Cinderella Liberator

by Rebecca Solnit

Other authorsArthur Rackham (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2019

Call number



Haymarket Books (2019), Edition: Later Printing, 32 pages


Cinderella's fairy godmother helps her to attend a ball and then to liberate herself, the prince, the animal helpers, and even her stepmother and stepsisters.

User reviews

LibraryThing member pomo58
I was first drawn to Cinderella Liberator because of the author, Rebecca Solnit. I have found her other books to be very informative while also being enjoyable reads. In this case, I was not disappointed.

Like any retelling this will have pluses and minuses for each reader. Partly because fairy tales fall into that middle ground, in spite of the whitewashing and "cleaning up" that has culminated with Disney being most associated with them. They were never meant strictly for children, they were meant for both children and adults (the ones who have to repeat them ad nauseam) and, since children weren't quite so coddled when fairy tales were first being told, they weren't all sweetness and bubble gum. So as contemporary readers we tend to lament that they are either to much for the children and don't serve whatever purpose we think they should, or they are too much for the adults and again don't serve the purpose we think they should. Given that, most readers will easily find something to complain about, that is the easy part. Complaining and pointing out flaws has become second nature in contemporary society and often confused for intelligent discourse. So, yes, this book, in places, appeals more to the children (repetition and basic tropes adults grow tired of) and appeals more to adults (clear lessons we might think are important, certain humorous asides). The funny thing is, even those generalizations don't hold because we want lessons there FOR the children whether they notice or enjoy that part, and the repetition, for an adult reading a fairy tale as a fairy tale, the repetition should, for an active reader, take them back to when they were young and enjoyed that aspect of fairy tales. It is part of why we still enjoy reading them to our children.

Having gotten by all the obvious and easy targets for "critique" I really just want to say that if you want a retelling of the Cinderella story that serves as both a bedtime story for small children (this can't realistically be compared, favorably or not, with retellings meant for middle school or older) and a story that gives lessons that are more pertinent to this period in history, this will be a wonderful option for you. If, however, you just want to compare and contrast with real or imagined retellings that aren't even aimed at the same demographic, well, this might make you feel pretty smart, though not likely in the eyes of those you whine to.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via Edelweiss.
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LibraryThing member angiestahl
I loved everything about this - both the retelling and the vintage illustrations. It's a super-charming version that values friendship and accepting people for who they are and the potential they have within them.

in In this version, Cinderella, the Prince, and at least one of the stepsisters come to realize what makes them happiest and are 'liberated' by pursuing a path and life that is fulfilling to them. This is a generous version in which everyone can attain their own version of a happily ever after.

It is refreshingly positive, encouraging and motivating, without being wedded to gender role stereotypes for those who follow the beat of a different drummer OR resorting to bashing conventional perspectives for those who are more traditionally-inclined. If I was curating a small library of things everyone should read at least once, this would be in it. Recommended.
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LibraryThing member lisapeet
Great contemporary retelling of the Cinderella story by Solnit, kind of a Stories for Free Children (dating myself here) for the new century. If I had youngsters I would definitely read them this... guess I'll just hold out for grandchildren someday. In the meantime it was fun, though, and I love her use of Arthur Rackham's original--and totally timeless--illustrations.… (more)




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