Are we too old for fairy-tales?

I am reading “Between the Lines” by Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer. I am not ashamed to admit that as an adult I’m reading a teenage fairy tale. A book that some people would argue is not for someone my age and that I should be reading something else. Like the main character herself I am questioning the reason for reading a book that I really enjoy.

I decided on reading this book because I have never read anything by Jodi Picoult. So many of my friends have read her work and I don’t know why I never have. A while ago a friend of mine suggested that I read her books because she felt they were engaging. She thought that I would like her stories because people can relate to them.

In picking up a book that is essentially a fairy tale. You might be asking; can anyone relate to that? If we look back to when fairy-tales were first written. Most of them are quite gory, there are acts of cruelty, characters cutting body-parts up, etc. It has only been over time where fairy-tales have become friendlier or ‘disneyed’. The Disney versions do not appear to be relatable.

Fairy-tales are a place that begins in “Once upon a time” and ends in “They lived happily ever-after”. If I was generalising I would say that most girls dream of being a Princess and having their Prince come and rescue them. When we watch a Disney adaptation of a fairy-tale we are lead to believe that for 90 mins that if we wish upon a star our dreams will come true and we will be forever happy.

Do we grow out of this dream? Can this dream come true? If we live by good morals and work hard will we eventually be leading a happy life.

The first part of “Between the Lines” does start with “Once upon a time”. It continues for a while with other classic fairy-tale lines. As we delve into the story though it develops as a story of fantasy vs reality. Delilah the main female character is contemplating her life believing to be of a miserable one. She is captured by the fairy-tale she is reading because Oliver the Prince in the story is somewhat similar to her. Delilah and myself might as well be the same person or at least in some ways.

I have been captured by her story in a very similar way. I’ve grown up enough to realise the difference between feeling miserable and actually believing I have a miserable life. Thank goodness for that. At the age of 15 like Delilah though I thought differently. I’m very close to being ten years older than 15.

Because of this I’ve been reflecting a lot on who I was then and who I am now. This book couldn’t have come at a better time, really. It has landed in my lap at time when I most need it. It is reminding me that at 15 I had so many worries, I thought so badly of the person that I was, I cared too much about what other people thought. I didn’t really think I was going anywhere. It mostly came down to superficial “stuff”.

I used to think that the image I portrayed on the the outside was a reflection of who I was on the inside. That the clothes I wore, the house I lived in or the possessions I owned meant something. Most teenagers might be thinking that they feel as though their every movements are being watched. By not only their family and friends but even by strangers.

We grow up to realise that the majority of people on this planet have no idea who you are or that you even exist. Why would they care about the clothes you wear on your back? I wish I could tell my 15 year old self to chill out and relax. If I had a chance to be 15 again there are so many things I’d do differently.

I guess that is why I really like this book. It is an easy read and has taken my only a few days to nearly get to the end. But it is good because in its simplicity I have found a story where I can really see myself. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t intended to be read by adults. It doesn’t matter that it has fairy-tale like themes,etc. It doesn’t matter that what happens in this story would probably never happen in reality. What matters is that I have gotten something out of it… and that I’m sure other people have too.

Are we ever too old for fairy-tales?

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