Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

This is such an odd book to rate...

I honestly love to learn about the plague so I was really excited when I read this book's summary, and to be fair for the first few chapters it was very satisfying, but then it all devolved into ignorance and silliness. And I don't mean from the part of the characters, I mean from the author.

Brooks claims in the afterword to have studied these events extensively, but she shows very little knowledge of the medieval day-to-day reality of 1666. 
It's not as if a quarantined plague village lacks for drama on its own, but Brooks had to bring in more sensationalistic drama, which would be more at home in a Hollywood movie that portrays medieval times as simply dark, ignorant, and hopeless,  refusing to acknowledge the true historical facts of the time period.

I was especially upset at how Brooks brought up witchcraft into a story that didn't need it. I hate it when the wise women of those times are cast as witches or as adhering to satanic beliefs - just leave that kind of thinking to the insane misogynistic ramblings of the clerical women-haters of the time, there's no place for that sort of thing in a book written in modern times.

All in all it was entertaining enough, but Brooks seemed to have more of an intention to shock than to write in an informed way.

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