Here at FYA, we like to stay on top of trends. A little bird told us that fairy tale retellings are the new post-apocalyptic dystopias are the new vampire books. Fairy tales are so hot that there are even two Snow White movies coming out AND a Snow White TV show! But while everyone and their great uncle Milton seem to be trying to update classic fairy tales in new and edgy ways, you know what no one is doing yet? Taking already edgy fairy tales and transposing them to classic YA settings. And I don't mean original-toes-chopping-Cinderella edgy. I'm talking about some lesser-known, extra horrifying fairy tales you might never have heard of them--stories that are so fundamentally disturbing that not even Disney could polish them into acceptable viewing material for children.
And here's where FYA comes in, bringing you another series you didn't even know you wanted until we gave it to you. Welcome to Effed-Up Fairy Tales, wherein I take an incredibly creepy fairy tale and render it, if at all possible, even more unsettling by coating it with a varnish of high school angst and orthodontics. First to get this very special treatment: Donkeyskin, a fabulous French fairy tale about a father in love with his daughter, some baller outfits, and tangentially, a donkey that shits gold. No, really.
So without further ado, I bring you Po' D'Anne: A Donkeyskin Retelling.
Once upon a time--and that time is now--there was a beautiful girl named Anne. Anne was the kind of girl your 16 year old self would love to hate, if only she weren't so damn sweet. She had the perfect life--perfect hair, perfect grades, perfect boyfriend, perfect BMW, and most of all, the perfect family.
Anne's mother, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader turned interior designer, met Anne's father at a Run-D.M.C. concert and fell instantly in love. He was none other than Richard "Rich" King--rap mogul, entrepreneur, and future owner of the country's number one basketball team, the LA Donkeys--and the two were married after a whirlwind romance of just six weeks. Anne came a few years later and enjoyed a life of love and comfort in her Beverly Hills mansion, until one fateful day when everything changed.
It was the first week of her senior year at Donna Summer's School for Performing Arts in LA when Anne was pulled out of class and told that her mother had killed been in a car crash on the way to Zumba. And just like that, Anne's perfect little life was gone. Not only was she heartbroken over the loss of her mother, but her not-so-perfect boyfriend bailed because teenage boys are idiots, and all this stress was giving her not-so-perfect hair a nasty case of alopecia. What was left of her not-so-perfect family also began to unravel. Her father, devastated and desperate, became slightly unhinged and paranoid. He hired a security detail of ex-Secret Service agents to follow her at all times, which made it hard for even her closest friends to want to stick around. And then there were the increasingly creepy comments at the dinner table about how beautiful a woman she was turning into, how much Anne reminded him of her mother, and finally, a full declaration of romantic love.
This was a turn of events Anne could never have prepared for. On the one hand, it was her father and she didn't want anything thing bad to happen to him. On the other hand, it was her father, and she didn't want anything bad to happen to her. She finally got up the courage to talk to her guidance counselor, Ms. Perky, but couldn't bring herself to tell her the whole truth with her bodyguards refusing to leave the room.
"You see, Miss Perky, my father has started making... unreasonable demands about my... future, so to speak. And I don't know how to make him stop."
Miss Perky, eager to get rid of this pesky student and get back to her trashy romance novel, waved a dismissive hand and replied, "Well, you could always try to bargain with him. Make unreasonable demands back. Ask for things he would never actually give you in exchange, like the Hope Diamond or a trip to the moon or a designer dress made of solid gold."
So Anne did, and to her horror, he delivered each time. (Well, not the trip the moon. He said he would reserve that for their honeymoon.) And so Anne asked for the one thing she was sure he would never relinquish--ownership and full management power of his beloved basketball team, the LA Donkeys.
"But you don't know anything about Basketball! You'll kill them! Where do you think I got all the money to buy you those other things?! That team practically shits gold!"
Anne did not back down, and much to her chagrin, he finally signed the team over to her on her 18th birthday. Panicked, Anne devised a plan to run away--no small task with her security detail always around. She went down to meet the Donkeys as they boarded the private jet to their next game. With her bodyguards distracted by the likes of freshly-traded basketball star Jeremy Lin, she slipped into the Donkey mascot costume and stowed away on the airplane.
A few days and a lot of hitchhiking later, Anne found herself begging for a spot at the prestigious Mississippi Arts Academy and Boarding School. The admissions board was impressed with her audition, but without any more scholarships available, and without Anne being able to pay tuition without her father tracking her down, she was given a position as both a student and a janitor in the school.
Life at MAABS was starkly different than her life back in California. Where she had been universally well-liked at home, here she was shunned and mocked by her fellow students. Several of her peers started calling her Po' D'Anne, both because she was poor and because everyone in Mississippi is cartoonishly racist. If she had been a mediocre performer, she probably would have been able to shuffle through each day unnoticed, but her superior dancing and singing ability ensured that she would continue to be harassed by jealous classmates at every possible moment. Her sole joy came on Sunday afternoons--the only time when she had neither class nor work--when she would lock her door, put on her gold dress and Hope Diamond, and practice her Grammy acceptance speech in front of the mirror.
One such afternoon, class president, captain of the polo team, and all-around dreamboat Swift Donner was walking by her room and heard her voice. Knowing that she had no friends and must be talking to herself, he peered in through the key hole and was overcome by her beauty and poise. Before the next polo match, when the spirit squad bakes each player a delicious snack of their choosing, Swift rejected the head cheerleader's usual offer and instead demanded a cake from Po' D'Anne. Everyone told him he was crazy, but it doesn't much signify what anyone thinks of your eccentricities when you are the most popular guy in school.
So Anne made the cake, but being kind of a shitty baker, one of her rings fell in before baking. Upon finding the ring, Swift publicly declared that whomever the ring fit, he would ask to prom. Every girl at MAABS tried and failed, until finally, he asked Anne to put it on. It fit, of course, and Anne outshined every other girl at prom with her solid gold dress and priceless jewelry. Her classmates were even more jealous than before but were also too dumbfounded by awe to say anything mean to her ever again.
After Anne's hair grew back, she and Swift finally took that trip to the moon, where they had sexy times in outer space.Everyone lived happily every after, except for Rich King, who is now in prison for soliciting sex from a minor.
Author's Note: I do not actually think all people in Mississippi are cartoonishly racist. I've never been there, but I'm sure it's real nice. Please don't come after me, People of Mississippi and Erin.