Into the Wild
by Sarah Beth Durst
Review by Gayle Surrette
Razorbill Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781595141569
Date: 21 June 2007 List Price $15.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Julie doesn't have a normal life. Sure she goes to school, has a best friend, worries about not fitting in -- the usual teenage trials and tribulations. But Julie's mother is Rapunzel -- yes, that Rapunzel. Her brother is Puss-in-boots and there's a bit of the Wild living under her bed and eating and transforming her shoes and other items into ones that have magical properties. Really, how can you not wonder what's going to happen. Durst pulls you in on page one and takes you on a wild adventure that's in parts hilariously funny, seriously thoughtful, depressing, and still filled with love, hope, and family.
I heard the author read from this book at the World Fantasy Convention in Texas last year and I hoped that I'd get a chance to read the whole thing when it was released. I was not disappointed. If you grew up or are growing up loving the old fairy tales not just the Disney sanitized versions but some of the earlier translations of the Brothers Grimm where not all the happy ending were by any stretch of the imagination what we'd today call happily ever after. If you ever wondered what happened after you closed the book then you'll have the mindset to enjoy Julie's story. She has to enter the Wild to find and rescue her mother, her mother's friends, her grandmother, and her brother. Julie is just a normal girl -- no super powers, no special talents -- what Julie has is determination and a bit of first hand knowledge about what fairy tales are really like.
Durst plays on our knowledge of the standard fairy tales and turns them upside down and inside out. I often laughed out loud and, I hate to admit it, but… well…I found myself talking to the book trying to get Julie to buck up and get on with it. It's the same with a good movie where you want to call out to the character to look into the back seat before getting in the car. It's hard to read this book without getting totally engrossed and planning what Julie should do and either groaning or cheering her choices.