The different takes on the green man—as well as green woman—were just lovely. Lush forest descriptions, vivid mythology, and some truly haunting tales were woven in this collection. The lure of the forest, particularly during tumultuous times in one’s life, was a common theme. Tales of stolen children, forest redemption following industrialization, and sumptuous tales of lovers joined by lakes of their own tears can all be found in The Green Man.
One of my absolute favorite tales in the book dealt with a teenage girl whose mother, a hospice nurse, fell in love with a man online and decided to marry him. You get the ominous feeling that he may not be safe, let alone legit, but once you meet him and his kids, you realize that things might be okay after all—thus providing us with a pleasant, even beautiful, tale rather than the predatory one we were expecting. Another favorite was of a teen boy, torn between college and family because of his duties, who eventually learned that life wasn’t as it seemed with the help of the green.
The collection still isn’t my favorite—the first two I read continue to be tied in that regard—but it may be one of my favorite books, period. Like the other collections, you’ll find works by Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, and other favorites; this one actually has a wonderful tale, a hilarious take on Jack the Giant Killer, by Gregory Maguire as well. Since the stories are about the forest and nature, there are lots of folklore nods and native tie-ins, too.
Most of the tales are geared toward the teen audience, though they can be enjoyed by any adult as well. Any fairy tale lover would delight in receiving this book for Christmas; even though I’ve finished it already, I know I would!