Is The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland – For A Little While (By Catherynne M. Valente) a fairy tale? Why or why not?
Whether or not this story is a fairy tale, I really liked it – but then again, I’m not an especially difficult reader to win over. I was sold by the time that Valente was comparing stories to blueberry patches – born and raised in Maine, I simply had to like it at that point. There was really no choice in the matter.
Also, Mallow is an awesome name, primarily because it is reminiscent of marshmallows. Valente seems to understand that the way to my affections as a reader is by allowing me to taste the story. I appreciate this. I also adore the Shakespearean names of the large cats. This story is so beautiful!
As for whether or not this is a fairy tale – well, it happens in Fairyland, so why shouldn’t it be? I think I tend to favor a broad, inclusive interpretation of the definition of a fairy tale, if only for simplicity’s sake. (If you think it might be a fairy tale, skip the debate and just call it one … then there’s more time to read it!)
More than that though, this story has that magical, otherworldly quality about it that I connect with fairy tales. Reading it was certainly an escape from reality, and I definitely got the sense that things which are impossible here are very possible there. To me, this is definitely a fairy tale, and a very good one too.