Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Book Review: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire

Title: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
Author: Gregory Maguire
Release Date: 1st November 1999
Publisher: William Morrow
Price (English Pounds): £7.99
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Series: None
No. Pages:398
This is the second adult book written by author Gregory Maguire, who is well known for his different take on well known stories and fairytales.
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is based on the fairytale Cinderella which is very well known, and Maguire take on the story has many similaties but also difference, almost making it a completely different story.
The story follows Iris, the plain younger daughter of Margarethe Fisher, as she takes care of her mentally-challenged older sister Ruth and her stepsister Clara. After the death of Iris's father and her mother being accused of being a witch, her family fled from England to Holland.While caring for her sisters and keeping the peace between Clara and Margarethe, Iris develops a painter's eye and spends time apprenticing with a local painter known as The Master, and his apprentice, Caspar.

On the verge of losing everything after a sudden drop in their stock market, Margarethe devises a plan for Iris and Ruth to attend the ball being held in honor of the Dowager Queen of France and her godson, the Prince of Marsillac. She leaves out Clara because she knows full well that if the girl wed the prince, she would abandon her family and they'd end up in the poorhouse. While at the ball, Ruth does the unthinkable for jealousy and love of Clara and Master. That night the fairy tale of Cinderella and her pumpkin carriage is spun, and the next morning her prince comes to collect her.

Gregory Maguire seems to have this ability to change your opnion of people such as the ugly stepsisters in the classic story, who everyone has grown to hate, and make you feel sympathetic for them. Especially Iris who is slightly at odds agianst the world due to her plainess, in a world who only properly accepts beauty into the higher society.

What i do like most about this story is how it does give us a different outlook on the ugly stepsister, yes this novel and classic story are not the same, so the sisters past will obviously be different, but it makes you think what really did bring the sisters and there mother to meet Cinderella's father, why are they so mean and cruel, and I guess it's hard when you have a strict and hateful mother like they do.

I only had one dissapointment about the book, but I see that as a fault to myself. I thought the end of the book wasnt as developed as it could be, but maybe seeing as I was almost asleep when I finished the book, i didnt fully understand the ending.

But all in all the book was very good and I recommend this book to anyone who is particually intrested in fairytales and think like this.

I give this book

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