Book Review: Fairy Tales with a Freudian Flair


Fairy Tales With a Freudian Flair by S. Joan Popek (self-pub, 2013; I think previously pubbed about ten years ago)

A short but entertaining laugh-out-loud analysis of nursery rhymes and fairy tales. The author has given us what she considers more realistic short tales to ponder, what she refers to as “incredibly warped stories”. Although they use standard fairy tale characters, they are not rewrites of the original stories, but rather a very different perspective on the events.

Ms. Popek starts out on nursery rhymes. Little Johnny Finn obviously likes watching animals suffer, since he put pussy in the well; Jack the Nimble was a pyromaniac; the Little Old Lady who lived in the Shoe was guilty of child abuse. Oh, and let us not forget Georgie Porgie, who tempted little girls with sweets and then molested them.

She then moves right along to the fairy tales. Her analysis of Rumplestiltskin, for example, leads us to understand her conclusion that “We have a lying S.O.B. of a father, a greedy king, a morally challenged little man, and a young girl that has learned to lie, cheat and steal to get what she wants.” Along the way she speculates about Rumple’s possible involvement in black market baby selling–why else would he want the girl’s firstborn child?

The ten short stories–ranging from half a page to ten pages in length each–are highly warped but far more realistic and believable versions of princesses kidnapped by trolls, fairy godmothers, leprechauns, handsome princes, and not-so-evil stepmothers. If you’ve got a spare hour and want a good laugh–and a truly enlightening look at what we’re teaching our children with bedtime stories–try this “collection of frivolous fallacies”.


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