Many of you may have heard of this story, making its rounds on the Internet. A bride is having a photo shoot, in her wedding gown, in downtown Seattle. A little girl and her mom happen to walk by. The little girl is convinced the bride is the princess of her favorite book, which she also happened to be carrying at the time.
She joins the photo shoot! Warm happy fuzzy feelings all around! And the titular book is… The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins.
It’s been a while, but I read that novel in undergrad for a Victorian lit class. The Woman in White was published in 1859, and from what I remember features a murder mystery. Not the fun and quippy kind you’ll get on reruns of Castle either; no, this had some truly monstrous male villains. Even the protagonist had some eye-rolling, true-for-it’s-time opinions about the women characters in the story.
And this is a little girl’s favorite bedtime story?
While I don’t think kids should only be exposed to literature scrubbed of anything but bunnies and rainbows, I also think there’s merit to “age-appropriate” media. Even if The Woman in White contains no overt violence, vulgarity, or sexuality (from what I remember… time for a re-read), they are definitely in the story.
Then again, maybe the little girl’s never actually had the full story read to her. Maybe the parents have pulled a kind of Princess Bride (novel version) con on their daughter, and she just likes the picture on the cover. The world may never know.