Book Review: Diary of a Fairy Godmother by Esmé Raji Codell
I burned out about two weeks ago. I was trying to do too many things at once. I was getting into a new fandom, which means I was writing new stories, then I was acting as a beta reader for another writer, and then I was trying to read two books a week. Something had to give and the book blog got pushed to the back burner. I hate, hate, hate feeling rushed and pressured like that and just had too many things on my plate. But I’m back after that short hiatus and I am easing back into the book world with a cute little book called Diary of a Fairy Godmother by Esmé Faji Codell.
Hunky Dory is a witch and top of her class at charm school. She is going to be the wickedest witch wherever the four winds blow. Hunky excels at being bad, which is good. She can wilt flowers with a stare and even turn a prince into a dragon. But she always turns them back. In fact, Hunky’s interest in wishcraft instead of witchcraft gets her kicked out of charm school and even out of her own home! Now Hunky is determined to become the best fairy godmother she can but she’s not quite sure how to do it. Finally, motivated by jealousy over her friend Rumpelstiltskin’s crush on the girl in the roomful of straw, she meets the ticket to realizing her career dream – Cinderella.
I adore books that take classic fairy tales and turn them on their heads and Diary of a Fairy Godmother is certainly twisted enough. This book was a cute, quick read and perfect for a lazy afternoon and to ease me back into reading. The word games took a little bit of getting used to. Everything bad is good in Hunky’s world and being a little wicked is the whole point of the story. The characters and character names are amusing. There are names like Frantic Search and Velvet Underground and all the little witch girls are hilarious. The world building is half the fun.
A few different fairy tales sneak in throughout this story, including Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. It’s sort of like what those fairy tales would be like if the characters made mistakes and had a healthy dose of attitude and snark. Hunky is trying to make her own way in the world and her fumbling is amusing. She is the original wishing well and even builds her own house out of cookie dough! (No children are eaten as a result. Sorry.) The main character appears to be a young child, about 13 or so to my estimate, and while we are told she is much older than that, I found it so odd with Hunky’s mother kicked her out of the house. It was weird. But then, Hunky is no ordinary kid and this is fairy tale world, so I should probably stop overthinking this.
Diary of a Fairy Godmother by Esmé Raji Codell is a cute coming of age story that reminds readers to make their own way in the world and that if they want something, they have to work for it. Wishes are never a good short cut. A person needs to build character. (Of course, if my Aunt tried to give me conflict as a birth gift I’d probably turn her into a toad at the first possible moment. But then, my Aunt isn’t the evil queen so maybe not.) Diary of a Fairy Godmother was a swift, sweet read with a witty writing style and was perfect for a lazy afternoon.