The New York Times bestselling author of the much beloved and critically acclaimed Grimm series for children, Gidwitz will visit R.J. Julia this afternoon (October 21st) to present the third and final installment, A Grimm Conclusion (Penguin Young Readers Group, $16.99). (See event details below.) A Tale Dark and Grimm (2011) was a New York Times Editors’ Choice Pick, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and an ALA Notable Book; the follow-up, In a Glass Grimmly, was recognized as a Best Book of 2012 by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and School Library Journal. Gidwitz spent eight years teaching in Brooklyn and now writes full-time.
A Grimm Conclusion was published last week. The book received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which praised, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and Gidwitz deploys his successful formula of bloody happenings and narrative intrusion in his third and final installment of unexpurgated fairy tales … Underneath the gore, the wit, and the trips to Hell and back, this book makes it clearer than ever that Gidwitz truly cares about the kids he writes for.” Further, Kirkus noted, “Entertaining story-mongering, with traditional and original tropes artfully intertwined.”
From the publisher:
Once upon a time, fairy tales were grim.
Cinderella’s stepsisters got their eyes pecked out by birds.
Rumpelstiltskin ripped himself in half.
And in a tale called “The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage,” a mouse, a bird, and a sausage all talk to each other. Yes, the sausage talks. (Okay, I guess that one’s not that grim)
Those are the real fairy tales.
But they have nothing on the story I’m about to tell.
This is the darkest fairy tale of all. Also, it is the weirdest. And the bloodiest.
It is the grimmest tale I have ever heard.
And I am sharing it with you.
Two children venture through forests, flee kingdoms, face ogres and demons and monsters, and, ultimately, find their way home. Oh yes, and they may die. Just once or twice.
That’s right. Fairy tales Are Awesome.
Now, Adam Gidwitz shares a few pages from the book of his life …
1) As a child, did you wear your literary lust loud and proud or were you a closet bibliophile?
I was a corner of the bookstore bibliophile. I hid in the corner of my independent bookstore in Baltimore and read Tintin comics until they asked my mother to buy them. She always did. It was glorious.
2) What book(s) were you likely to be caught keeping company with under the covers?
Well, if it wasn't Tintin, it was Roald Dahl. Also Encyclopedia Brown. I liked to get to consider myself as intelligent as he was. I wasn't. Probably because he was actually a 65-year-old man named Donald Sobol.
3) What are you reading currently & what is your initial impression?
I'm actually rereading something right now. I am rereading the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I am bowled over by how much of our current literary fantasy culture comes from these books. Token started it all. He made it all up, and we just retread the same old races and characters. Not that what we do now is bad, but what he accomplished was unbelievable.
4) What one book do you always recommend when asked?
Matilda, by Roald Dahl. Nothing empowers children more than the story of that brilliant little girl taking on the big, bad, not so smart adults.
5) Which of your own books would you suggest to readers & why?
All of them! Of course! I write them so that kids will laugh and scream and giggle and learn about themselves and about others. Unlike other authors, I don't write for myself, because I have to. I love it, but what I really love is to see children deeply affected. My favorite thing of all is that many reluctant readers take to my books and hold them close. There is no greater satisfaction for me than that.
6) Is there a book or author that readers would be surprised to know you’ve read and liked?
I used to be a big fan of the Black Stallion books. Is that weird? I don't think so.
8) Has there been an “I’ve made it” moment in your career?
I was in my school where I formerly taught. A little girl came up to me and said, “Are you the guy who wrote those Grimm books?” I nodded. This girl through her tiny arms around my neck and squeezed me. Then she let go and ran away, apparently unable to say any more. I knew, at that moment, I had done something good.
9) What is your greatest literary ambition?
To have more moments like the one I just described.
10) Fill in the blank: Hartford Books Examiner is _____.
The publication that started my career! Thanks, of course, to John Valeri.
With thanks to Adam Gidwitz for his generosity of time and thought.
The author will appear at R.J. Julia this afternoon, October 21st, at 4:00 p.m. This event is free; reservations are required and can be made online or by calling the store at 203-245-3959. Copies of A Grimm Conclusion will be available for purchase and signing. R.J. Julia is located at 768 Boston Post Road in Madison.