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Book Details:
Book Title:  Cinderella Didn't Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales by Anne E. Beall
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  126 pages
GenreFeminist, Fairy Tales, Literary Criticism
Publisher:  Independent Publishing
Release date:  November 17, 2018
Content Rating:  PG + M. Some fairy tales are a bit gruesome but there is no bad language or explicit sex. 

 Book Description:

Did Cinderella live happily ever after? You might think so until you look more closely at the hidden messages in beloved fairy tales. In this book, 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.

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Guest Post
Although many fairy tales feature female characters who need to be saved, there are less well-known tales in which female heroines save handsome princes. I wanted to share an Indonesian tale with such a heroine. It’s called Princess Kemang.

Princess Kemang loved to hunt, fish, and hike in the forest. One day she went on an adventure with her dog, and they ended up in a strange meadow where a striped deer ran in front of her. She tracked it to a mango tree. The tree spoke, telling her not to chase the deer because it was a tiger. Princess Kemang would not listen. She climbed the tree and killed the tiger. The tree shuddered and turned into a handsome prince. She fell madly in love with him at first sight, and he explained he was the Guardian of the Forest.

“Come home with me,” she said.

“I cannot leave this place to be with you. Everything here lies under a terrible enchantment, and I am its ruler. So, until the enchantment is broken, and the forest can turn back into the kingdom, I must remain here.”

Princes Kemang told him she would return.

“Be careful, for there are evil forces… You must use your wits instead of your bow or sword,” he warned.

Then he turned back into a tree. She and her dog left. A small cat emerged and transformed into a tiger and ate her dog. She readied to kill it but remembered the warning, “use your wits instead of your sword.” So she refrained from killing it and went home.

Princess Kemang came to a river that was now full of crocodiles—1,000 of them! They told her they would eat her. As she reached for her sword, she again remembered the warning. She explained she could fight 1,000 crocodiles, but she must first count them. The crocodiles lined up—they reached from one side of the river to the other. She walked on each one counting, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… By 97 she had crossed the river. She reached her home and told her parents about her adventure. They were happy the Guardian gave her such good advice.

The next morning, a handsome man knocked at her palace door. He said, “Princess Kemang’s escape from the tiger and the crocodiles has broken the spell. All my kingdom is as it once was. All it needs is a queen.”

So, Princess Kemang and the Guardian married, and for the rest of their lives, they walked the hills together without the fear of tigers, and swam the rivers, now clear of crocodiles. They climbed trees and sat hand-in-hand in the meadows.

 Thank you so much. 

-Anne Beall

My Review
Cinderella Didn't Live Happily Ever After is a fascinating book that delves into the problems that seem to be prevalent within many different fairy tales. Most popular fairy tales seem to feature women in peril or women who are bad/evil. The men, however, tend to be good, patient, kind, and/or heroic in some way. Most women only seem to have beauty going for them, while a man's looks don't matter as much. This book breaks down Grimm's Fairy Tales, which tend to be more dark, morbid, and, well, grim. There are tons of fascinating snippets from various stories to back up the analytics. And in the back of the book are tables that explain these analytics in easy to understand percentages/details. 
I've always been fascinated by fairy tales, and I was curious about this book when it came across my radar. I found it to be enlightening and also a bit disheartening. Granted, for the time when a lot of these fairy tales were first written down, it makes sense, but for modern times, a lot of popular fairy tales tend to be sexist/misogynistic. Women are either dumb (usually) and attractive, or they're ugly, evil witches. Men are either brave heroes who rescue damsels in distress or benevolent kings who don't have much going for them other than being royalty. 
"Princess culture", as it's called, is also problematic. Disney is part of the reason why, especially since they take a lot of these fairy tales and make them less violent and disturbing so they appeal to the general masses, but kids especially. There is a discussion near the end of the book about studies done on "princess culture", and it does tend to give children, especially girls, unrealistic expectations. 
I know, personally, as a kid in the 90s, Disney animated films were everywhere, and I loved them. I used to wish I could be like Cinderella, who was a nobody who married a prince. I wanted to be Snow White, who made friends with animals and was rescued by a prince. I even wanted to be Jasmine and own a tiger/marry someone who had a magical genie who could grant me wishes. And yes, as someone named Jasmine, I was called "princess" a lot as a kid. It got to the point where I started hating everything relating to Disney princesses. To this day, I still get asked if I was named after Princess Jasmine. I've started telling people yes, that I had no name until I was 7 years old, which is when Aladdin was released. Before that, I was just called "Girl". That usually throws people off. 
To sum things up, I will say I enjoyed the uniqueness of this book. It was a fascinating insight into fairy tales, both popular and some that aren't well known. If diving into the hidden messages within fairy tales is something you think you might like too, check out Cinderella Didn't Live Happily Ever After. 
4 stars!

Meet the Author:

A leader in the field of market research and one of the few female CEOs in the industry, Anne E. Beall is the author of 10 books in business, gender studies, and mindfulness, including Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales and The Psychology of Gender. Her book Heartfelt Connections was named one of the top 100 Notable Indie books in 2016 by Shelf Unbound, and she has published nearly a dozen business articles in noted journals. Her books have been featured in People Magazine, Toronto Sun, Hers Magazine, and Ms. Career Girl, and she has been interviewed by NBC, NPR, and WGN. Having received her PhD in social psychology from Yale University, Anne resides in Evanston, Illinois and is the founder of the market consultancy company Beall Research.

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