You think you know this story. You do not
Zfinding baba yaga
by Jane Yollan
“Like the piano player, I have memory in my fingertips. I watch words spill out creating worlds, inventing colors, bridging generations.”―
Jane Yolan, Finding Baba Yaga
A young woman discovers the power to speak up and take control of her fate—a theme that has never been more timely than it is now…
You think you know this story.
You do not.
A harsh, controlling father. A quiescent mother. A house that feels like anything but a home. Natasha gathers the strength to leave, and comes upon a little house in the wood: A house that walks about on chicken feet and is inhabited by a fairy tale witch. In finding Baba Yaga, Natasha finds her voice, her power, herself…
SAYS: TELLING THE FUTURE IS DEAD EASY, GIRL,
EASIER WHEN YOU’RE ALREADY DEAD INSIDE.This is an incredible idea, but not one that you can easily plow through. It needs to be savored like a fine wine or cheese. Taste each stanza, mull over each word, contemplate Yollen’s direction for the story. Each word is soaked in meaning and brimming with narrative.
When I first started reading this story, I honestly did not know what to expect. I don’t know much about the legend of Baba Yaga. I still don’t really feel like I do. But, I think I have a deeper sense of the legends meaning and what Baba Yaga means for Russian mythology and legend. I certainly am developing a deep love of how Jane Yollan crafts the prose of her work.
The overarching themes of the story are very direct and present. In the beginning, we have the controlling father and the harshness of a house that is not a home. Later we have the escape, starvation, and running to the forest to find freedom. The teenage girl finds the house with the chicken legs and begins to live with Baba Yaga, learning all of her magic. With this independence, the girl learns to trust and confidence in herself and who she is inside. I think this is an important thing to take away from this book.
The girl finds freedom in her independence and confidence, coming from a broken home some readers can empathize with that. It is empowering and beautiful. But don’t believe me, go read it for yourself because that is the miracle and beauty of the prose. What it means to me can be entirely different for another reader. Neither of us is wrong nor right, we can just sit back and sit in awe and Jane Yollen’s gorgeously crafted words.
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Elizabeth Tabler runs Beforewegoblog and is constantly immersed in fantasy stories. She was at one time an architect but divides her time now between her family in Portland, Oregon, and as many book worlds as she can get her hands on. She is also a huge fan of Self Published fantasy and is on Team Qwillery as a judge for SPFBO5. You will find her with a coffee in one hand and her iPad in the other. Find her on: Goodreads / Instagram / Pinterest / Twitter