I saw Matchless for sale a year ago, picked it up, but didn’t manage to read it before the holidays. This year, I decided that I would. I knew Gregory Maguire’s retelling of The Little Match Girl was a slim volume, but I didn’t realize how quick a read it would be. It can easily be read in one sitting, in an hour (or less). The book is filled with illustrations (that’s the illuminated part, right?), that are sweet and interesting. Though, I don’t know if I like them as much as the story itself.
I have to admit. I’ve never read The Little Match Girl. I’d heard of it, but I didn’t even know what it was about. As Maguire writes in his note at the back of the book, The Little Match Girl has not become a part of our contemporary story-telling, the way Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid or The Ugly Duckling has. Anderson’s The Little Match Girl is dark and sad. After reading Matchless, it’s something I definitely have to read. Until then, I have no comparison to make between Matchless and The Little Match Girl.
On its own, I enjoyed Matchless. I don’t know what it was missing. I liked it a lot, but I didn’t love it. Maybe it needs to sit with me. Maybe I need to read Anderson’s original tale.