Tonawanda News


November 4, 2013

BOOK NOOK: 'Divianna and Finn' is a simple fairy tale of a book

Tonawanda News — Once upon a time ...

It’s the classic start to a story. Once upon a time ... a boy met a girl. Once upon a time ... there was an evil warlock. Once upon a time ... the boy had to rescue the girl ...

And that’s the set-up for “Adventures of Divianna and Finn” by Candie Gillis of Gasport, a fairy tale of a story about boy, girl and warlock, set in an Ireland that doesn’t seem to be from any particular time period beyond that “once upon a time.” The tale has a very old feel to it, but there are pubs and bands playing “Danny Boy” —written in 1913— in them, and the characters say things like “sure.”

It’s a slim volume, a very quick read. And as a novel, even a short one intended for children, it’s simplistic. 

The characters are cardboard cutouts, with little apparent motivation for what they’re doing beyond “I love her” or “I want her.” No worries, parents — “want” here seems to be mostly in the sense of a household servant.

Magic is a plot device. One character sleeps next to a stone by a pond until one day, poof! There’s a house there for him. Then poof! There’s another character. Poof! She has a stepmother. Poof! 

The dialogue is stilted. One character, just introduced to another, says “You are young and beautiful.” And the other character just takes this as given, apparently.

And as mentioned, motivations are fuzzy. The heroine, supposedly in love with our protagonist, sets off to marry a mysterious stranger she’s known for a short period of time with barely a good-bye. And apparently no complaints from her family. 

The villain cares enough to deceive said heroine, but then summarily marries someone else — who then vanishes — for no apparent reason other than “she had no one to love, so I didn’t wait instead I married her and made her mine.”

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