Jul 17, 2009

The Coachman Rat

by David Henry Wilson

What happens to Cinderella, after the magic of the ball has worn off? For that matter, what about the minor characters pulled unwillingly into the magic of that night? The Coachman Rat tells the story of the rat who was turned into a coachman, and how that one night changed his life forever. The experience of being a man is one full of astonishment and confusion for him at first, then wonderment and finally dismay when he finds himself a rat once more, still thinking human thoughts and unable to communicate with his fellow rats anymore. So this rat (named Robert) searches for the fairy godmother ("woman of light") to change him back into a human again, and along the way we see how nothing has turned out "happily every after." The princess and her prince are not at all charming, and the world they live in isn't either. There are accusations of witchcraft, plagues and mob killings, and Robert himself becomes so embittered against man he rouses up a whole army of rats to wreak vengeance- bringing some of the pied piper legend into the story. Not your everyday fairytale retelling, lots of unpleasant things happen in this book, but the gritty dark reality is what makes this a good story. That and how well the anguished emotions of Robert the rat-turned-man are portrayed.

Rating: 3/5                     171 pages, 1990

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5 comments:

Lezlie said...

I loved, loved, loved this book!! I read it quite a while back, but to this day I can't hear the name Cinderella without thinking, "OMG! Do you have any idea what happens to her later?!?!" :-) Very creepy little book.

Lezlie

Jeane said...

I felt the same way. Cool book, but very creepy.

An Anonymous Child said...

I really like the idea of this book. I read a few fairy tale retellings when I was younger but it's been quite a while. A book like this, described as creepy, actually sounds like an interesting return to that field. The story sounds so very interesting.

Jenny said...

The last fairy tale retelling I read on your recommendation was sooo creepy, What Happened in Hamelin. Creepy and fascinating, of course - I really want to read this one. ;)

Jeane said...

Anonymous Child- It is. Very fascinating.

Jenny- This one would actually be a good companion to What Happened in Hamelin!