Fairy Tales Can Change Your Life is a book that presents folklore and fairy tales as solutions to life’s problems. Alison Davies explores the characters, symbols, and plots of well-known stories, uncovers deep narrative meanings, and offers practical and creative exercises to help readers enchant their lives.
The book covers the power of storytelling, the hero’s adventure, love and relationships, fears and desires, and transformations. The first chapter provides an overview of fairytale origins, making connections between the tales we know and ancient myths and legends. Each subsequent chapter focuses on a few well-known stories before providing the reader with questions, activities, and writing prompts that help them apply the lessons to their own lives. Davies believes that there is power in using fairy tales as a springboard for creative writing and storytelling, and she encourages all readers to find their voice.
This book was a fun, accessible, and easy read. At times, Davies lacks an understanding of cultural context in relaying the tales and uses sweeping generalizations about “universal” fairy tale themes. For example, she spends time discussing the jealous anger of queens who worry their beauty is fading without ever exploring the complexities of intimate family relationships in fairy tales like Snow White, but her passion for using fairy tale symbols and images to better her readers’ lives shines through these types of generalizations. She introduces new fairy tale scholars to characters such as the trickster and encourages readers to find the heartbeat of each tale.
The book is a fun introduction to how fairy tales can relate to contemporary human life and presents easy ways to deepen creative thinking. While many of the suggested activities deal with writing or telling stories, others offer ways to improve daily life by transforming thinking and behavior. Fairy Tales Can Change Your Life is a blueprint for taking simple fairy tale inspired actions that will bring enchantment to the everyday world.
You can order the book here.
Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.
Kelly Jarvis teaches classes in literature, writing, and fairy tale at Central Connecticut State University, The University of Connecticut, and Tunxis Community College. She lives, happily ever after, with her husband and three sons in a house filled with fairy tale books. She is also The Fairy Tale Magazine's special project’s writer.