The Girl Who Became A Goddess: Familiar Asian Folktales || A Book Review

The Girl Who Became a Goddess (ARC)

Author: Theresa Fuller

Publisher: Bear’ Bear Media

Released: May 19th, 2019

Genre: Fiction, Retelling, Fantasy

Pages: 115

Format: Netgalley ARC e-book

Characters: Sang Kancil, Chang E, ….

A WOMAN MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN THE MAN SHE LOVES AND THE HUMAN RACE.

The Girl Who Became a Goddess is a tribute to the childhood stories of Theresa Fuller who has experienced multiple cultures and learned to love them all. These are tales passed on from generation to generation, some to delight, some to terrify, all to enlighten.

A FOOLISH ANIMAL DISCOVERS THAT THE RAINFOREST IS A DANGEROUS PLACE.

As a girl, a mother, and a teacher, Theresa retells her favorite folktales through the lens of her own life experiences in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, putting a unique spin on ageless classics.

A YOUNG BOY IS WILLING TO SACRIFICE EVERYTHING FOR HIS FAMILY.

The Girl Who Became a Goddess is a love letter to a young girl from the adult she has become.

Source: Goodreads

When I saw the cover and the title of this book on Netgalley, I was immediately sold, I requested for it. Guess what? Yes, I got it. I don’t really know how to organize my thoughts on this book, I guess I’m just gonna talk about my thoughts on this book as I went through the stories.

At first, I wasn’t digging too much on the explanation part. Mind you, this book is full of EXPLANATIONS. At certain point, I felt like the author is trying too hard to help the non-Asian readers or readers who live outside of Malaysia, Singapore and China generally to understand the context of these stories. I mean it’s great but for a reader from Malaysia, I was getting bored by the long winded explanations. However, once I got to the first folktale, which is sort of being retold but the author still keeps the main essence of the stories. It was amazing. It felt as if I was transported to my childhood again. Readers from Malaysia and Singapore are going to love this tale, Sang Kancil so so much; about how brilliant the mousedeer was. I loved this tale a lot.

So, I thought, we are going to have few more retellings like Sang Kancil. But then, I got to read like few-pages-kinda-folktales, which I’m not even sure are these actually retellings or just the author sharing some myths and folktales that she was being told when she was young. There were few stories, one of them being about the pontianak and again with lots of explanation after that short story and there are like different versions to the tale. At this point, I was confused with the format of the book and the way it was organised. Luckily this is just an ARC, I’m not sure how does the final copy look like, I hope was it is organized better because it’s really taking away all the fun when the stories were just thrown like that without any logical explanations or sort of sequence. It could be put together by starting off with some original short tales the author has heard before, then short retellings and ended up with the story of Chang Er.

Then, lastly, we have the story of Chang Er, the girl who became the goddess. This story is tad bit longer than other tales, I think this story stands about almost half of the book. It started off a bit slow and the way it was written was lacking of something, it could be more interesting in my opinion. However, the story did have a very well put climax and I really enjoyed the story of the 10 suns(sons). I’ve heard of Chang Er but I didn’t know about Hou Yi and the 10 Suns. I just searched about it and I think it’s another retelling that combined two folktales, which is written pretty well. It’s just that the way it’s being combined and the way it ended could be written a little bit more excitingly. I’m no writer, so, this is just a very humble opinion.

Overall, this is a really great book to inform people, especially non-Asian readers about Asian folktales. I enjoyed reading it. To me, this book wasn’t the most perfect one but it definitely brings back a lot of memory.


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