Now that February is in full swing, I’m finally coming out of holiday mode and I’m ready for a great book to sink my teeth into. At the top of my reading list is Dr. Fiona Price‘s novel, Let Down Your Hair.
Have you ever wondered what the “Rapunzel” tale would look like in contemporary times? Price’s novel offers us her idea of a modern-day Rapunzel:
At 22, Sage Rampion has led a strange and cloistered life. She’s been homeschooled, and she’s never owned a cell phone, watched TV or spoken to a man on her own. Everything she’s seen, read and watched has been vetted by her grandmother Andrea, Professor of Women’s Studies and hardline old school feminist.
But before long Sage starts asking questions about the way she was brought up, and the beautiful teenage mother who abandoned her.
Price’s novel has a strong feminist flavour, and draws on the older, darker versions of “Rapunzel,” rather than the more sanitised Grimm and Disney versions.
When I asked Price what brought her to write the book, this was her answer:
“The core idea came to me when I was pregnant with my first child, and found myself pondering how best to raise a daughter in a world where women’s bodies are continually judged and sexualised. I concluded that I’d need to arm her against those messages, because there was no way I could stop her from hearing them.
Then I got to thinking. What if I did try to shield her from those messages? What would it take? For a start, I’d have to home-school her, and be draconian about vetting everything she saw, heard and read. I’d also need to be very strict about the company she kept, and teach her how to analyse media critically as soon as she was old enough to do it.
In short, I’d more or less have to lock her away from the world, rather like the Witch in Rapunzel.
And with that, Andrea Rampion, Professor of Womyn’s Studies, stomped out of the ivory tower and into my head, determined to give her abandoned granddaughter a completely feminist upbringing…”
Can’t wait to read it!
The Monash Fairy Tale Salon