Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Alice in Tumblr-land: And Other Fairy Tales for a New Generation (Tim Manley)

I have enjoyed the website Fairy Tales for 20-Somethings for some time, so jumped at the chance to buy a book form. The original concept was to update fairy tale characters into the life of struggling 20-somethings and everything that entails.

I was very surprised to see so much of the book with new content (it's my general understanding that blog-to-book often adds very little new material, but almost all of this was new to me). So that's definitely a plus for any fan of the website.

One of the best parts of the original site was how precise Manley's understanding of this age group is, the social media anxiety and the floating adrift in the jobless world. I don't want to make the mistake of saying that this generation's problems are so different and unique, because statements like that frustrate me. But the manner which in classic problems manifest are different, and Manley can capture these things perfectly--it's not always laugh-inducing, but I'm not sure that it's always supposed to be. I had more moments of "wow, I KNOW this character in real life" than "hahaha", and that was, for me, better than light chuckles.

The original concept is a little different in Alice in Tumblr-land: the stories of different characters--Alice, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, the Ugly Duckling, for example--are now continuous and stretched out over the course of the book. So you visit a little anecdote about Peter Pan and his blog, then jump to the Ugly Duckling pondering her Instagram selfie, and on and on until you revisit. The website demonstrated no continuity from one post to another, but I certainly enjoyed the way Manley restructured his idea for the novel.

It allows the characters happy endings, despite their pre-30s despair. It's uplifting without being treacly and nauseating. It's fascinating to see these archetypal, template characters being locked into our modernity and still come out with happy endings, and it's ultimately this redemptive quality of every story line that made me love the book so much.

My rating: 5/5
Alice in Tumblr-land on Goodreads
See what I've been reading lately!

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