30 January 2009

My Fair(no Y) Godmother

There’s one thing I’ve wondered my whole life. It’s not the meaning of existence or why bad things happen to good people. I’ve wondered why Cinderella was able to leave behind a glass slipper. Does that make sense to you? Ella’s ball gown turned back into rags, her carriage once again became a pumpkin, and her horses shrank back into vermin—albeit mice pleased to find themselves in more upscale digs. Why then, when the clock struck midnight, didn’t her glass slippers disappear with the tiara and jewels?

Yeah. It’s really bothered me, too.

Thankfully, after years of anguished questioning, I read the simple (and simply brilliant) explanation in My Fair Godmother. (And if you think I’m just going to tell you, you’ve got another think coming. Read the book; that’s undoubtedly the best advice I’ll give you this year.)

I wrote too many book reports in school to enjoy revisiting it in my old age, so you’re out of luck there. But I will say that if a fairy godmother sparkled into my bedroom right now to offer me three wishes, I wouldn’t have to consider for a half-second. I’d use the first wish to beg to write even half as well as Janette Rallison. I might use the second to wish to someday be famous (or cool) enough to garner a nod like three writers we all know and love did in this one. (Nope. Not telling you that, either.)

On the other hand, if my godmother were anything like Chrysanthemum Everstar—a teenage godmother-in-training who has only paid enough attention in class to be a fair godmother (at best)—I might add a clarifying addendum. Or eight. Since Rallison’s heroine Savannah does not, she finds herself in the Middle Ages, cast in the roles of Cinderella, Snow White, and a remarkable damsel in her own right. To say more might constitute a book review, but since it’s also difficult to say less, I will add that I love this book! I love everything from the perfect dust jacket and the lovely lavender/pink binding to the fanciful typesetting. I love the enchanting romance, marvelous characters, and I deeply love and admire the best fairy tale writing by a mortal since Hans Christian Andersen. (Is that a Whitney category?)

But you know what I love most? (Aside from a reasonable explanation for Cindy’s glass slippers.) I love that Janette Rallison captures my imagination and makes me laugh out loud, but she also makes me think and feel. So many of the stories passing as the “best” books for youth, young adults, and the rest of us in the national market these days are . . . how do I put this nicely? . . . pointless. (Some are worse than pointless, but that can be the subject for another blog on another day.) Some of the books in our market are . . . preachy. (I’m having a little trouble being “nice” today, apparently.) My Fair Godmother is neither. Very subtly but surely, Rallison ensures that every reader leaves her stories wiser, better, and surely more cheerful. That, boys and girls, is the epitome of great writing.

For all these reasons and more I predict that Janette has a runaway best-seller on her hands.
It’s already been optioned as a movie. (I can’t tell you how many times while I was reading I thought what a great movie it would make. Can I pick them, or what?) Our local Barnes & Noble couldn’t unpack the boxes fast enough to keep this book on the shelves. After my third unsuccessful trip to town, I turned to Amazon. Fortunately for you, in my enthusiasm I must have clicked that “one click” option one click too often. Since I have two copies, I can play fairy godmother myself and make somebody’s wish for a copy of this book come true.

Caveat: after observing Chrissy as closely as I have, I can’t make it easy. In Chrysanthemum’s words: Did you think wishes were like kittens, that all they were going to do was purr and cuddle with you? Those type of wishes have no power. The only wishes that will ever change you are the kind that may, at any moment, eat you whole. But in the end, they are the only wishes that matter. Now then . . .

Now then, to win my extra copy of My Fair Godmother, all you have to do is write in the comments trail one thing you wish you knew about Janette Rallison or her many works. I’ll choose my favorites and send them to Janette for a response next week. (This will effectively grant my third wish: to get a guest blog from the mega-famous and super-fantastic Janette Rallison.) After she answers your questions, Janette will draw a winner at random and we’ll announce it at the end of the blog.

Ready? Set? Wish!


Kelsi Rose said...

After many and deep thinking things in my brain, the only question that I came up with is, do you find writing a little everyday helps you be more creative?

Karlene said...

Will you play a cameo part in the movie, like Stephenie Meyer did? If so, what would you like to play?

Anonymous said...

Since I'm not clever enough to come up with a thought provoking question, I'll ask about Jeanette's writing habits;

What time of day are you more productive - morning? evening?

Do you write longhand, or are you computer oriented?

Can you write with life going on around you - or do you need quiet?

Michele Ashman Bell said...

I posted a review about this book several months ago on Meridian Magazine and I'm so happy to see it is receiving more exposure and interest. Janette is a gifted writer and storyteller and is so deserving of the praise she's receiving. And a movie??? Very exciting news.

Kerry Blair said...

I appreciate the questions here as well as on the Frog Blog! I've sent them to Janette and will post the answers -- and contest winner -- tomorrow!

Thanks to you all!