By Katie Comstock
Idaho, United States
THE TRUE SNOW WHITE’S DIARY
Just as I thought it would, The True Snow White begins with the age old “Once upon a time . . .”
Most readers could probably not imagine another way to properly begin a fairytale, but Austrian author Harald Walter Azmann’s rendition that follows is anything but ordinary. His retelling of the classic Grimm Brothers’ Snow White delves deeply into the well-known character’s heart and soul, presenting a tale of vivid imagery and wisdom for young and old alike.
I always thought I knew the story before I read The True Snow White. From what I learned as a youngster and Disney’s cartoon version, I had her pegged as a sweet, innocent little girl: her father dotes on her, the dwarves love her, she cleans and bakes and sings with the animals, her prince finds her at last, and life just couldn’t be more perfect.
However, in this latest version of the ancient tale, I loved witnessing how even a fairytale princess is human, as The True Snow White goes into so much more detail about her character, weaving the truths of life into its seemingly simple storyline, and allowing the young princess to experience life’s moments of joy as well as unexpected stumbles.
In this beautifully crafted story, we watch a powerful woman wither away while desperately trying to sustain her youthful beauty, and a young woman grow as she listens to and learns from seven ancient mountain dwarves who are genuine friends to her. They point out Snow White’s strengths but, as needed, they can be painfully truthful, too, in warning her about her weaknesses.
“The greatest gift we can give each other is the truth,” they say, because it’s only the truth and nothing but the truth that helps us grow and develop our true self. These funny and wise old dwarves encourage Snow White to follow her heart, to trust herself, to stand on her own feet, and to fight for what she believes in. For once she’ll do these things she will shine, and the light she exudes will attract others to her.
Just like in the original story, we don’t get to follow much of the Prince’s own transformation, but in his words and actions it is clear that he has also reached that point. Because he has found and embraced his inner beauty, too, he and Snow White are inevitably drawn to each other, which makes their love for one another incredibly deep and true. For once we are comfortable being totally honest and true to ourselves, there is no more need to deceive others. Lies only keep us from expressing our true nature.
I’ve read The True Snow White twice by now and could probably read it a thousand more times. There are so many lessons to be learned from watching her thrive on the dwarves’ words of wisdom. It may sound funny, but it almost seems as if this new Snow White should be found in any well-assorted bookstore’s self help section.
I don’t know how I could more emphatically express the wonders of this story, but I think I’d love to adopt Harald Walter Azmann as my grandpa if he had more pearls of wisdom to share with the world that weren’t included in this book!
I have shown the special collector’s edition I treated myself to to many, and my mom was one of the most impressed. She marvelled at the beautiful hand-bound leather cover with the author’s personal dedication, and said “It’s so nice to see that there are people who still practice craftsmanship and take the time to do things the old way.”
This little pocket book truly is a treasure and would make a timeless gift for anyone. I suggest you get your own copy of this soon to be classic and allow it to guide you through an enchanting story about life, friendship, truth, and love. And by the end, if you watched and listened carefully, you may have even found and embraced your own true self.
Read Katie Comstock’s comments on
The true Snow White?
The Prince of Hearts
If you ask a butterfly exactly how it happened that he turned from an ugly, old caterpillar into one of the most beautiful creatures we know, he wouldn’t be able to tell you either. Except he always wanted it that way!
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