Simone Walker is known as The Weird Fat Girl at her Los Angeles high school. Other than that label—and being called “Cousin Itt” due to her habit of hiding behind her hair—she doesn’t get bothered about her weight or her love of French cinema. Instead, she is mostly invisible. Which, she tells herself, is the way she likes it.
Enter her father’s very young, very driven, very narcissistic girlfriend. And when I say “enter,” I mean it as in she “enters” the house to stay a week while having work done on her condo...and then she never leaves.
Read the last Bookshelves of Doom on S.J. Kincaid's 'Insignia.'
Once Hillary has a foothold in the Walker household, her campaign to become the next Mrs. Walker begins in earnest. She’s a steamroller in stiletto Louboutins, and Simone starts spending less and less time at home. Instead, she goes to Zumba classes, discovers the joy of vegetables and starts doing some of her own cooking. Before you can say Movie Makeover Montage, Simone has dropped three dress sizes, had her hair bobbed and bought a whole new curve-hugging wardrobe. Everyone reacts positively to the change—many tell her she looks like Joan on Mad Men—except Hillary, who starts trying to feed her apple pastries, despite being repeatedly reminded about Simone’s life-threatening apple allergy...
In case the stepmonster-bearing-apples didn’t tip you off, Wicked Jealous is a retelling of Snow White. (And yes, later on, Simone does live with Happy, Bashful and the rest, but they’re college-aged art students, not miners.) Simone’s voice is entertaining, the Seven Dudes are super cute, Hillary is fabulously awful and the Prince—in the fashion popularized by Shrek—is perfectly handsome, but a complete tool.
It’s a pink book with a pink cover, light and fluffy, easy to pick up and easy to put down. But it’s also full of contradictions (being an independent woman is good...but don’t call him first) and stereotypes (all gay men have great fashion sense), which, in a book that seemingly counsels readers to look beyond the what for the who, is inconsistent, if not troubling. And while Simone’s weight loss comes about in a healthy manner—through reasonable exercise and dietary changes—for those who’ve dealt personally with any of the related issues, that aspect of the storyline is likely to come off as simplistic and unsatisfying.
You’d think, with the plethora of fairy tale retellings, that I’d have fallen in love with a YA version of Snow White by now. Not so. Mette Ivie Harrison’s Mira, Mirror had a great premise, but after watching the Queen commit horror after horror after yet another horror, I threw the book across the room when I reached the love-conquers-all-through-the-power-of-forgiveness ending. The Poison Apples was enjoyable enough, though the two-dimensional characters didn’t live up to the absolutely gorgeous cover art. More recently, there was the adorably lovely Enchanted, though the Snow White story only appeared tangentially.
So, help a girl out: do you have a favorite modern reinterpretation of Snow White?
Let's be honest. If she isn't writing Bookshelves of Doom or doing her librarian thing, Leila Roy is most likely being tragically unproductive due to the shiny lure of Pinterest.