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Slammerkin [PDF / Epub] ☃ Slammerkin Author Emma Donoghue – Mary Saunders a lower class London schoolgirl was born into rough cloth but hungered for lace and the trappings of a higher station than her family would ever know In 18th century England Mary's shrew Mary Saunders a lower class London schoolgirl was born into rough cloth but hungered for lace and the trappings of a higher station than her family would ever know In th century England Mary's shrewd instincts will get her only so far and she despairs of the plans made for her to carve out a trade as a seamstress or a maid Unwilling to bend to such a destiny Mary strikes out on a painful fateful journey all her own Inspired by the obscure historical figure Mary Saunders Slammerkin is a provocative graphic tale and a rich feast of an historical novel Author Emma Donoghue probes the gap between a young girl's uest for freedom and a better life and the shackles that society imposes on her Never give up your liberty.

10 thoughts on “Slammerkin

  1. Melanie Melanie says:

    I never leave the house without a red ribbonMary Saunders the focus of Slammerkin is thrown outof her house after being raped for her desire for a red ribbonDoes the red ribbon establish a kinship between Mary andme? Perhaps Lacking a common desire or situation thereader may have difficulty opening herself to a character– in my case the relationship between a middle agedlibrarian and a doomed teenaged prostituteSlammerkin places a very young woman in a desperatelypoor household where she is neither loved nor consultedabout how her life will unfoldAll evidence points to a miserable and colorlesscontinuation of her mother’s life of poverty drudgeryand subjugation that was sealed when her fatherwas killed in a misguided protest by men who believed thatthey were going to lose literally lose eleven days of theirlives when the government changed to the Gregoriancalendar in 1752 that they would lose timeI was fascinated by the subjective inconstancy of Mary’sperception of time In her mother’s house time is nearly asolid mass changing only by suffering and the family’sheartless response to Mary’s pregnancy This response aproduct of the times is doled out without mercyHow could the family understand the depth of Mary’s needto escape the faded beige of their lives or the magical hopesymbolized by that red ribbon? And yet how could a mothercast out her raped pregnant daughter?As I write I realize that Mary’s mother is the only trulyunforgivable character in the book Perhaps my modern timesensibility intrudes All of the subseuent damage andtragedy that defined Mary’s brief time and all of the bitterfocus on the actual material that she craved in this worldbegan with this primal betrayal If she was not loved forwhat was within she could at least adorn herself with the transitory beauty of clothesTime and the times were different when Mary fledto London London was fast paced and the woman whoaccepted her into the sisterhood of prostitutes were fastDoll’s love and practical guidance showed Mary that societycan tolerate – even reuire – actions and beliefs far largerthan she had ever imagined Through prostitution Maryacuired financial independence and freedom to see some ofthewonders of her modern world Likethe fireworks overLondon she and her sisters of the night were brief flashesof beauty dressed in their colorful slammerkins loosedresses and masked behind their paintMary’s sudden need to escape a street thug impelled herto Magdalene Hospital a residence founded to purge theevil from the street wise women Time was suspended therewith silence blandness and time to think without fearingstarvation or death in the freezing streets With Doll’s deathMary realizes that she has to leave London and herretreat ends in a desperate flight from the sanctuaryto the town where her mother had grown up Glimpsesof the possibilities there almost melt her cynicism buther nature has been formed and she can not escapeThis novel is based loosely on the actual life of a MarySaunders who was executed for murder in 1764 From thebeginning of the novel when Mary is 13 to her death byhanging at age 16 Mary passes through lifetimesthan many experience in ten times the yearsHow many such lifetimes can a child endure? For Mary is achild and my working class perception of childhoodmakes me ache for this young girl whose onlytransgression was the love of a piece of red ribbonHow does the red ribbon bind me to Mary’s life? For both the18th century child and the 21st century woman the redribbon symbolizes hope Mary’s hope for a better life isdestroyed but the hopes of my Eastern European Jewishancestors for the children who would be born in the newworld and would escape the Evil Eye of the old havebeen realized After reading Slammerkin I realize anewthat I am indeed blessed

  2. Ted Ted says:

    knowledge altered opinion explanation new ratingSince I wrote this review almost four years ago I’ve learned about the author Emma Donoghue I’ve learned that she’s won or been nominated for several prizes and that her historical fiction has tended to be centered around the different ways that in past times women were perceived; the pretty limited choices that women often had; and the real stories of certain women that became rather sensational in their own time – or perhaps scandalous would be a better word?Knowing these and other bits about Donoghue has caused me to think that I may have been somewhat dismissive of this book and the author those four years ago So and I’m sure this will thrill Ms Donoghue I’m raising my rating for the book to a four I hope to try at least one of her other books possibly Room as suggested in a comment belowOriginal review with small alterations underlined view spoilerDid you enjoy reading the book? I did enjoy some parts off and on That's why it got three stars raised to fourAre you glad you read the book? No Yes I wish I'd spent the hours reading any other book that I've been reading no no longer trueWould you read another book by the same author? It's possible but I think not likelyDid you know the book was about an actual person and event? Not until I finished it and read the few pages at the endDo you wish you had known before you read it? It depends If that knowledge would have kept me from reading it yes Otherwise no I have no idea what the answer is oh come on TedWhy didn't you like the book ? I don't really know In this particular case it might be because it seemed the book was all over the place It was in the last hundred pages that it sort of fell apart for me But I don't really care know why Could it be because you're lacking in the skills of fictional analysis criticism? Certainly hide spoiler

  3. Francine Francine says:

    I was highly disappointed by this book especially since it received some really good reviews The writing style was fine and Emma Donoghue painted a fairly accurate portrait of 18th century London These are the only things which made me give this novel 2 starsotherwise it would've been a 1 star book I thought the narrative's main flaw lay in its heroine Mary Saunders To me she was very 2 dimensional she was vain vapid egotistical wholly unapologetic about her thoughtsfeelingsactions that she was just completely unrelatable I found her to be very unsympathetic and for me that made getting through the book very difficult Many times as readers we look for something within a character which can be relatable to our own lives but the characterization of Mary Saunders was such that I just found her intolerable and insufferable Even in the 3rd part of the novel when she seemingly wants to try to change her ways she still comes off as disingenuous

  4. Phil Phil says:

    This book is anti erotica Its about a girl who is forced into prostitution by a totally heartless world London in the eighteeth century and who progresses in the course of the book from an innocent to the most depraved of humanity The story wends its way from beginning to end and is interesting and readable but it is a crabbed view of humanity unlightened by any hope of redemption or joy I enjoyed reading it once but its not one of those books I will seek out again

  5. Erin Erin says:

    It's strange that when you don't like a book you can come up with a lot of reasons why yet when I love one I just say Fantastic Read it This book had a lot of ingredients for me to love but it just fell completely flat I felt absolutely nothing for the main character Mary I think that was the crux of the problem She is just a psychopath I mean at least give me a better reason for her to willingly give into that ribbon peddler at age 14 than she just likes colorful hair bows What? Come on Skip this one and read Room by Donoghue instead

  6. Sarah Sarah says:

    Most depressing book EVER Considering that I am currently reading Everything Is Illuminated and We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families right now and I picked this book up because I apparently was an idiot and thought it would be relief from those two books well consider my idiocy please Not a wise move on my partDepressing but amazingly written One of the best books I’ve read in a long while As dreadful as some of the characters are they are all engaging Beautiful array of female characters who all show different aspects of being a woman in 18th century society You could definitely tell that the author had done her research from everything to clothing to food to society to architecture Considering the research fail I usually encounter this book was one long session of me saying YESI wanted wanted wanted Mary to have a happy ending to reform herself and marry Daffy but she didn’t She failed pretty spectacularly at the whole reform thing though I wonder if she were even capable of it Or even if she would have been successful at being a wife considering she was barren though I imagine that Daffy would have grown to accept that after a time This book is just a slow ebbing of Mary’s innocence You think she lost it entirely when her mother threw her out of the house but she kept finding new ways to build up hope and then destroy it Simultaneously naive and worldly reallyLoved it From cover to cover

  7. Xysea Xysea says:

    Well from all the books I've read about this time period it has become alarmingly clear that a woman such as myself would not have existed back thenWomen were allowed only a few scripted roles one of which was prostitute For any woman who didn't find the confines of holy matrimony a sacrifice worth making there was always the stree whore the slammerkin the dress lodger the bar wench or the mistress All were examples of the same thing; a woman who exchanged sexual relations for money andor power of a sortMost woman who chose door #2 often made bad ends; the heroine in this novel or is that anti heroine? is no different Probably some long hold over hangover? from morality tales of the past Like the Hayes Code for movies if you will A woman who sells herself for money can't possibly end up well off and comfortable because that would promote such a thing right? Right??Other than that amount of predictability this is a better than decent read It flows pretty well and our heroines adventures fly fairly high until the inevitable denouementYou do care about the characters for the most part Though not deeply The comeuppance she receives doesn't encite schaudenfreude rather a terse shake of the head tsk tskFans of historical novels however will likely enjoy it

  8. Laura Leaney Laura Leaney says:

    When I was just a young thing when was that ever possible? I had a near obsession with England especially the age of Austen It was the euipment and accoutrement of the rich that particularly fascinated me Jane Austen probably began this but there must have been some other source that I cannot recall Even the poverty stricken orphans of the later Dickensian world were painted with Romance for me because didn't some of them get found? Didn't the end turn out all right? Look at Oliver Whatever blackness existed I know I blocked it out This book makes that blackness extremely real Slammerkin is a brutal look at one particular facet of the Georgian era underclass prostitution Donoghue's writing is luscious but she writes in the rich imagery of rot Like fruit gone bad London is an explosion of color and activity carriage wheels and powdered wigs Within the current of its streets are the men cullies rutting with girls against alley walls pimps shining with sweat the high colour of rouge and coralled lips the clap the stink of sex and dead eyes like glass It's horrible and fascinating A bit like opening a privy door to 1760The focus of the book is Mary Saunders a courageous girl with a core of something distinctly unlikeable wedged inside her heart Her journey begins with the craving for a bit of red ribbon It takes her straight to hell I didn't see too many choices for her on the way thoughWhat I really like about the book is the author's brilliant use of period detail Stomachers corsets improvers stayseverything is here What I can't uite get over is the shallow nature of Mary Saunders I should have felt but her character is too flat for my taste Something seems missing in her but perhaps that's the nature of psychopaths Is she one? It's hard to tell She is certainly hardened beyond belief and if I'd understood of her younger years I might have been able to glimpse the soul of her

  9. Monique Monique says:

    Been a long time since I read a book I really liked couldnt wait to get back to and genuinely learned something from and I got all that from this one gemIt is a dark chilling tale of young girl whose thirst for the finer things in life lead her to the dark side as a fallen woman but hooray prostitutes they are the strongest fiercest and funniest characters in the book and Doll she reminds me of Sugar from another great book on harlots The Crimson Petal and the White is my favorite but I come to actually admire Mary and how silly she isShe realizes that her body is all she has and she decides to use it to get what she wants though the honest career of sewing she was made for is open and available to her In this book I learned three great rules Never give up your liberty Clothes make the woman and Clothes are the greatest lie ever told and honestly I plan on using these rules and applying them in 2009I enjoyed this book felt a little cheated at the end but only because it felt too short contrived and not hardly fitting of the girl you grow to like despite her flawsSassy and dark read but thoroughly enjoyable

  10. Faye Faye says:

    Read August 2017Rating 45 starsThis is the third Emma Donoghue novel I've read the first being The Sealed Letter and the second being Room and based on the strength of all three Donoghue is rapidly becoming one of my 'auto buy authors'I definitely benefited from the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about this book when I started reading view spoilerto the point I didn't even know Mary Saunders was a real person hide spoiler

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