Sunday, August 14, 2016

Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by Robert D. San Souci


I need everyone to stop with what you are doing and read this beautiful and cultural story of an iconic classic of Cinderella. Except this is the Caribbean version! :)

I read this book in the 4th grade as it was featured in our textbook and I loved everything that dealt with fairy tales back then so I was hooked on it from the beginning. Until I started noticing the differences that I was a bit disappointed but reading it now felt amazing and a fresh of breath air for a classic story. Everyone on the planet knows the story of Cinderella, there's Disney's versions, films, musicals, books, and cartoons that illustrate this classic. My favorite version of Cinderella is the Whitney Houston and Brandy version of the Musical.

We meet the narrator of the story which is godmother of Cendrillon. When the narrator mothers passed away, she gave her this magic wand that could change objects from one thing to another but the big catch is you can only use the magic for someone you love. She took care of this friend who has a daughter named Cendrillon and when the mother passed away in many ways the godmother takes care of Cendrillon from afar.

Cendrillon gets a new stepmother and she is awful and the interesting aspect is the father lets the abuse because he is afraid of his new wife. Um... The question that pops in my head is then WHY DID YOU MARRY HER? He never dies in the book which I found to be a huge difference in the book and a bit sad that you don't have the courage to stand up and defend your daughter.

Cendrillon is treated as a slave and while that may seem tragic she never lets the pain and frustration get personal and enjoys life to the fullest. Then one day the godmother makes the connection that Cendrillon is not acting like herself and figures out that there's a special birthday party/ball for Monsieur Thibault's son Paul tonight. They are not royalty but Monsieur Thibault is one of the richest man in the island.

Cendrillon family doesn't permit her to attend the ball but the godmother makes the connection that she can finally use the magic wand to help her godchild. When everyone in Cendrillon household leaves to the party, the godmother uses her magic and creates a phenomenal carriage and a beautiful gown for Cendrillon and both head to the party.

The illustrations are one of the best I have ever seen in a children's book and make the magic and beauty of both the Carribean and Cendrillon story to pop out with color and her dress is spectacular in the illustrations better than the Disney animated version.

Plus I love the aspect that the godmother is always watching over Cendrillon and by attending the ball she doesn't appear like this crazy woman who popped out of nowhere and has magical powers. I do not know for other cultures but especially the Hispanic community, most huge parties that are celebrated in someone's household, if a girl that hasn't reached the age of 18 and wants to attend she cannot go by herself. It seems impolite, prevents the girl to be alone with a boy, and poor manners on the parents part. I can only speak for the Cuban side and I've seen this happen countless times in my upbringing.

This story reminded me a lot of the movie Ever After with Drew Barrymore? I used to watch it countless times as a child and I believe because it was a Cinderella story I was just entranced with real people. What I loved about that movie is the magic aspect doesn't exist so she gets caught when she attends the party. I had the same feeling and I thought Cendrillon would get caught at the ball but I believe since she never cleaned herself up and put makeup and all the beautiful aspect of getting dressed up, it possible that her family didn't recognize her or they were suspicious as to who is this beautiful woman who walked in.

You know the rest of the story of Cinderella so there isn't much left to explain. Midnight comes and all the magic disappears. Surprisingly the slippers don't revert back to its original state and Paul makes the decision that he will search for this girl and marry her. I love how the author made the reference to the original story and in many ways insulted it at the same time. When the stepsister is trying on the slipper, the godmother says maybe if you cut of her toes it will finally fit and the stepmother gave a look that could kill. I was laughing immediately because that's the original story of Cinderella. Once Cendrillon tries on the slippers they get married, lived Happily Ever After, The End.

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