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The Ravenous Gown: And 14 More Tales about Real Beauty Paperback – March 24, 2015
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About the Author
Steffani Raff is a master of metaphor. She draws on her many years of experience as a professional storyteller to give strength and flexibility to her writing. You’ll find her writing captures the voice, humor, and pacing of listening to a story in live performance and begs to be read aloud. Her knowledge and experience with the power of story to inspire, as well as entertain, allows her to address ideas in fresh and engaging ways.
As a mother of six she has applied the power of story in parenting and champions the art of storytelling at home through her blog www.storypossibilities.com and website www.piratesandpajamas.com.
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I can't say it any clearer then this: I LOVE this book. Period. I think there are a couple minor things that I would differ on, like in “Cinderella- Sort of”...I think the heroine should have told her future spouse up front about how she lost the heel. I made sure my honey got a complete list of all of the skeletons in my closet before we swapped rings, because I believe honesty is necessary to the foundation of any relationship, and it was also important to me to know that whoever I married could love me even seeing the warts that weren't visible to the naked eye. I also think that as women we also need to recognize that a street goes both ways...if we want to be seen for our inner beauty, well...I've known many a woman that wanted that but still chased after prince charming bad boys, who of course ended up being big bad wolves in disguise. This is hinted at a bit in a couple of the stories, but I think this is something that is women we need to work on just as much as loving ourselves.
The central message of this book seems to be that we can be our own heroes, slay our own dragons, and be whatever we want to be, but that we have to be careful about what we tell ourselves if we want to be victorious in that quest, and that is something I agree with and love. It is has beautiful messages about valuing inner beauty over outer, the changeable nature of a human form...and that is one I really get behind and support. In American culture in particular, we are very youth conscious, and so much of what we equate with love is really about physical attraction. Any number of things can alter how a person looks on the outside. I love the story in which the girl plugs here ears so that she can't hear the negative messages from the stones telling her she's not good enough. As women, most of us won't look like the current accepted standard of beauty in this society. But the voices telling us how important it is to be that way our loud, and hard to drown out. And if you can't drown them out, finding happiness and joy in the journey can be elusive.
One of my personal favorites is “The Reluctant Knight.” I agree with two of the main messages and have experience them myself, for instance that often a woman has to seen to have traits that are more traditionally associated with male roles in order to be taken seriously in certain environments, but that really should change. And I love that while the princess wants to be respected and taken seriously, she still wants to be a princess. For some women, their interpretation of feminism seems to reject that any true feminist could want to, for example, be a stay at home mom. But I think the best interpretation of this is that, as a woman, I can do and am capable of many things, and I can choose what I want to do, and what I want to be (at least, blessedly, in this society...in many places around the world, women are not so fortunate). For me, that means I am a mom and I stay at home to provide the supports my family needs at this time, and that is the dream I chose in the end because it is the dream that meant the most to me. I love that this story says to little girls, hey. Be strong, do great things, and you can still be the princess if that is what you want to be.
I think the Discussion Question portion of the book is good also, because it challenges young girls to really think about why they feel a certain way, and I love that she owns up the inspirations behind some of her stories, many authors don't do that. I'm a big fan of honesty ;)
For me, I am super happy I purchased this book, and I'm excited to read it with my daughter if that's what she wants, or if she wants to read it by herself, I feel very comfortable letting her do that to. This is one cool book, and I think our women and girls of all ages could benefit from hearing these messages more.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to spend time reading with a child. I think life lessons can be taught one on one, and this book does that in a fun and entertaining way.