In Sleeping Beauty's Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales - erotic book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Alan & Michele

Old Fairy Tales With A Bonus

This book is an entertaining combination of authentic fairy tales re-written for adults, and a literary study on fairy tales in general. It's very well-written over all, but if you are looking for straightforward graphic sex scenes you'll be disappointed. This is the kind of book where you have to turn your mind away from looking for blatant sex scenes and let your imagination find them.
Published:
Pros:
Well written and entertaining. Includes interesting literary studies.
Cons:
Not the type of erotica some readers will be expecting.
Rating by reviewer:
4
extremely useful review
A lot of books we've read that claimed to be erotic "fairy tales" were mainly modern stories written in a somewhat fairy tale-like style. In Sleeping Beauty's Bed, by Mitzi Szereto, turned out to be the real deal though. The author chose 15 authentic fairy tales from a variety of different cultures and re-wrote them strictly for adults, and included informational sections about each story's history and development as well.

In the introduction, Szereto examines fairy tales in general; how they originated, how they became popular, and how they had to be heavily edited before they were fit for children to read. Some people might find that part boring, but we both found it pretty interesting even though we've never really thought about those things before. It's only 5 pages long, so it doesn't take much time to read.

There are also brief (like maybe 3 pages) introductions before each fairy tale that delve into the history and development of whatever story you're getting ready to read. It was pretty fascinating to read how far back in history some of them go, and how different cultures had very similar versions of the same tales.

The author's re-telling of these fairy tales are very well-written and unique. She keeps enough of the original stories in tact using the classic settings and dialogue (although she does throw some modern-speak in here and there) that at times it felt like we were really reading the children's versions... until we got to the adult parts. *Very* adult parts in some cases, but not written in the typical "in your face" descriptive style of other erotica books.

This book has quite a few sexual fetishes in it and includes some harder subjects like an all-male gang rape, but the descriptions are very veiled in euphemisms and other literary devices. In fact, some of them are so veiled that it took us a few moments to catch on. For example, in the book's namesake story, Sleeping Beauty is indeed put to sleep by a prick... but not from a spindle. Yet the author keeps referring to the prick as a spindle, so it takes a little while to figure out that the spindle is a prick. Confusing? Yeah, it was for us at first too. Once you catch on though, it makes the stories all that much more amusing when you realize just how naughty it really is.

We didn't notice it until after we'd read and discussed the book, but another way the author kept the authentic fairy tale feel in her stories was to make a lot of the characters be delightfully clueless about what sort of bawdy stuff they were getting into. The girl in The Twelve Months story is a perfect example of that, when the giggling girl is trying to figure out why old man January is warming his "bough" in her bum as she sits on his lap.

Some of the stories are on the dark side, as certain fairy tales were. When we read The Goblin of Adachigahara, we knew right from the start the hut the weary traveler encountered was *not* going to be the refuge he thought it was, but we were still surprised at what was really going on there.

Punished Pride is another that doesn't have much of a humor element included, but it was actually one of our favorites. Maybe the haughty little gal should have thought twice before she spurned that BDSM-lovin' Czar!

The book's layout is brilliant, because it gives you an extra option for how you read it. For every tale, the author uses a very big decorative font for the story's title and follows with the historical info written in small (maybe 10-pt) text. Then the title is repeated again on the following page in bold (maybe 14-pt text), and the fairy tale is written in a large (we're guessing 12pt) text. You're probably thinking, "Why would I give a fig about the font sizes?" but here's the thing; that format makes it *very* easy to recognize the different types of sections when you're just flipping through the book. So if you only want to read the fairy tales you don't have to skim-read to find them. Just look for the medium-sized bold titles.

In spite of that convenience, we read it cover-to-cover, and can say that we'd recommend it to anyone who wants a very unique and whimsical adult reading experience that engages the mind.
Experience
Michele says:
I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to books. If I like the subject, informational essays can entertain me just as much as fantasy fiction, so this book translated into a real page-turned for me. I just couldn't wait to see what the author was going to come up with next! Rapunzel is the only story that disappointed me. It was one of my favorite tales when I was a little girl, so I was looking forward to reading an erotic version as an adult. Unfortunately, Szereto went so overboard with the plot's unsuccessful mix of contemporary and traditional elements that I thought it was ridiculous, and not the slightest bit erotic. None of the other stories had such a far-out mix, so it bites that it had to happen with the story I had such high hopes for.

Still, I'm not ready to behead the author or anything, because she did an excellent job with the book overall and I really enjoyed it (except Rapunzel! LOL).


Alan says:
I think this is the most unusual adult book I've ever read, and I know I've never laughed so much through one. I would call these stories more ribald than erotic, because the author leaves a lot to the imagination (plus you have to stop laughing) when it comes to the sex. If it wasn't for some of the extreme subjects, the book could actually be R-rated. So whether other readers will enjoy it or not depends on what they're looking for. If I was looking for something to get me horny this wouldn't do it, but it was a fun bit of light reading for us.
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Comments
  • Sammi
    This does sound pretty unusual, and worth reading
    Great review!
  • Kayla
    I liked reading mine too. It was a bit odd for erotica, but it was fun to read.
  • ~LaUr3n~
    The most appealing part of this for me would be the historical background of the stories lol. I'd actually spend more money for that then erotica.
  • Selective Sensualist
    This sounds interesting. I love historical background info! I guess I'm a bit of a nerd myself, LOL!
    Excellent review, as always!
  • evanovca
    great review, i really look forward to reading this book!
  • Mihoshi4301
    Thanks for the review.
  • geliebt
    Great review on this!
  • pinkzombie
    Thank you!
  • RomanticGoth
    Might pick this one up soon. Thank you!
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