Once Upon a More Enlightened Time – Review

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Once Upon a More Enlightened Time by James Finn Garner

Age: 16 +

Once Upon a More Enlightened Time is a humorous spin on some of our more beloved fairy tales and children’s stories. This volume, the sequel to Garner’s ever popular Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, covers 9 stories, including; the story of the Princess (with multiple personality disorder) and the Pea, Sleeping Beauty with a very philosophical Prince Charming, the speedy Tortoise and the Hare, and even Beatrix Potter’s City Mouse and the Country Mouse and more.

Each story is given a modern twist, staying on the politically correct spectrum, which makes more some funny statements and descriptions. Each story is about 5 -6 pages and are very quick reads. These two books came out when I was in high school, this one published in 1995. It was a huge hit at my school. It was an easy way for us to poke fun at our childhood while feeling more adult and educated at the same time. High school is that middle state where you are too old for traditional fairy tales, but too young to really understand the value, consequences and overall effect of the type of themes Garner discusses in the stories. We laughed, because the thought of Sleeping Beauty waking up to a Prince Charming who would rather meditate than kiss her is ironic, because  Hansel and Gretel turn into Wiccan tree huggers after being ditched by their dad in the middle of the forest. The country mouse falls in love with the big city living, after spending 2 hours looking for parking, getting mugged and finding out that he is indeed homosexual.

Although the book and the stories are incredibly short, it did start to feel a little repetitive for me. I think this is one of books where you have to read the stories over a span of time. I was able to finish the book on my lunch break, but didn’t enjoy it towards the end as much as I had in the beginning.

Once Upon a More Enlightened Time
by James Finn Garner
Macmillan, 1995
ISBN 0028604199
84 pages


Find this book at your local library


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