the sound of a violin. This book gets the heroes and the villains all twisted up in a cozy way like a ball of chenille yarn, not one that will make a sweater, but one destined to get tangled up beyond repair. A heavy read and one that you won’t see where it’s going until it’s there and the outcome even more beyond where it was in the beginning. It’s a sort of Lolita story all wrapped up in meadows and stars, motorcycles and drugs. An unconventional family that gets even more unconventional, a book that makes you feel, while at the same time throws all your feelings for a loop, a soaring rollercoaster that stops in a strange place. It makes you all at once feel sorry for the little fragile porcelain doll of girl, Wavy, but also at times makes you remember the strangeness and stillness of being a child when time would sometimes stand still at just the right moments and minutes felt like hours in all the best ways. This is book is beautifully written for most of it, but absolutely disturbing. It’s a reality TV soap opera, written to read more like a symphony, full of tragedy and love.
Christmas songs soundtrack:
“Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters
“Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” by The Ramones