Oh, Chris Colfer. Just when I thought I couldn’t worship you any more than I already do, you go ahead and write a children’s novel. Of course, being a seventeen-year-old fangirl, I read it even though the New York Times bestsellers list clearly indicates that it’s meant for 8-12 year olds. And by the time I’ve finished it, I am hugging the book to my chest, so in love with each and every one of the characters – from the kindhearted and generous Froggy to the spoiled and narcissistic Red Riding Hood – that I’m prompted to read the original Brothers Grimm fairy tales all over again just so I can appreciate them even more. Except I can’t help but confess that one character admittedly rises above them all. And I know what you’re thinking but it’s not Cinderella. Not Sleeping Beauty. Not even my girl Snow White.
No. It’s Goldilocks.
“What? Why would your favorite character be a girl who broke into a home just to eat porridge and lie down?” Oh Land of Stories virgin, I scoff at your ignorance, for that is where you are wrong.
Yes, Goldilocks is traditionally known for being quite possibly the worst burglar and furniture size perfectionist in fairy tale history, but don’t you remember how Goldilocks And The Three Bears ended? She didn’t break down and plead for forgiveness from the bears when they found her in their home. No, she ran away and never looked back. What you don’t know is that at that moment, her own version of a teenage dream unknowingly began and she became a wanted fugitive, about to set off on a perilous journey that would thicken her delicate skin and harden her youthful heart to that of a strong, independent woman and master of kick-assery.
Because in this story, Goldilocks wields – wait for it – a sword. A sword. She is cool, calm and gorgeous as she slays half a pack of wolves and nonchalantly mounts her badass horse Porridge like it was nothing a toddler couldn’t handle. Later (spoiler alert!) we even get to see her running up a prison wall and flipping over her opponent in midair in battle as her lover (I won’t tell you who it is here, but it’ll blow your mind) gazes in awe and asks her the classic line, “’Where did you learn to do that?’” But of course, Goldie’s in the moment, adrenaline at its highest, and doesn’t have time for flattery – not even from her boyfriend – and, sword in hand, breathlessly replies, “’I'll tell you later!’” Yep, my girl-crush on Goldilocks is full-fledged by now. I mean seriously, what’s hotter than a female swordsman-fugitive who can run up walls? Nothing.
And I don’t care if she’s running from the law in her country. This girl breaks the stereotype of a typical fairy tale heroine by sneering at princess manners and princely ways but still being good at heart. She stands right on the fine line of being a hero and a villain – something I find strangely enchanting in any character. She’s poised, focused, stands tall on her own two feet and takes no prisoners. Essentially, she’s my idol and there is nothing you can say or do to make me think otherwise.
But aside from Goldilocks and on a more serious note, you really should read this entire book regardless of what age you are. And I’m not just saying that because of my hopeless crush on unbound admiration for its author but because it’s written in a way that more adventure/fantasy children’s books should be written – creatively and in a way that makes it fun to read but not condescendingly. It’s laced with many moving life morals and questions that can just as easily apply to adults – one of my favorites being “’Why do you always ask what someone’s motives are when they help you?’” There were even a few clever innuendos scattered here and there that I couldn’t help but chuckle at. My point is is that you’d be surprised to know how fast a child can tell when you’re looking down on them, and how quick they are to turn away from you when you do. Kids are smart, people. And I applaud Chris for immediately recognizing this and for staying on their side the whole time, because not only is this one of the most key aspects of successful children’s novel writing but it is also admittedly one of the most challenging as well. Clearly when you can take a misunderstood character like Goldilocks and turn her into one of the most spellbinding leading ladies in a story, you’re doing something right.
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