I bought this, and wanted to read it, because I saw the ballet. All I will say to compare the two is that this is essentially a Grimms Fairy Tale to a Disney movie. The performance is NOTHING like the source material. I don’t know what I was expecting, German children’s literature – especially classics – are notoriously dark and this was no exception of that rule.
The story itself follows seven year old Marie, who is given a pretty ugly, wooden Nutcracker from her godfather for Christmas. She has vivid dreams on that night about the Nutcracker and it follows that her godfather tells her the tale of the Nutcracker; how he was once a beautiful boy who was cursed to become ugly. Marie is determined to help her much-loved Nutcracker and wants to help him break the spell that made him ugly and we follow her adventure in to the doll kingdom! It really is the sweetest tale but is also quite brutal and gruesome in parts.
It really was a charming Christmas book. Having seen the ballet I feel I appreciated it more but that’s not to say you couldn’t get the same out of it if you haven’t seen the ballet, I think for me it just added a bit of meat to the bones! I loved this and will definitely reread it at Christmastime again.