Friday, January 27, 2012

FOODFIC: The Wide-Awake Princess - E.D. Baker

This 8th book in a series that began with The Frog Princess (on which the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog is based) takes a new slant on my childhood favorite princess tale, Sleeping Beauty. The wide-awake princess is, in fact, S.B.’s younger sister Annabelle, whose parents are so desperate to prevent another curse on their second child that they call in a favorite fairy godmother for a preemptive, pre-christening strike. Annabelle is blessed/cursed by a protective spell that ensures she cannot be touched by any magic, good or bad. She will thus be forever safe from magical harm, but will also be “without magic to make her beautiful or graceful or sweet.” 

My reaction (after Ooh, this is gonna be good):
Does this mean she’ll get to eat? Because the only princess I remember taking a bite of anything was Snow White, and we all know where that apple got her.

So yes, Annie does eat; ham is one of the things she packs when she flees the castle before the rapidly growing enchanted roses can entomb her with the rest of the cursed, sleeping court. Her heroic flight also reveals to her those responsible for planting the treacherous spinning wheel; Annie finds them in the woods just beyond the secret passage she cleverly navigates to escape. She’s drawn by the smell of cooking bacon to the trio made obviously rotten as soon as one said, “I likes it limp, not that burnt stuff you always make.”  Nobody of sound mind (or mouth) chooses gummy bacon; might as well run up a red flag emblazoned with a “B” for bad right on it.

Baker also gives a nod to another classic fairy tale with Granny Bentbone and her gingerbread cottage, but that’s not the witty allusion/sub-plot that grabbed my sense of taste, either. 

 No, I was most struck by the fairy Sweetness N Light, master of the Garden of Happiness and bestower of the protective spell that merely put Sleeping Beauty to sleep instead of to death. Annie must find her to learn how to shorten the 100-year slumber to have any hope of actually seeing her family again in her mortal lifetime. 

Now, are you thinking the same thing I did? That Sweetness N Light looks an awful like Sweet N Low? Well, if you weren’t before, I bet you are now :) The thing is, it’s not a completely ridiculous association, because the fairy is a bit too sweet, a bit fake, and leaves an odd taste in your mouth – not wholly unlike the contents of those little pink packets. Was this the author’s intention? With all the thought put into the rest of the names, places, and descriptions, it very well could be…

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I like retellings as long as they have a good spin on the original story. Thanks for sharing this.