Book Review: ‘And They Lived… Ever After’ by Rising Flame

Sensible, Sensitive and thoughtful!

Book Title: And They Lived… Ever After
Author: Rising Flame
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Number of Pages: 224
ISBN: 978-9356996403
Date Published: Mar. 21, 2024
Price: INR 320

And They Lived... Ever After by Rising Flame Book Cover

Book Review

A disability is defined as any physical or mental condition (impairment) that makes it more difficult for the individual to do particular tasks (activity limitation) and interact with their surroundings (participation limits). But do impaired persons perform less efficiently than others? The answer is a huge no. Consider great persons from ancient, modern, and recent times such as Hellen Keller, Alexander Grahambell, Socrates, and Srikanth Bholla. Despite their disability, they drew people from all over the world together in one spot. As a result, this demonstrates that impairment is only a little blip, not a dead end.

The above prologue introduces a book by the Rising Flame Society and published by HarperCollins, for a magnificent book. “And They Lived… Ever After” is a ground-breaking anthology that reimagines traditional fairy tales through the lenses of fantasy and magical realism, incorporating disabled people. This anthology, which grew out of an award-winning non-profit initiative called Rising Flame, attempts to build an inclusive literary environment for women and children with disabilities.

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And They Lived… Ever After” is a compelling anthology that reimagines classic fairy tales with characters such as a deaf Snow White, a wheelchair-bound Rapunzel, and a neurodivergent Ugly Duckling, highlighting themes of disability, women’s liberation, and racial discrimination. Written by 13 women, the stories challenge traditional representations of disability in literature and are infused with the authors’ personal experiences, emphasizing the struggles, joys, and resilience of disadvantaged individuals. The anthology tackles social issues like bullying and shaming, humanizing often-overlooked characters such as Cinderella’s stepsister and the mother duck of the “ugly” duckling, thereby promoting empathy and encouraging readers to reconsider their perceptions.

And They Lived… Ever After” promotes a kinder, more inclusive society by educating its audience in addition to providing them with entertainment. Under the direction of Founder and Executive Director Nidhi Ashok Goyal, Rising Flame’s effort brings experiences that are often unseen and unheard to light, giving individuals who feel excluded or misunderstood a sense of love and belonging. The strength of varied voices in literature is demonstrated by this anthology, which is laying the groundwork for a time when everyone will be able to live happily ever after.

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