U is for Ugly Duckling

Unknown-8I’m a big fan of fairy tales. I’ve heard about them from my grandmother, and then as I got older, I bought and devoured anthologies full of Hans Christian Andersen and Grimm’s Fairy tales.

The Ugly Duckling, by Hans Christian Andersen, is one of the earliest stories I remember hearing about bullying. Of course, most people who think of the story will tell you that it’s about an ugly duck who becomes a swan, and how beauty can blossom.

But when I read this story, it made me realize that others will bully anyone who is different. Ugly is just one thing.

When I was little, I was bullied by a bunch of different kids. I was called names that seem laughable to me now. Sometimes I thought that meant there was something wrong with me, but eventually, after I realized that people will pick on anyone who’s different, I decided to embrace my differentness.

By the time I got to high school, most people didn’t bother to pick on me anymore. And if they did, I turned it into a joke or insulted their lame insults. I pretended that nothing bothered me, and sometimes I even believed it.

The point of the story in the end is that the ugly duckling is really a swan, and really quite pretty. But the more important part is that the ugly duckling has become pretty because he’s among swans, among the others who are like him.

I too, eventually found my swans.

“The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.”

― Hans Christian Andersen

Unenchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale)

In general, I’m not a fan of self-published fiction.  I’ve found most of it to be sloppy and poorly edited, the story obviously needing a lot more work.  There’s a reason why the traditional publishing route works.  Much like everyone using a digital camera seems to suddenly think they’re a photographer, so too do many people with access to self-publishing seem to believe they’re authors.

Not so for Chanda Hahn.  I finished Book 3 and was looking at the release date for Book 4 before I realized that she’s self-published.  My first clue was when I noticed that her first book was published last year, and we’re already looking for Book 4?

No matter.  Her books are great.  It’s a young adult tale about Mina Grimm, who is the ancestor of the Brothers Grimm and the recipient of a curse.  She must complete tasks given to her by the Story (modern twists on fairy tales) or suffer the consequences.  They’re well-written and great fun.  I highly recommend you take a look at the first one.  If you like young adult fiction, you’ll be hooked!

One of the reasons I like the story is that it doesn’t water down any of the bad guys.  There are werewolves and shape shifters, giants and witches.  Many of them want to kill Mina, and none of them sparkle!  There’s a theme of good vs. evil and the question of redemption running through it.  I like layered young adult fiction, that can be enjoyed lightly or can be used to ask bigger questions about life.

Check this out on Amazon… the first one is FREE on Kindle!