Thumb Alena Novel Project

You may think you already know this story.

But if you’ve heard the version with a tiny, obedient, and helpless girl at the mercy of toads, who awaits rescue from one child marriage after another, drifts without aim through the woods, and is unable to do anything but be beautiful, then you haven’t heard the real story.

The real story is about a tiny girl, yes. But it’s also about enchantments and mushroom-based poisons, damselflies and reckless escapes, spider’s silk and disguises and redemption. There is no helpless drifting on the part of our heroine. And if there is a happy ending to be had, it won’t be won by virtue of her being pretty and waiting to be saved.

It may seem odd that the original story was watered down into the rather disappointing ‘Thumbelina’ story we grew up with. But let it be your first lesson on an unfortunate (but important to acknowledge) fact: history has a tendency to erase the victories of those who are strange, and small, and don’t belong.

This novel is a feminist retelling of perhaps the worst fairy tale for women ever written. In the original Thumbelina by Hans Christen Andersen, the hapless heroine is capable only of singing beautifully while being shuttled from one unwanted marriage to the next. Thumb Alena seeks to connect with modern readers who crave protagonists with agency.