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[Saturday Reads] Reimagined Mythical Tales – Infused With Colour

Love In Colour by Bolu Babalola.


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

Love In Colour: Mythical Tales From Around The World, Retold (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Bolu Babalola Published by Headline (2020)
ISBN: 1472268865 (ISBN13: 9781472268860) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

When I first learned about this collection of short stories by Bolu Babalola, a British woman of Nigerian descent, and read about how it attempts to de-centre Whiteness from mythical narratives, I knew it would be perfect for our “decolonizing our bookshelves” theme.

In her Introduction, Babalola noted this:

In this book, I have had the honour and privilege of exploring how the power of love has been expressed within a variety of cultures from around the world. I pay homage to the textures of each original tale while also adapting them to fit a new, modern age. In doing this, I hoped to draw out and excavate what these stories can teach us about ourselves and love itself.

It was a pleasure slipping into the mythical fantasy-world that Babalola created, filled with bold Black women who are decisive, vulnerable yet strong, and unafraid to take risks in love and in life. While some of the narratives are hit or miss for me, there were a few that resonated – particularly the story of Nefertiti who was like a Female Saviour of the oppressed women, the wounded, and the marginalized – meting out punishment to men who deserve them; untouchable, exquisite, and absolute perfection.

It was also interesting to see that there seems to be a pattern among practically all the narratives: a beautiful woman is always in a relationship with a man who does not deserve her, and eventually chooses another, more worthy guy – against all odds. There always seems to be a tension between loving for the sake of security and a sense of history – versus choosing a lover who appreciates and affirms a woman’s value. It didn’t always work for me, but it was truly entertaining to read. I have a feeling Babalola enjoyed herself tremendously as she was writing these tales, with all the quips and the flirtatious repartee.

Tomorrow being Valentine’s Day, it would be good to veer away from traditional, classic love narratives of old, and dip into this colourful world envisioned by Babalola. You won’t regret it.

#SurvivalStories2021 Update: 21 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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