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Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory…
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Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (1999)

by Gregory Maguire

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,270126781 (3.51)139
  1. 42
    Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire (Kerian)
    Kerian: The retold fairy tale series edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling is also very good. Each book is a collection of short stories.
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» See also 139 mentions

English (124)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (126)
Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
More revisionist fairy tales, from the author of "Wicked."
  librisissimo | Apr 13, 2019 |
Not as good as Wicked, but still good. It cleverly discusses issues of trade, beauty/ugliness, relationships of spouses and children. ( )
  VhartPowers | Dec 27, 2018 |
I became a fan of Gregory Maguire after reading Wicked, and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister did not disappoint. The author's wild imagination weaves a Cinderella story that far surpasses the original, IMHO. Maguire writes with such detail and with that I found it impossible to put this book down, and I look forward to his other tales . ( )
  CYGeeker | Sep 6, 2018 |
I am a grown up who still loves Cinderella. This is not that story. If you can put that aside and open yourself to something different, this is a unique tale. ( )
  godmotherx5 | Apr 5, 2018 |
So disappointing. ( )
  SMBrick | Feb 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gregory Maguireprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sanderson, BillIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Andy Newman
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Hobbling home under a mackerel sky, I came upon a group of children.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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AR 6.2, 15 Pts
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060987529, Paperback)

Gregory Maguire's chilling, wonderful retelling of Cinderella is a study in contrasts. Love and hate, beauty and ugliness, cruelty and charity--each idea is stripped of its ethical trappings, smashed up against its opposite number, and laid bare for our examination. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister begins in 17th-century Holland, where the two Fisher sisters and their mother have fled to escape a hostile England. Maguire's characters are at once more human and more fanciful than their fairy-tale originals. Plain but smart Iris and her sister, Ruth, a hulking simpleton, are dazed and terrified as their mother, Margarethe, urges them into the strange Dutch streets. Within days, purposeful Margarethe has secured the family a place in the home of an aspiring painter, where for a short time, they find happiness.

But this is Cinderella, after all, and tragedy is inevitable. When a wealthy tulip speculator commissions the painter to capture his blindingly lovely daughter, Clara, on canvas, Margarethe jumps at the chance to better their lot. "Give me room to cast my eel spear, and let follow what may," she crows, and the Fisher family abandons the artist for the upper-crust Van den Meers.

When Van den Meer's wife dies during childbirth, the stage is set for Margarethe to take over the household and for Clara to adopt the role of "Cinderling" in order to survive. What follows is a changeling adventure, and of course a ball, a handsome prince, a lost slipper, and what might even be a fairy godmother. In a single magic night, the exquisite and the ugly swirl around in a heated mix:

Everything about this moment hovers, trembles, all their sweet, unreasonable hopes on view before anything has had the chance to go wrong. A stepsister spins on black and white tiles, in glass slippers and a gold gown, and two stepsisters watch with unrelieved admiration. The light pours in, strengthening in its golden hue as the sun sinks and the evening approaches. Clara is as otherworldly as the Donkeywoman, the Girl-Boy. Extreme beauty is an affliction...
But beyond these familiar elements, Maguire's second novel becomes something else altogether--a morality play, a psychological study, a feminist manifesto, or perhaps a plain explanation of what it is to be human. Villains turn out to be heroes, and heroes disappoint. The story's narrator wryly observes, "In the lives of children, pumpkins can turn into coaches, mice and rats into human beings. When we grow up, we learn that it's far more common for human beings to turn into rats." --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:23 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

On seeing her portrait, a servant girl modelling for an artist in 17th century Holland realizes she is ugly. But the portrait opens her eyes to the world of art, she becomes a painter and is transformed by her work so that when a prince charming appears she is no longer ugly.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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