ARC Book Review – The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg

 The Merry Spinster
Author: Mallory Ortberg
Publish Date: March 13, 2018
# of Pages: 240
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Buy it*: Amazon


From Mallory Ortberg comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from her beloved “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series, “The Merry Spinster” takes up the trademark wit that endeared Ortberg to readers of both The Toast and her best-selling debut Texts From Jane Eyre. The feature become among the most popular on the site, with each entry bringing in tens of thousands of views, as the stories proved a perfect vehicle for Ortberg’s eye for deconstruction and destabilization. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children’s stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.

Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Ortberg’s boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Ortberg’s oeuvre will delight in her unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface.

Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently, alarming emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves, and each other, as we tuck ourselves in for the night.

Bed time will never be the same.


Rating (1-10, 10 is exceptional)
Quality of Writing – 7
Pace – 6
Plot Development – 6
Ending – 5
Characters – 7
Enjoyability – 7
Ease of Reading – 6

Overall Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️


The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg is a collection of dark short stories inspired by class fairy tales.

Overall, I liked this book of short stories. What kept me from ranking this book higher was that some of the stories were so strange and confusing that I couldn’t quite follow the tales.

The writing in the book was decent. The author did a great job of giving just enough details to keep the stories progressing, while at the same time not overloading the stories with details. I liked the whimsy and magic that was woven into the stories, as well as the darkness that haunted many of the tales.

My favorite short story in the book was The Daughter Cells, which is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. This is a dark and twisted version of the The Little Mermaid, worlds apart from the Disney version. I liked how deeply twisted the story was and how the protagonist wasn’t content with the ordinary human life.

I also enjoyed The Six Boy-Coffins, which was inspired by a couple different fairy tales. Again, this story was dark, mischievous, and quirky, a story of sacrifice and love.

On the flip side, I couldn’t quite figure out Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Mr. Toad or The Frog’s Princess. I thought these two stories were hard to follow and didn’t make a lot of sense.

Some of the stories ended too abruptly for my taste. I know they’re short stories, but some of the them felt like they needed a couple more pages of wrap-up before they were truly done.

Again, overall I liked this collection of stories. This book was an entertaining quick read, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. If you like short stories, this book is worth checking out.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.pro_reader_120


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Have you read The Merry Spinster? What did you think? What’s the last collection of short stories you read?

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