Book of the Month, December 2023 – Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner

For December’s Book of the Month I have chosen Politically Correct Bedtime Stories and its follow up Once Upon a More Enlightened Time by James Finn Garner (Simon and Schuster 1994, 1995). Garner is an American writer and satirist based in Chicago, and an alumnus of the University of Michigan.


The two books retell nursery stories and fairy tales while trying to avoid any ageism, sexism, elitism, or other -ism. The effect of steering clear of any possible prejudice creates some great comic passages, through the hilariously wordy attempts not to offend any creatures. The first in series opens with a telling of Little Red Riding Hood which makes the main character an independent young persun who does not need any assistance from a woodspersun to fight off the carnivore wolf, who was perfectly entitled to eat Grandma. Among the other tales in the first book is The Three Codependent Goats Gruff. The second book includes (among others) the stories: The Little Mer-Persun, Sleeping Persun of Better-than-average Attractiveness and finishes with the City Mouse and The Suburban Mouse.


I bought these books after they were recommended by someone posting on social media. The books were easy to read and effectively demonstrated how badly mangled language can become when people attempt to be overly politically correct. As a writer, I try to keep language tight and word use succinct. These books were anything but! They left me feeling glad to find I am not the only person to find some convoluted modern language absurd. They would make a great Christmas present for someone of like mind.


So there we have it, December’s Book of the Month! Be sure to check back in January 2024 as I’ll be revealing another must read.


Maggie x

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