Book Review: Diary of a Fairy Godmother

July 3, 2010

Mama took the lead and went on about how I’m first in charm school and how “she’ll be the wickedest witch wherever the four winds blow.” Doesn’t Mama know it’s bad luck to brag?

Diary of a Fairy GodmotherOh, and what bad luck it is. Diary of a Fairy Godmother by Esmé Raji Codell is about Hunky Dory, a witch who is studying wickedness but ends up wanting to go the other way and become a dreaded F. G. Fairy godmother, that is.

What I Liked

– The book is very clever. The idea of being a wicked witch as a family career path that is desired is great. The use of familiar fairytales to explore the other sides of the story–that of the bad guys–is well-handled.

– I loved the use of the textbook within the text, Be the One with the Wand. I especially loved the little life lessons it provides. Great info for any kid reading it. One of my favorites is “The first step to accomplishing amazing things is setting unrealistic goals.”

– The book is so female positive and independence positive. The focus is on the girls making life work for them and finding what they’re passionate about. They’re encouraged to be themselves, even if they go the absolute wrong way (like being a fairy godmother), but even then, there’s pride amongst the group that Hunky has the guts to do what she wants.

– Her Auntie is great. I don’t want to ruin the story, but…yeah. Great character.

– I like the way the romantic interest is handled.

What I Didn’t Like

– The book lacks some internal consistency. The rules of the world need more clarification. Otherwise, the book comes off as too clever for its own good. For example, rudeness and evilness are prized and despised at the same time.

– Nothing really happens. By which I mean, stuff happens, but it’s all mostly tell with no show so the story and characters feel flat.

– I would have liked to see the characters and their relationships (especially the ones Hunky has with her mother and Rumpelstiltskin) developed further.

In conclusion: Very cute and clever premise with an unfortunately flat execution. It’s just okay when it could have been great.

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