A Desperate FortunePaperback - 2015
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Any man deserving of your notice will need nothing to impress him but that you should be yourself, and any man deserving of your love will see you as you truly are, and love you notwithstanding.
I’d always been puzzled when books about people with Asperger’s claimed that we didn’t have empathy. True, I might have trouble sometimes guessing how another person felt, but sadness was an obvious emotion and an easy one to spot most of the time. My problem wasn’t that I didn’t understand their feelings, only that I didn’t have a clue how to respond to them. I never knew the proper thing to do or say. I wasn’t good at comforting.
“The heroines of these fairy tales, their lives are often dictated by overbearing men – by their fathers and their suitors, kings and princes whom they must outwit and guard themselves against, and the fairies who helped them were usually female, and powerful. They’re very feminist, these stories.”
“Which is probably,” I said, “why we don’t hear of them.”
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[quote part 2]
She smiled. “Yes, very likely. There were men in these salons, too. Charles Perrault – you know, the writer of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’? He was always with these women. His own niece had a salon, a very famous one. But where her princesses were strong and stood up for their rights, her uncle’s heroines were meek and weak and beautiful, and needing to be rescued.”
“So why, “I asked, “did his stories survive all this time, while hers haven’t?”
“Because he was a man. And because the society those women skewered with their stories was just as quick to skewer them for their success, for being popular. It happens still today, I think. . . .”
Success, for him, is something that you win, that other people have to give you. But if other people give you something they can take it back. For me, the work itself, just being able to create – that’s what I want. I don’t need all the high acclaim and recognition.
“You do not like the ending,” she reminded him. “You told me so yourself.”
He turned his head towards her then, his face so far in shadow now she scarce could see his eyes. “Then write a different one.”
Mary was not sure at first that she understood what he was asking.
Until quietly he told her, “Write a better one.”
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