Rumple What? by Nancy Springer

Rumple What? by Nancy Springer
 Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Length: Short Story (10 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

We’ve all heard the fairy tale of the girl who could spin straw into gold, and the creature that would demand her first-born as payment for helping her achieve the horrible tasks put to her by her father.

Let’s face it, though, The Brothers Grimm couldn’t get the facts of a story straight if their lives depended on it, and this classic tale of excess and woe is certainly no different. Here, revealed for the first time, is the absolutely true account of the events surrounding the spoiled little gold-spinner and her entire wretched family and the poor, innocent imp cheated out of what was rightfully his.

Who would ever empathize with a baby stealer? To be honest Rumplestiltskin has had a public relations problem for centuries, but it’s time to set the record straight.

Rumplestiltskin is a surprisingly easy guy to like once you hear his side of the story. He’s lived a lonely, misunderstood existence for as long as he can remember. I was surprised to read that he’s the only member of his species that anyone has ever met. It was even more shocking to learn that he doesn’t even know what species that might be as his appearance and abilities don’t neatly fit into any predetermined category.

If only the rest of the characters were as personable. The king and the miller’s daughter are so narcissistic I nearly lost interest in what was happening to them. Neither one seems emotionally capable of putting themselves in other people’s shoes or recognizing when they’ve hurt someone. While I completely understand that this story was intended to tell Rumplestiltskin’s version of the story the king and the miller’s daughter had almost no redeeming character traits.

Luckily Ms. Springer has a delightfully wry sense of humor that pokes its head out in unexpected places in this story. Even my growing annoyance with the miller’s daughter and king wasn’t enough to stop me from chuckling at her playful use of language. No sooner would I think I knew where she was going with a description then she would refashion old conventions into something fresh.

Rumple What? is one of the funniest tales I’ve read this spring. It’s a great choice for anyone in desperate need of a good belly laugh.

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