Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

The secret of having an adventure is getting lost. Who ever visited an enchanted kingdom or fell into a fairy tale without wandering into the woods first?

Well, Mary is lost. Mary is lost in the story of Little Red Riding Hood, and that is a cruel and murderous story. She’s put on the red hood and met the Wolf. When she gives in to her Wolf’s temptations, she will die. That’s how the story goes, after all.

Unfortunately for the story and unfortunately for the Wolf, this Little Red Riding Hood is Mary Stuart, and she is the most stubborn and contrary twelve year old the world has ever known.

Forget the Wolf’s temptations, forget the advice of the talking rat trying to save her – she will kick her way through every myth and fairy tale ever told until she finds a way to get out of this alive. Her own way, and no one else’s.

Did I like this book?

It had a pretty interesting concept and the writing wasn’t terrible.  I think what made me uncomfortable is that the main character is a twelve year old girl dealing with some very adult concepts.

I mean, she’s running away from a Wolf that says things like:

I dreamed, Red.  I dreamed of you. […] I dreamed of you over and over, and now I can’t wait anymore. I’m drowning in those dreams. Tonight you’re going to make one of them come true. Which one is up to you. If you won’t choose, I’ll kill you and eat you. I promise that every night for a thousand years, I’ll dream about sharing the last seconds of your life.


The thing is, this twelve year old has a terrible attitude which is why she ends up smashing through everyone else’s stories.  And the reason she has this terrible attitude is because in the real world she lives with a drunken abusive mother whose boyfriend had attempted to take advantage of her. He doesn’t completely succeed, but it’s enough that Mary is fully aware of the Wolf’s meanings.

But because she’s so aware, she’s also able to see through people’s bullsh*t and that helps her survive and avoid the typical pitfalls of fairyland tales.

I would like to say that she’s never actually tempted by the Wolf (otherwise this would have really been weird).  He throws a few startlingly accurate insights about her personality at her, which throw her off balance while she argues with him, but she is never once actually tempted by him.

I’m genuinely not sure how I feel about this one.  It could be an interesting take on how this kind of abuse can affect a person or it could be just be plain weird.

I honestly don’t know.


3 thoughts on “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

  1. As a twelve-year-old, I do remember appreciating books that acknowledged that I was sometimes put into adult situations. This story mirrors the darkness of the original tale, but based on your description it does not sounds like a story I want to delve into. I was also much more naïve than Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

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