Book Reviews · Mini Review · The Reading

Mini Review #5: Rejected Princesses, A Northern Light

Mini Review #1

Title: Rejected Princesses – Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions & Heretics
Author: Jason Porath
Published: October 25th, 2016 by Dey Street Books

Blending the iconoclastic feminism of The Notorious RBG and the confident irreverence of Go the F**ck to Sleep, a brazen and empowering illustrated collection that celebrates inspirational badass women throughout history, based on the popular Tumblr blog.

Well-behaved women seldom make history. Good thing these women are far from well behaved . . .

Illustrated in a contemporary animation style, Rejected Princessesturns the ubiquitous “pretty pink princess” stereotype portrayed in movies, and on endless toys, books, and tutus on its head, paying homage instead to an awesome collection of strong, fierce, and yes, sometimes weird, women: warrior queens, soldiers, villains, spies, revolutionaries, and more who refused to behave and meekly accept their place.

The Review:

I had such a great time reading this book! After all the princess movies I’ve seen and the fairy tales I’ve read, Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions & Heretics is definitely a breath of fresh air, which is probably weird considering a lot of the stories contain violence and abuse.

I think the stories presented in this book are very informative and wouldn’t be something a lot of people are familiar with, I know it wasn’t for me. While I do know the stories of several women in Rejected Princesses, most of them are new to me. I find their stories fascinating and something more people should know about. For a non-fiction, Rejected Princesses is a very easy read, not only because of the beautiful illustrations, but also because the stories are written in a fun way that even made me laugh 🙂

I don’t know if this book is something you’d want to read to kids (even though the illustrations make it seem like a children’s book. It’s not), but there is a rating system (from 1-5 to) indicate the maturity levels, and there are trigger warnings (violence, abuse, sex, rape and self-harm) for each story, so you can decide for yourself which ones you want to read and which ones you want to skip.

From Hatshepsut, to Empress Myeongseong to Anne Hutchinson,  I think these stories are great for everyone to read, not only because of the history, but to give new role models who aren’t animated princesses, but real live women who were intelligent, strong and capable despite all the hardships they had to go through.

Mini Review #2 – DNF Review

Title: A Northern Light
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Published: September 1st, 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers 

Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown entrusts her with the task of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when Grace’s drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers that the letters could reveal the grim truth behind a murder.

Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, Jennifer Donnelly’s astonishing debut novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, and real, and wholly original.

The Review:

I don’t really have a lot to say about A Northern Light. I’m sure it’s a perfectly good book, a lot of people seem to like it, but I read about half of it until I decided that I had to stop. Honestly, I don’t think there is anything wrong in particular. The main character, Mattie, is a girl with too many responsibilities who wants to be more than what her family expects of her, and I think people could relate to her. The people around her feel realistic, they either support or oppose her dreams, and I can definitely see how she’d be torn.

But I was just so bored, and I had to put the book down multiple times, not picking it back up for days because I just couldn’t get into the story. There’s a murder in the book, and I thought I would be curious about the mystery behind it, but that’s not what happened.

Maybe it’s a case of ‘wrong book at the wrong time’, and maybe I’ll try to read it again in the future, maybe I won’t.

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