Monday, June 20, 2011

The Girl Who Circumnativated Fairyland.... - A Review

I read a lot of books, they are the single greatest thing to come into existence for mankind. They are even more important to us than sanitation (as professed by the late Donnie Darko). Books shape and influence us from childhood to adulthood. How many have read Ayn Rand and taken that as a philosophy ( not me thankfully) or wanted to go to school at Hogwarts after reading Harry Potter?

Something many do not know about me is that I read and hoard progressive children's books out of a desire to retain my childhood as well as pass them on to the next generation. Children's books are amazing and often exhibit a very different effect on children than they do on adults. For instance, when reading Coraline by Neil Gaimen, children thought it a wonderful adventure while adults thought of it as a horror story, you will just have to take my word for that since I can't seem to find the original article I read that in.

I recently came across The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making, by C.M. Valente at my local hobby, gaming and Sci Fi book store. I picked it up immediately. It had the same chapter titleing and witty verbose prose as my, until now, favorite children's book Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C Wrede. To have replaced dealing with dragons as my favorite progressive feminist children's book is an impressive the feet. Cimorene, the main character of the book is quite the kick ass princess. To come up with something that can spare with that girl's adventures is astounding.

I don't usually review books but I felt this one needed it!

Valente's book follows the adventures of a disenchanted young girl named September ( who was born in May) and her adventures in Fairyland. Ya i know, DUH! that's the basically the title. But it is so much more than that too. Valente creates wonderful characters that are dynamic and modern but remember their roots too. And these roots run deep.

The female role models in the book speak of self sufficiency and individuality. September, of course, is the prime model. She is the young girl who has not been told that she can't and if she is, she refuses to listen. She is clever, humble and does not seek approval.

But ever present in September's mind is her mother, who despite never being overtly stated, seems to be a WW2 female domestic mechanic who supports her young daughter and teaches September, normally male, virtues and talents such as engineering, problem solving and self reliance.

The males in her story are not impotent but they are completely real and vulnerable. They are not superlative and they are certainly not without their power. This power is always matched to a female counterpart however.

But enough of the wonderfully feminist aspects of this book. The prose itself is wonderful. While they are verbose the sentences roll off of your tongue in such a pleasant manner many of them scream to be read aloud (and they certainly were). The prose left a smile on my face, like each little paragraph is a gem in of itself and the book in it's entirety comprises a wonderful work of art shining with beautiful inlay.

The book will delight children and adults alike. Though I feel to those males who read it her imagery and choices with regards to similes, metaphors and observations may be a bit jarring. She is a clear example of feminist writing, and I believe it is a choice on her part. It was refreshing to read this book that was unabashed in it's utilization of a subjective female experience to convey the story.

Valente is no one hit wonder either. She may have hit the charts with this book ( New York Times Bestseller) but her other books seem to keep up to par with Circumnavigate. I am currently reading The Orphan's Tale Vol 1 and can't put it down. I am sure I will end up reading more. One nice thing is that you can read a lot of her writing for free, including the first 2/3 of Circumnaviated on one of her many websites.

But Anyway how bout some eye candy? 
I got a few commissions that were recently finished and managed to clear the painting table of buisness ( at least temporarily).The first one is an infinity model and the second is the Soda Pop Miniatures mascot: Candy and Cola!

Till next time, Stay frosty!

Steve (It's my blog and I can talk about whatever I want to!)
*all images are property of their respected authors! Except the last two! Those are mine!

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