I won’t lie. I feel no love for Grimm’s Fairy Tales and I’m glad that it’s finished. All of your favourite characters are here: Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty … whatever. It was difficult to switch from a very detailed, character-driven Classic like Anna Karenina to the blunt and short Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It felt like I was reading Aesop’s Fables again and I wasn’t crazy about that book either.
While I appreciate how quickly I can read each tale, all of the characters feel like flat cardboard cut-outs. Articles I read said the Brothers Grimm didn’t want to beat around the bush, this was a scholarly work intended to collect and preserve German folklore. They preferred to emphasize the action and resolution of the situation. Okay, I get it. But it’s hard to care about the story without any emotional investment in the characters.
I did appreciate the fantastical elements of the tales, such as animals that could talk, humans that could understand animals, humans with magic powers and objects with magic powers. Also, some of the characters were clever and/or the story humourous. But almost all of the fairy tales resolved difficult circumstances in a paragraph or sentence, there would be a wedding and then everything was peachy keen and everyone lived happily ever after. Even characters that were bad and didn’t even like each other got married and lived happily ever after. I found this super annoying.
The worst part of Grimm’s Fairy Tales is the violence. I knew about it and expected it, but I was still stunned when I read about children being abused and decapitated or young girls being killed and chopped up into pieces. I like horror movies and scary stories, but I was a bit disgusted with these tales. Exactly what values or morals are meant to be taught to children here?
Why You Should Read This Book
Without doubt, Grimm’s Fairy Tales are entrenched in Western culture and even our own subconscious minds in ways we don’t even know. For their historical and cultural significance, it is definitely interesting to read the fairy tales knowing the original intentions of the Brothers Grimm. And who can resist finding out what all the naughty bits are that you didn’t hear as a kid? But lovers of Classic books who are looking for a good story and memorable characters, I don’t recommend it.
As for me, I will never look at fairy tales the same way again.