Review: “Cinderella Liberator” by Rebecca Solnit

In 1892, a book was compiled of 345 versions of the Cinderella story and related tales. Now, from Rebecca Solnit—Zen Buddhist and acclaimed author of Men Explain Things to Me—comes the enlightened, feminist version for our time.

Lion’s Roar
12 July 2019

Cinderella Liberator
By Rebecca Solnit
Haymarket Books 2019; 32 pp., $17.95 (cloth)

In 1892, a book was compiled of 345 versions of the Cinderella story and related tales. Now, from Rebecca Solnit—Zen Buddhist and acclaimed author of Men Explain Things to Me—comes the enlightened, feminist version for our time. Though the book is for children, adults will love the sumptuous, spot-on language and surprising plot twists. Cinderella is an active participant in her metamorphosis from cinder maid to ballroom ready. In this telling, the prince needs liberating as much as she does, and they become friends, not husband and wife. Cinderella comes to run a cake shop and, without magic, helps others figure out how to be free. Her stepsisters—whose feet were too small for her glass slippers—make good as well. They apologize for treating Cinderella badly and stop loafing at home, waiting for life to begin. Their mother, though, is unredeemed. As Solnit puts it, “She’s who we all are when we feel poor amid plenty.”

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