Sometimes, when I’m into a really good book, I’ll imagine what the author looks like. If their photo isn’t on the back cover, I’ll do an internet search. They never – ever – look like I’d imagined. It’s silly to think I can visualize what an author looks like from the words they write, but I keep trying to. I don’t know why.
This wasn’t the case with Jean Johnson. I knew exactly what she looks like before I’d read anything she’d written. She stops by to say hello when we’re gaming in Everett. She lives and works in the house we game in. Her books line the bookcase in the living room. The artwork for her Theirs Not to Reason Why series is displayed in the dining room. Jean Johnson is Kathi’s cousin.
One day, while I was waiting for the gaming to begin, and the kitchen was getting a little too crowded, I pulled Bedtime Stories: A Collection of Erotic Fairy Tales from the bookcase and started reading “The Frog Prince”. I didn’t get far into it before the gaming session began.
When the 2016 Reading Challenge appeared, and I saw that one category is “A book based on a fairy tale”, I remembered Bedtime Stories. The Seattle Public Library has most of Jean’s books. Bedtime Stories was available for download.
Yes, this collection of re-worked fairy tales is quite erotic. (That’s not my usual choice of reading material, so thank you, Reading Challenge!) It’s also very funny, charming, imaginative, and well-written with rich language. I enjoyed it.
Bedtime Stories consists of eight fairy tales, each independent of each other, yet tied together loosely. The Frog Prince tells the Princess the story of Wali Daad. “The Courtship of Wali Daad” mentions a book about a princess on a glass hill. “The Princess on the Glass Hill” mentions Snow White, and so on.
Some fairy tales are more fairy tale-like than others. Some fairy tales are science fiction.
Bedtime Stories is a delightful mix of story styles, and a fun book.
If I had to pick a favorite story from this collection, it would be either “The Courtship of Wali Daad” – a charming tale of a grass cutter, happy with his simple life, who tries to get rid of the pennies he’s accumulated and creates a cascade of gift exchanges – or “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” – the story of a woman who, bound by law to take three co-husbands, takes on six, since they’re happily paired off with each other, and is faced with a proposal from a seventh man.
- A book based on a fairy tale