Throwing off the chains of political correctness, artist Eric Bergstrom has embraced the grim in fairy tales. While recent years have seen the softening of the often brutal, frightening and politically motivated tales of yore, Bergstrom has been quietly rebelling, reinterpreting and illustrating those familiar stories, returning them to their original intention. Childhood nostalgia aside, the original fairy tales were cautionary, meant to instill a healthy fear or political awareness rather than to aid a child in drifting off to slumber. So, page by page, the author peels away years of niceties, whether in "Three Blind Mice", "Rapunzel" or "Little Boy Blue."
Not for the faint of heart- or impressionable children- adults will appreciate the macabre twist as Rapunzel's hair leads to her demise rather than her rescue and the frog that turns into a prince unfortunately retains some of his more earthy attributes. Pinocchio does some fatal damage as lies tumble from his lips, Goldilocks gets quite a surprise and Sleeping Beauty suffers from serious malnourishment.
Quirky, kinky, irreverent and frequently brilliant, Bergstrom has compiled a refreshing chamber of horrors for those brave enough to peruse and frustrated with the watering down of ageless stories that once induced nightmares and now provide insipid little lessons far removed from their ancestors. With vivid drawings and acerbic wit, the author has created a book of fairy tales reconstructed for grownups- and anyone else who craves a bone-chilling dose of fright. While Hansel and Gretel eat themselves into a sugar coma, the wild characters of Bergstrom's imagination run rampant through the pages of this book. Luan Gaines/2009.