Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near


Fairytales for Wilde Girls is a book I went from being thoroughly engrossed in, to thinking it was overwritten, to admiring the luscious descriptions, to feeling a little put off by easy sentimentality, to absolutely loving the bubblegum-goth inspired descriptions, to cringing at a little too much heroine idolising. And yet, Fairytales is a glorious mish-mash of old and young, sweet and bitter, light and dark, classic and unique - so I guess my mixed feelings are quite adequate. Ultimately I quite admire it. It's the kind of writing I was doing and wanted to do in all my own creative writing uni classes, but always felt repressed by students and tutors who wanted serious, hip, navel-gazing statements - 'serious' writing that could only be taken 'seriously' if it was socially and culturally 'serious'. Meanwhile I was writing about trees that uprooted themselves and set off on magical adventures to find water. Fairytales for Wilde Girls speaks to the unadulterated, dreamer me who just wanted my writing to be beautiful.

I do admire creative license when it comes to writing, and lush, creative imagery - although a few instances throughout the book I thought, just a little, it was trying too hard. This relentless style of imagery does suck you in, though, added to the delicious contempo-magic world of Isola. Can a book be gothically sweet? Yes, this one is. It is very whimsical. Although I wish the author had pared back a little when it came to the ending, and tying the story together - it was overly-described, and thus I thought some of the beauty of it was lost.

Fairytales for Wilde Girls is set in among all the things I love - magic, gothic, fairytales, folklore, faerie creatures, coming of age, wicca, secrets, escaping to fantasy places. I love the idea of the six princes, and of having faerie confidants that no one else can communicate with. There are so many ideas here, and they are tied together in a very enthralling way.

The only sub-plot I didn't really care for was Edgar. So Isola got her happily ever after? But for a book that had a very strong feminine, female-orientated focus, I didn't really think the book needed to end with a love declaration to a male character. That is very paranormal-romance for me, and I believe Fairytales was Isola's personal growth story, not a love story.

I love that Random House (my own publishers) have the guts to publish something so unique, risky, and unusual. I don't know if I love it, but I love what it's all about


  1. You make it sound like a box of chocolates! ;-)

    And what you say about your writing classes makes me glad I never did any. I've heard about this sort of class, which is really just aimed at mainstream writers. It would be nice if they had classes in various kinds of genre writing. I *think* you can do some in children's writing -anyway, Hazel Edwards and Michael Hyde teach writing.

  2. Thanks Sue,

    I'm sure there are many wonderful writing classes around ( I have done some brilliant ones at Writers Victoria), I just think that undergrad creative writing courses are obviously trying to encourage you to write well, and ultimately the benchmark for that seems to be straightforward literary classics. I always remember my short story about walking trees barely got a pass, and then a few months later went on to win in a national short story comp!