Alice in Tumblr-Land, by Tim Manley

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Publication date – November 5, 2013

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) The Ugly Duckling still feels gross compared to everyone else, but now she’s got Instagram, and there’s this one filter that makes her look awesome. Cinderella swaps her glass slippers for Crocs. The Tortoise and the Hare Facebook stalk each other. Goldilocks goes gluten free. And Peter Pan finally has to grow up and get a job, or at least start paying rent.
Here are more than one hundred fairy tales, illustrated and re-imagined for today. Instead of fairy godmothers, there’s Siri. And rather than big bad wolves, there are creepy dudes on OkCupid. In our brave new world of social networking, YouTube, and texting, fairy tales can once again lead us to “happily ever after”—and have us laughing all the way.

Thoughts: Fairy tales for the modern generation, the Millennials who go nuts with social networking, get embroiled in discussions of gender politics, and who understand that angst over whether someone really likes the thing they Like on Facebook is a thing. Welcome to Alice in Tumblr-Land.

The book features some modern retellings of fairy tales, and I’m not sure if it the fact that all the fairy tale characters (and the associated illustrations) were drawn from Disney’s adaptations of fairy tales was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek attempt at humour or an honest misunderstanding that, for example, the little mermaid wasn’t actually named Ariel in the original story, and that Mulan isn’t technically a fairy tale as we think of them.

The stories are told in short quick bursts, an appeal to the sound-bite generation, constantly jumping from story to story like someone changing TV channels. Break off one story, jump to another, rinse and repeat. This allowed for more of the humour to come through and kept everything quick and punchy, but it meant that the reader is holding over a dozen simultaneous plots in their mind all at once, and can’t just follow one particular story without having the others in the way.

This is a book to chuckle at, to read quickly and then put aside knowing that it enriched your life for the time you were reading it but that was all. Possibly another commentary on the Millennial generation; everything must be sleek and quick and gone almost as soon as it arrived. You roll your eyes at Peter Pan’s Internet addiction, you laugh at Pinocchio’s promises (the Pinocchio stories are usually a single sentence telling a classic lie, and that’s all there needs to be), you nod your head at Mulan’s gender transition and Robin Hood’s social activism, you root for Arthur’s crush on Lancelot, and you wince at the painfully accurate political commentary of the Three Little Pigs. For those who don’t know any world but this one, for those who live in this moment and no other, these are the fairy tales for the new generation, the messages the same as they ever were even in the stories’ new forms. The audience appeal may be pretty limited and the entertainment may be transient, but it’s a quick read and worth the chuckles it gives.

(Received for review from the publisher via NetGalley.)