The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory



History was never really my strong point in school, I would always scrape by with a B- (barely). I just couldn’t stand memorizing all those facts and people and dates and events. Now I do love learning about history, I just hate learning in school and being tested on it. I’m pretty sure my life won’t be in shambles if I fail to remember the cause, effect, and people involved in the battle of 1822. Of course, I do believe in the quote “If we don’t know our history we’re doomed to repeat it” and I do believe that there’s a cultural importance to learning about your history (I’m an 8th generation African-American so I’ve had my fair share of learning about influential black people throughout history and about my ancestry). But when it comes to being tested on it for a grade, I just don’t do well.

Now I’m all for historical fiction. My love for it probably stems from my desire to learn about history without being in a school setting. Although, I do have to know enough of real history in order to understand/correct historical fiction novels. I never really had the desire to read The Other Boleyn Girl even though it’s one of my favorite genres. When I first came across it, I was a rising freshman in high school and it was on the summer reading list but labeled “Mature”; therefore, it was restricted to juniors and seniors. Being the reading rebel I was, I decided to take a look at the summary at the library. It didn’t appeal to me then so I moved on.

Fast forward 4 years later, I bought the book for a dollar from the library and blush at what I’m reading. Sex is prevalent in this novel and the descriptions are practically “R” rated. That being said, the actual content of the book is pretty good. I haven’t finished it yet (I’m about halfway through) and it’s a page-turner (even though a quick Wikipedia search or some history knowledge can tell you the end).

As a basic summary, the book is about the Boleyns and the infamous King Henry VIII. Mary Boleyn is the narrator, and her family (read: father and uncle) are vying for an increase in status. Thus, through bribery, intrigue, and manipulation, Mary becomes the king’s mistress while he’s married to Katherine and her sister Anne eventually becomes his wife when the king divorces Katherine. Much of the book describes the Boleyn’s rise in status. It is very interesting. But a very adult book.

(And I apologize for using a movie poster to represent the book, it happens to be the copy I have)


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