Review: Slammerkin

SlammerkinSlammerkin by Emma Donoghue

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is not a whore-with-a-heart-of-gold story. In two years time, fourteen year old Mary Saunders goes from a life of poverty with her family to the very grown up world of the Courts of Assize. There's a lot of messages to this story - what options were available to women in Mary's time period, how did class determine a person's future and even a look at the shades of gray that lay between servitude and slavery. But Donoghue puts her characters before her statement, so that you've read the whole book before you realized you've just been schooled in women's emancipation, 1748 style. Once you've read this story, you'll never be able to say that kids are forced to grow up too fast in our time. (Side note for anyone who likes stories that pay a lot of attention to clothing of the period, Mary's life is defined not only by what she wears,first as a school girl, then a prostitute, then as a servant, but also the clothing of others, and Donoghue doesn't skimp on descriptions.)

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