Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl - What the..!?

I finished Phillipa Gregory's "The Other Boleyn Girl" and was just irritated throughout the book. I only finished it to see how far she would go with this story.

I splurged on this book a few months ago - I find my literary treasures on the clearance table or at the library. Since I have such a Tudor obsession, let's go for it! Plus, there's an Eric Bana movie and I wanted to read it before the movie. (Wait for me, Eric!)
Within the first few pages, I was running to my Antonia Fraser book to look up timelines and events. When I checked online, I was happy to see that I wasn't the only one who spotted all the historical inaccuracies.
I can appreciate Phillipa Gregory's desire to bring alive a person who was forgotten by history. However, in trying to elevate Mary, the rest of the family became caricatures! Anne wasn't smart and strong, but extremely manipulative and heartless. She added modern sentiments to Mary - such as the desire to be with and raise her own children, much like Princess Diana.
I haven't seen the movie, but my father had. He was shaking his head about the story and how the Boleyn family had manipulated and used Mary and Anne as pawns. However, this was part of the author's artistic license. And, to your average viewer/reader (i.e., someone who is not going to check biographical references from 16th c.), these portrayals and stories become "factual." This novel also glossed over all the political and religious upheavals in the country.
To close with Dorothy Parker's famous words:
This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.

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