SPINNING STRAW INTO GOLD: What Fairy Tales Reveal About the Transformations in a Woman's Life

Joan Gould, Author . Random $25.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-394-58532-1

Gould expands on issues raised in her previous volume (Spirals: A Woman's Journey through Family Life ) to show how the stories of Cinderella, Rapunzel and other folk and modern heroines correspond to the real-life stages of women, from budding adolescence to wise old age, in this original, well-written book. "Fairy tales tell us that a day comes when we are due to wake up to a new reality, come to life again transformed... with a sense of wonder at how far we've come," she writes, "along with a twinge of nostalgia for the person we used to call 'me' but for whom we no longer have a name." Snow White, Gould suggests, reflects familiar mother-daughter jealousy, while Sleeping Beauty examines a girl's anxiety about the next stage of her life. While Gould concentrates on classic European fairy tales (the Grimm brothers; Charles Perrault), she also examines fairy tale themes in Greek myths (Persephone; Psyche) and popular movies and novels (Pretty Woman ; Jane Eyre ). Without interrupting the flow of commentary, she also refers to her own transformations as a woman and the perspectives of female acquaintances and family members. With its smooth prose and snappy fairy tale summaries, this book should have broad appeal to women's studies students, folk history buffs and casual readers searching for a better understanding of their own lives. Agent, Harold Ober Associates. (Feb. 22)

Reviewed on: 12/20/2004
Release date: 02/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 417 pages - 978-0-8129-7545-1
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