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Book Review: The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers

This is a collection of “gruesome tales,” compiled and re-told by Jen Campbell, along with amazing illustrations by Adam de Souza.

book cover held by gordon meyer

The memorable and striking tales are from all over the world. (As you might gather, from the titular story.) Campbell, in the afterword, explains that she has made every effort to restore the stories to their original, dark content. (Many fairy tales have been neutered by well-meaning parents and Hollywood execs.) She has also stripped them of any moralistic addendums that some re-tellers insist on adding. (I’m looking at you, Grimm brothers.) The result is remarkable, sparse, and hair-raising. In nearly every case, I wanted to immediately close the book and find someone to share the story with. These are not the Disney-fied fairy tales of your youth.

Also following a grand tradition, Campbell has, in some cases, slightly tweaked the stories to suit her own, modern sensibilities. That is, sometimes genders have been changed, or situations adapted to be more inclusive. This is done deftly, and had she not mentioned it in the afterword, I wouldn’t have noticed. Bravo.

Treat yourself to this book. It’s a keeper, and a conversation piece. You can get a copy at Quimby’s, as I did, or of course, the Amazon. (If you’re hesitant to dive into a so-called “Children’s book,” you need to read this other review of mine.)

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