I’ve recently finished reading “The Boleyn Inheritance” by Philippa Gregory.
The story is told through the eyes of three women: two of King Henry VIII’s wives namely Anne of Cleves (fourth wife) and Katherine Howard (first Anne of Cleves’ maid in waiting and later the king’s mistress – fifth wive); and kinswoman Jane Boleyn, who betrayed her husband and his sister (Anne Boleyn – wife number three) and played a part in every wife of King Henry’s undoing except for the last one.
Reading this book made me think of the story of Cinderella. But this is no Cinderella fairy tale. King Henry VIII was a horrible human being. He was old, sickly (he had an open leg wound that stank up the whole palace), he was obese. His Achilles’ heel was beautiful women, but he was very paranoid and insecure believing there was a constant plot to kill him.
He had his first marriage annulled and was excommunicated by the Pope. This caused the church and state to separate.
Why any woman would agree to marry him is beyond me. Although, apparently Anne of Cleves’s childhood home and life was so horrendous she would have done anything to get away from her brother and mother.
There are a few things that bother me about the story of Cinderella. After she runs away when the clock strikes midnight and the prince is only left with her shoe – why doesn’t he just find out what shoe size it is? Judging from many adaptations of the story, Cinderella has freakishly small feet (like me) and by knowing that, he could have saved himself so much trouble.
Also, how do you not recognize the woman you have danced with and fallen in love with? If it were a masked ball or if the people were wearing wigs, I could understand why he didn’t immediately recognize her, but seriously? How thick is he?
And I do not for one second believe that when Cinderella marries the prince she is free. She remains a servant by becoming the prince’s wife – who says he won’t treat her as such?
Some people like to talk about who their role models are, but I think everyone needs a “Roar” model!
Mine is Piotr Lisek. He is a Polish pole vaulter and he has a ritual: every time before he jumps he gives a mighty roar and charges.
I think that’s what life should be like: whenever we face a challenge instead of cowering in the corner or running away, we should give a mighty roar.
Almost like the character Teddy in the 1944 film “Arsenic and Old Lace”:
Ek het nie gedink dis moontlik nie, maar ek het ‘n nuwe gunsteling boek van Dalene Matthee en dit is Toorbos!
“Liefde is ’n lang leer met baie sporte. Moeilik om te klim, want ons trap dikwels mis…”
My gunsteling dele uit die boek is waar Karoliena haarself soos ‘n boom vermom, want sy wil weet hoe voel dit om ‘n boom te wees; en later waar sy Abel Slinger se olifantvoete/skoene leen, want sy wil weet hoe voel dit om in die voete van ‘n olifant te loop. En ek sou wat wou gee om ook die boomspook te sien!
Karoliena Kapp is ’n alleenkind. Haar pa is vroeg-vroeg deur ’n weerligstraal doodgeslaan en sy het die bos aanvaar as haar oermoeder. Sy is mooi en word gou raakgesien deur Johannes, ’n boswerkerskind wat hom uit die wurggreep van armoede losgewikkel het. Nog voordat sy twintig is, word sy met hom afgetrou en moet sy haar plek as dorpsvrou volstaan.
Maar Karoliena gebruik die eerste kans om weg te loop. Die dag na die troue weet sy: Sy het verkeerd gekies. Sy het van die bos af weggevlug en haar vryheid verruil vir ‘n kou. Nou is sy bang, en sy vat die pad terug.
Terwyl die pietjiekanarie sonder ophou roep: Wie’s-jy, wie’s-jy.
Eerste uitgawe: 2003
I’ve recently read two books back to back with not just one, but several really strong female protagonists. It also shares the same themes.
Female Protagonists: Lily, Rosaleen, August, June and May.
Backcover: Lily has grown up believing she accidentally killed her mother when she was just four years old. Now, at fourteen, she yearns for forgiveness and a mother’s love. Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh and unyielding father, she has only one friend, Rosaleen, a black servant.
When racial tension explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten, Lily is compelled to act. Fugitives from justice, the pair follow a trail left by the woman who died ten years before. Finding sanctuary in the home of three beekeeping sisters, Lily starts a journey as much about her understanding of the world, as about the mystery surrounding her mother.
Thoughts: I absolutely adored this book. I love the idea of incorporating the metaphor of bees social life in the story. I also learnt a lot about bees. For example, I didn’t know most bees in the hive are female – I always assumed just the queen is female.
I also wrote a post a while back about bees committing suicide and apparently if they can’t find a new queen after the old one dies, they commit suicide.
First published: 2003
Female Protagonists: Miss Skeeter, Aibileen, Minny, Miss Hilly, Miss Elizabeth, Mae Mobley, Miss Celia, Constantine, the other maids, Mrs Stein.
Back cover: Enter a vanished world. Jackson, Mississipi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver…
There’s Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son’s tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from college, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.
Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they’d be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell…
Thoughts: It’s strange how many America and South Africa has in common. Sadly, in South Africa there are still a lot of black women working as domestic help and raising white children. The help have their own separate toilet and cutlery. They don’t sit at the same table as their employers.
I remember the woman who semi-raised me: Mina. I remember how she made us home-made “slap tjips” with lots of vinegar. She worked for my parents even before I was born. She was very hardworking and loyal. When we’d go away on holiday she would do house-sitting and feed our pets. I never asked her about her family.
Kathryn Stockett also writes about her own family maid, who raised her.
First published: 2009
For some reason when my best friend told me about this book, I thought the Tattooist was a German. But when I finally started reading it, I realised this wasn’t so.
There are so many accounts of people that lived and survived the concentration camps to tell their tale (except for Anne Frank), but not many where former Nazi’s tell their side of the story. I guess I was hoping for just one to show remorse.
This book is the real life story of Lale Eisenberg, a Slovakian Jew who could speak more than five languages taken to Auschwitz. There he becomes the “Tatowierer” forced to tattoo numbers on all the new inmates. It it there he meets his future wife, Gita, and takes risks to save him and his friends from hunger. He spends almost 3 years there.
Lale Sokolov (he changed his last name after the war) passed away in 2006.
First published: 2018
Rating: 5/5 An extraordinary story
Hoe skryf mens ’n resensie oor ‘n boek van ‘n tyd waar kolonialisme en rassisme hoogty gevier het? As ek sê ek het die boek terdeë geniet, beteken dit ek is ’n rassis?
Toiings is ‘n verhaal van ‘n bruin man wat as skaapwagter werk vir ‘n wit man. Die taalgebruik in die boek is eie aan ’n vergete era: toe plaaswerkers respek getoon het vir hul base deur hul “baas” aan te spreek; en na hulself te verwys as “klonkie” en “meid”.
Deesdae in ‘n vreeslike politieke-korrekte era, word dit nie meer toegelaat nie, selfs nie eens meer in die literatuur nie.
Maar dis juis die taalgebruik wat hierdie boek en karakter so gewild maak. Die skrywer draai nie doekies om nie, maak nie verskoning nie. Hy vertel dit net soos dit is. Woorde soos: stroois, Meraai-goed, omgesukkel, broekskeur gaan, ens. bewys net weer hoe mooi Afrikaans as taal is (as mens net die politiek kan opsy skuif).
Ek dink Toiings was een van die laaste boeke wat my ouma gelees het voor sy oorlede is.
Wie was Mikro?
Dit was die skuilnaam van ‘n skrywer en onderwyser wat oor ‘n 100 boeke gepubliseer het. Hy het glo sy bynaam gekry toe hy laat was vir ‘n biologieklas. Hy was Corlia Fourie se vader.
Ek het “Ruiter in die nag” wat ook deur Mikro gepen is, gelees.
Eerste Publikasie: 1934
The Circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it… It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.
Dust jacket: In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Rêves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire.
Although there are acrobats, fortune-tellers and contortionists, the Circus of Dreams is no conventional spectacle. Some tents contain clouds, some ice. The circus seems almost to cast a spell over its aficionadados, who call themselves the rêveurs – the dreamers. At the heart of the story is the tangled relationship between two young magicians, Celia, the enchanter’s daughter, and Marco, the sorcerer’s apprentice. At the behest of their shadowy masters, they find themselves locked in a deadly contest, forced to test the very limits of the imagination, and of their love…
I really liked the story line of Poppy and Bailey, I liked it more than the main characters’s story.
This book reminded me of The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus. The circus comes to life with magic. Imagine a circus run by or for the characters of Harry Potter…
The clock maker makes me think of Gepetto in the Disney version of Pinocchio.
What I found lacking about the book is that no explanation is given for the wager between the enchanter and sorcerer. Why are they doing this? What do they stand to gain?
The ending was a bit flat though.
First published: 2011
‘n Lekker soppy, soetsappige love story.
Boekomslag: In Die Nes kruip Karoline diep in haar gedagtewêreld vir die werklikheid weg na ‘n traumatiese ervaring. Dokter Duson moet ‘n manier vind om haar uit haar veilige nes te lok, sodat sy weer kan leer om te lewe, om lief te hê.
Gepubliseer in: 1993
This is the second book John lent me to read. John is the security guard at my work, guarding the gate. He is learning the Afrikaans language at the moment. I think he lent me this book, because he can’t yet.
Boekomslag opsomming: Die kind wat altyd oorleef, het dit weer gedoen… Hoekom het ék oorleef, maar nie die vorige twee slagoffers van motorkapings wat in hierdie hospitaal was nie? As my eie broer nie kon…? Ek huiwer om die gedagtes een in my kop te laat vorm aanneem. Is daar ‘n hoër doel waarom my lewe gespaar moes word?
Die Suid-Afrikaanse joernalis Monica Brunetti het alles in die lewe – ‘n belowende loopbaan, ‘n liefdevolle gesin, ‘n mansvriend wat aan trou dink – wanneer sy die kwaad van aangesig tot aangesig ontmoet en in ‘n hospitaalbed beland langs die spontane Ella Nkhoma met die magiese persoonlikheid, wie se humorsin en warm hart Monica se uitkyk op die wêreld op sy kop keer. Hul besonderse vriendskap neem Monica ver anderkant die omheinde wit woonbuurte, na ‘n afdraaipad wat albei vroue se lewe in ‘n heel ander koers stuur…
This book is a translation of The Road to Home, first published in 2005.
This book is an accurate description of the relationships between the different races in South Africa. It also shows that no matter what, life doesn’t always end up the way you planned.
Finally, a new series I can get my teeth or eyes into.
Dust jacket summary: It’s a summer of record-breaking heat in Charlotte and Dr Temperance Brennan is looking forward to her first vacation in years. She’s almost out the door when the bones start appearing. First there’s the little skeleton of a newborn found in a wood stove. Who put her there? The mother, hardly more than a child herself, has disappeared.
Next, a Cessna plane flies into a rock face on a sunny afternoon. Both pilot and passenger are burned beyond recognition, their bodies covered with a strange black substance. What could it be? There’s evidence that they may have had criminal purposes for the flight.
Most puzzling, though, is a cache of bones found in a remote corner of the country. Some animal, some human, the bones are enough the keep Tempe busy for a long time to come. All the pieces of the mystery seem to lead back to an isolated farm. But what happened there and who will be the next victim? The answers lie hidden deep within the bones – if only Tempe can decipher them in time…
First published: 2003