Book: “Fierce Fairytales: Poems & Stories to Stir Your Soul” by Nikita Gill
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Poet, writer, and Instagram sensation Nikita Gill returns with a collection of fairytales poetically retold for a new generation of women.
Traditional fairytales are rife with cliches and gender stereotypes: beautiful, silent princesses; ugly, jealous, and bitter villainesses; girls who need rescuing; and men who take all the glory.
But in this rousing new prose and poetry collection, Nikita Gill gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Through her gorgeous reimagining of fairytale classics and spellbinding original tales, she dismantles the old-fashioned tropes that have been ingrained in our minds. In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.
Complete with beautifully hand-drawn illustrations by Gill herself, Fierce Fairytales is an empowering collection of poems and stories for a new generation.[Synopsis from Goodreads]
Review of “Fierce Fairytales” or Simply, Why Every Woman Needs to Own This Book
I could easily just copy and paste my review, but I am not going to today, because I can’t stop thinking about this book. Since I finished this book, I’ve told at least three of my girlfriends that they must buy, not borrow, this book. Hell, I’ll even buy them a copy.
In this book, Nikita Gill transforms fairy tales, or simply, every Disney princess cartoon, into something we can truly understand. Like: why was Captain Hook so obsessed with Peter? Why did Gaston turn villainous at the end? Why did Jack sell the cow for three magic beans?
She explains why villains become villains. For the evil witches and queens, she doesn’t let you hate them. She makes sure you understand who they are and how they took strength from the pain they endured, so that they could survive.
But one of the most important aspects of her poems is how she helps explain to you the pain you hold inside yourself. She cracks open your soul and explains why this and that hurt you. And then she shows you that the reason why you are the way you are today is because of this or that. She’s spot on every single time. At least, she was for me.
For example, I recently called it quits with my work husband. It just became too much for me, all the cruelty and passive aggressiveness. When he accused me of betrayal, I felt like the words he spun did not make sense, but then I realized we weren’t talking about some stupid email.
You see, this guy, he’s a hero. He’s someone everyone looks up to and respects. He’s the guy every single person in his field strives to be. He is perfect in every sense of the word. My boss always described him as being someone that walks between the raindrops. Then, all of a sudden, he turned into a villain.
Here’s what helped me understand what happened better:
How a Hero Becomes a Villain[“Fierce Fairytales,” Nikita Gill; pp. 51-52]
Trauma when left untreated
has the capacity to make
a villain out of you.
No one understands how little boys
who save villages, who become war heroes,
who have fathers that just expect
them to be brave no matter the cost
to the insides of their mind, become
villains without even trying to.
How then hearing the word ‘no’ becomes a trigger,
how love rejected becomes
cautiously pieced self-worth dissolved,
how the thought of losing love and it being
given to someone else makes this
entire facade you have carefully constructed fall.
How you weren’t always an arrogant,
self-involved, obsessive bad guy, how that is
just the way you project yourself
to keep the vulnerable little boy hidden;
this is what is expected of you,
the strongest man in the whole village.
How obsession is a symptom of a dark
thing left untreated, and how truthfully
under your brash surface you have kept a beast
inside you secretly hidden, and what seeing the girl you love
hand over her love to someone who looks
just like the demon you fight every night does.
This is how a hero like Gaston
becomes the devil in the story which could
have been about his only chance at finding love.
Take this as your reminder:
Not all heroes wear capes.
Some wear darkness, some wear wounds.
Of course, it made me think back to Valentine’s Day last year. The way he apologized to me and then my response was not one he was expecting. I pushed him towards her and told him to make it the most fucking romantic weekend for her. I watched him flinch, as if his heart broke right there in front of me. What did he expect? I would beg him not to go? Ask him to make it up to me?
I had always suspected he felt more for me than he should have. I feel bad every time I look at him. He wanted me to love him back. I never wanted to break his heart. Instead, he watched me become heartbroken over someone else. He attempted to put me back together again, thinking he would be my knight in shining armor. But then it all fell apart. He wasn’t my “The One.”
He never could be. Why? Because for him, I’m not worth fighting for, but she is. She is worth fighting for until the day he dies. She is worth it. As his friend, I want him to be happy. That’s why she deserved the most fucking romantic weekend ever. She deserves that from him, because she has always loved him freely. He’s just forgotten to see that her love is there.
In the end, I got a Gaston that I knew would try to destroy me the second I tried to break away from him. I saw the beast inside of him come out. That is just something I will never be able to unsee. I mean, how does this perfect hero all of a sudden turn into a villain? Well, read the poem above.
You see, Gill’s words in her book hit me to my very core. That’s why I can’t stop thinking about the things she said in this 155 page book. You know that her work is good when you are constantly churning her words inside your soul, because she touched you in a way that helps you to understand your pain. But it helps you know that you can find strength in understanding that pain.
She has a little something for everyone. From abusive homes to alcoholic parents to getting your heart broken over and over again, she knows. She understands that pain so much, but she knows how to explain our humanity in ways no one else is able to. In the end, she leaves you feeling like everything is going to be alright now.
Ladies, this book is perfect for whatever ails your soul or your heart. She has a prescription for each and every one of us.
You can get your copy of “Fierce Fairytales” at any of these PW approved retailers.