She was the archetypal Ugly Duckling: she was told so all through her childhood. She had been cursed with everything that made her a natural target in the playground: frizzy red hair, freckles, glasses, buck teeth, spots; she was too tall, too skinny, she had a stammer, and she was forever stumbling over, and therefore perpetually covered in scrapes and bruises. In short, she had no chance.
“But your mother was beautiful,” said the aunts and uncles. “With those genes to grow into, you can’t help but blossom as you grow older.”
They conveniently neglected to remember that she also shared her father’s genes – he of the gaunt, gangly stature, the fiery hair and temperament. It would not be unfair to say that Jack, just like his daughter, had never been the prettiest duckling. Continue reading