Book Review – The Annotated Brothers Grimm

Every single Grimm fairytale ever in one wrist-snappingly gigantic book. Uncut with all the original gruesomeness and mayhem intact. Too much shapeshifting and cannibalism to fit in your backpack, but makes a beautiful display treasure.

Despite the fact of it being a consistently challenged collection, it’s amazing how ingrained the Grimms’ fairytales have become in culture. Not just in Europe. Their influence stretches to all of the continents to some degree. Especially so because of re-tellings and different adaptations throughout the years.
If you are only familiar with the Disney-fied versions, just know that you’re in for a lot of graphic beheadings, appendage chopping, cannibalism (both accidental and intentional), horrific shapeshifting, and of course a metric ton of disturbing deaths and fates crueler than. None of these are given the intensive detail of say, a horror novel, but are nonetheless dark.

They got their morals across bluntly, because that was their purpose. Originally none of these were meant as just entertainment, but to make a point. The Grimms came in and turned these folktales, which had been circulating through Europe for years, into both entertaining and thought-provoking classics.
Some of their lessons are still applicable today, some are not. Some I wonder if they ever were.

This is a more scholar-friendly version with historical and sociological notes on all of the fairytales, well-known (Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel) and obscure (The Juniper Tree, Godfather Death). Also at the end are some that were banned or kept out when the book was first published, because they were either too controversial, offensive, or the Grimms just didn’t like them. The annotations are worth buying this edition for, though there can be so many on some stories as to be distracting. Hence, a five-minute story takes thirty minutes to read because of the amount of trivia on it!

Stories – Varies from 3 to 5/5
Editing – 5/5
Illustrations – 5/5
General – 4.5/5

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