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Book Review: Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After & Only Prince Charming Gets to Break the Rules, by Anne E. Beall

I accepted copies of Anne E. Beall’s Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After and Only Prince Charming Gets to Break the Rules through iRead Book Tours. I don’t always post reviews here on the blog of the non-fiction I read. But since I was sent copies of these books, I am this time. anne e beall book covers

About Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After:

Did Cinderella live happily ever after? One might think so until you look more closely at the hidden messages in beloved fairy tales. In Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After, fairy tales are analyzed in terms of the underlying messages about marriage, agency, power, suffering, and good versus evil, with a focus on how male and female characters differ in each of these areas. The analysis is a data-driven approach that provides clear evidence for the hidden messages in these beloved tales. The end conclusion is not whether fairy tales are good or bad but rather what messages they deliver about life, even if unintentionally.

My Review:

I think how successful Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After is depends on the author’s goal and intended audience. To those with any background in gender or literary study, the results of Beall’s content analysis of 200ish Grimm (so mostly German) fairy tales are so to-be-expected that they almost could have gone without saying. (The same is true of the survey conducted.) And the method section and data tables being at the end make them so easy to skip as to defeat their own purpose.

So, for the gender scholar, the book holds little new information. On the other end of the spectrum are those who are not able or willing to believe that the narratives we tell ourselves and raise our children on construct the realities we live. I see a few in the review sections of the book already crying, ‘It’s just a fairy tale; don’t take it so seriously.’ This book, or likely any other, will not convince them to change their minds.

But between the two of them is the student, middle and early secondary especially. Those old enough to read and understand nonfiction but young enough to need to be fed results in the ‘1/3 did this,’ ‘a 1/4 contained that’ format, with very little methodological explanation, depth, or nuance. For this audience, I think Beall’s book is just about perfect. I think it should be in school libraries everywhere. (Unless, of course, the book banners come for it because it highlights the subtle ways the patriarchy passes itself from generation to generation.)

There is a follow-up book, Only Prince Charming Gets to Break the Rules: Gender and Rule Violation in Fairy Tales and Life, which I have not yet read but intend to. Perhaps it builds on this book’s findings or takes the research in a different direction. But my pre-read thought is, why are they two books? This one is barely 70 pages long once you take out all the tables at the end, which I suspect few will continuously flip back and forward to examine. So, it feels like they could be a single work. We’ll see. In the meantime, request one for your school or library; how about?

Anne e Beall books photo

About Only Prince Charming Gets to Break the Rules:

Explore the fascinating link between gender stereotypes in fairy tales and real-world life with Only Prince Charming Gets to Break the Gender and Rule Violation in Fairy Tales and Life . This thought-provoking book carefully analyzes 200 folktales and fairy tales from around the world, uncovering a universal disparity in how male and female characters are punished for breaking the rules. Through a blend of thorough research and literary investigation, the book sheds light on how these stereotypes affect our families, politics, and education. A powerful feminist critique of social norms, this academic yet accessible exploration shows how our most cherished tales shape our cultures.

Proceeds from this book will be donated to Empowering Girls for Life (EGFL), a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating the female leaders of tomorrow by empowering girls today. EGFL is located in Lombard, IL.

My review:

I thought Only Prince Charming Gets to Break the Rules a better book than Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After. Both, however, serve a purpose and, I think, contribute to the larger body of research on fairy tales. Ultimately, I think this book shines in many of the same ways and suffers from many of the same faults as the previous one.

Like that previous book, I think this one best suited to young researchers. Beall, for example, takes the time to include a footnote explaining what statistical significance is the first time the term is used. It will be imminently engageable for younger learners and a great entry point to social science. And also similar to the first book, I think the findings are exactly what would be anecdotally expected.  That men get away with a lot more than women do, across the board, throughout time and geography, even in our fairy tales, should surprise no one. And like with Beall’s early work, I find that having all the methodology and tables at the back makes them too easy to ignore, leaving the book less than 100 pages (which a younger researcher might very much appreciate, less intimidating).

All in all, however, I really hope this finds its way into school libraries around the country.

Other Reviews:

Amy’s Booksy: Anne E. Beall Reviews



TourBanner_Weep, Woman, Weep

Book Review: Weep, Woman, Weep – by Maria DeBlassie

I agreed to review Maria DeBlassie‘s Weep, Woman, Weep as part of its Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour. The book has also previously been featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can nip on over there for author information and an excerpt.


The women of Sueño, New Mexico don’t know how to live a life without sorrows. That’s La Llorona’s doing. She roams the waterways looking for the next generation of girls to baptize, filling them with more tears than any woman should have to hold. And there’s not much they can do about the Weeping Woman except to avoid walking along the riverbank at night and to try to keep their sadness in check. That’s what attracts her to them: the pain and heartache that gets passed down from one generation of women to the next.

Mercy knows this, probably better than anyone. She lost her best friend to La Llorona and almost found a watery grave herself. But she survived. Only she didn’t come back quite right and she knows La Llorona won’t be satisfied until she drags the one soul that got away back to the bottom of the river.

In a battle for her life, Mercy fights to break the chains of generational trauma and reclaim her soul free from ancestral hauntings by turning to the only things that she knows can save her: plant medicine, pulp books, and the promise of a love so strong not even La Llorona can stop it from happening. What unfolds is a stunning tale of one woman’s journey into magic, healing, and rebirth.

my review
I admit that I am not really a raver. I tend to be fairly reserved in my praise. Regardless, I have to say that Weep, Woman, Weep is a truly exceptional story of surviving and escaping generational trauma (sometimes over generations, by virtue of dilution as much as individual grit). Through Mercy the reader is able to see the struggles and challenges of the endeavor—as well as the failures— and feel the exuberance of growth, revelation, freedom, and rejuvenation.

The writing is haunting and lyrical (quite gothic) and DeBlassie manages to relay the despair and dangers to Mercy’s (and the other young women of her town) without forcing the reader to sit through anything graphic for the shock factor. (It wasn’t needed.) The characters are likeable and distinct. The editing is clean and the cover is gorgeous. Whether you call it gothic horror, fairy-tales, or magical realism, I’ll be well up for more of DeBlassie’s writing.


Other Reviews:

Coffee and Wander Books – Review: Weep, Woman, Weep

Review: Weep, Woman, Weep by Maria DeBlassie (2021)

Weep, Woman, Weep

the faceless woman

Book Review of The Faceless Woman (The Otherworld #4), by Emma Hamm

I received an Audible code for a copy of Emma Hamm‘s The Faceless Woman, narrated by Siobhan Waring.

Description from Goodreads:

Once upon a time…

A town will only suffer the presence of a witch for as long as she is useful. Aisling watches the flames lick her thighs and prays for a quick death. But when an Unseelie prince appears through the smoke, she does what any self respecting witch would do.

She curses him.

Bran should never have traveled to the human realm, and is shocked when a witch binds them together. His life is hers and he refuses to die. He saves her from the fires, casts a hex on the townsfolk for good measure, then whisks her away to safety. His only stipulation? She has to remove the binding curse.

Unfortunately for them both, she can’t. Witch and Unseelie must travel across the Otherworld to break the ties that bind them. Secrets and lies stand between them, but both will stop at nothing to save themselves.


I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I love that almost every time I thought it was going to fall into some PNR trope it subverted it. Here’s an example (I’m paraphrasing), during the only (mild) sex scene Bran trotted out the common “say ‘no’ now, I won’t stop after this.” I hate when heroes do this and you hear it all the time in PNR, like the hero he isn’t saying “I’ll just go ahead and rape you if you try and stop me past this point” and the reader is supposed to feel it’s something else, romantic even. I groaned when he said it and then cheered when her response was, “I don’t want you to stop, but if you think I couldn’t stop you if I wanted to, you don’t know me well.”

That’s Aisling in a nutshell, never afraid to call someone out, never making herself smaller, never dulling her shine for someone else, but also never falling into harridan or shrew. I so much appreciated that both she and Bran were as honest with each other as they could be, never faulted the other for what was out of their control, and Hamm never took the easy ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘angry over secrets’ plotting path.

I look forward to reading more of this series, maybe going back and starting at the beginning. And if I can get the audio, even better, because Siobhan Waring did a marvelous job.