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Title: Slammerkin
Author: Emma Donoghue
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 410
Date read: September, 2011

Born to rough cloth in working-class London in 1748, Mary Saunders hungers for linen and lace. Her lust for a shiny red ribbon leads her to a life of prostitution at a young age. A dangerous misstep sends her fleeing to Monmouth and the refuge of the middle-class household of Mrs. Jones, her mother's childhood friend. There she becomes the seamstress her mother always expected her to be and lives the ordinary life of an ordinary girl.

Although Mary becomes a close confidante of Mrs. Jones and has a catalytic effect on the entire household, her desire for a better life leads her back to prostitution. Ultimately, Mary remains true only to the three rules she learned on the streets of London: Never give up your liberty. Clothes make the woman. Clothes are the greatest lie ever told. And it is clothes, their splendor and their deception, that will finally lead Mary to disaster.

In many ways Slammerkin reminded me of older Danish books in style (like Ditte Menneskebarn and Guds blinde øje to name a couple of examples), but unfortunately that's not an entirely good thing. I've always thought those books too depressing for their own good and much to my disappointment, Slammerkin didn't buck that trend.

A shame, because I had had high hopes for it - Emma Donoghue's Room being one of the very best books I've read this year - and for a time it looked like Mary would figure out how to better her situation and make the most of what life had dealt her. I found the historical descriptions believable and interesting, which is what earned the book its average rating. As a whole, it was merely okay.
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