Recently for my Young Adult Lit class we had to complete a book circle assignment. Basically we were broken into groups and each group had to read a book and complete some assignments pertaining to said book. We were grouped together according to what genres we typically prefer to read which made it a bit easier to choose a book that everyone would like. In the end my group settled on a book that was suggested to us by the professor. That book was Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire.
The story is a retelling of the classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but with a few twists. The idea of this appealed to the group so we agreed to read this book. We had no idea what we were in for by choosing this book.
I admit it was well written but we had no forewarning of some of the topics and scenes that occur within the book. If you’ve ever read this book you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who have never read the book it includes some rather bizarre occurrences.
For one, the Borgia family becomes central to the plot, along with all their family drama. The Borgia’s were the family of a pope of the Catholic church. They weren’t exactly the most outstanding people in the world and that shows through Lucrezia Borgia’s attempt to have Bianca (the Snow White character) murdered. It also shows through her brother’s, Cesare, attempt to seduce Bianca, which is oddly enough the reason that Lucrezia decides she needs to die. There’s nothing quite like sibling affection, especially between those two.
There’s also a scene with a unicorn that is. . . Well, odd to say the least. And not something that I would ever expect to find in something marketed as a young adult novel. Though it never quite came out and plainly stated what was happening it was quite obvious.
Add a woman that’s had sex with an octopus or maybe it was a squid. Nevertheless, add her into the mix, along with the eight dwarves that help Bianca, and you have quite the cast of characters to play roles in a story that derives from the tale of Snow White. And that cast of characters definitely makes their mark on the story. Had it not been for my previous knowledge of the origins of this story I might not have recognized it for what it was. The insanity that was contained within this book sparked many a discussion within my book circle. Ending with the conclusion that none of us would ever teach this book or even keep it in our classroom because it was just too out there for us.