Those familiar with Mallory Ortberg (recently transitioned to Daniel Mallory Ortberg) from the Toast website or her first book, Texts from Jane Eyre, already know that he is extremely well-read and that his point-of-view can be truly unique and humorous. In his newest book, the Merry Spinster, Ortberg offers a modern and twisted take on 11 well-known fairy tales and children’s stories. Playing with ideas of gender, identity and the perpetuation of cultural norms, the stories in this collection are a mixture of traditional narrative and experimental storytelling. Some of the classics that served as influences include the Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Frog Prince, the Velveteen Rabbit and the Wind in the Willows. The Merry Spinster retains and highlights some of the darker elements of these old favorites while challenging their conventional morality and inherited norms. This quick read would be great for those who adore the old tales of childhood, but also appreciate innovative interpretations of these beloved works.