Suffragette movement

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Mini Pin-It Reviews #27 – Four Graphic Novels

Published November 15, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four graphic novels for you – please see my pin-it thoughts below!

1.) Noughts & Crosses Graphic Novel – Malorie Blackman and John Aggs (Illustrator)

What’s it all about?:

Callum is a nought – an inferior white citizen in a society controlled by the black Crosses.

Sephy is a Cross – and the daughter of one of the most powerful, ruthless men in the country.

In their hostile, violent world, noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. But when Sephy and Callum’s childhood friendship grows into love, they’re determined to find a way to be together.

And then the bomb explodes . . .

The long-awaited graphic novel adaptation of one of the most influential, critically acclaimed and original novels of all time, from multi-award-winning Malorie Blackman.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

2.) Dotter Of Her Father’s Eyes – Mary M. Talbot, Bryan Talbot

What’s it all about?:

Part personal history, part biography, Dotter of Her Father”s Eyes contrasts two coming-of-age narratives: that of Lucia, the daughter of James Joyce, and that of author Mary Talbot, daughter of the eminent Joycean scholar James S. Atherton. Social expectations and gender politics, thwarted ambitions and personal tragedy are played out against two contrasting historical backgrounds, poignantly evoked by the atmospheric visual storytelling of award-winning graphic-novel pioneer Bryan Talbot. Produced through an intense collaboration seldom seen between writers and artists, Dotter of Her Father”s Eyes is smart, funny, and sad – an essential addition to the evolving genre of graphic memoir.

Would I recommend it?:

Not sure.

Star rating (out of 5):

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3.) Nimona – Noelle Stevenson

What’s it all about?:

The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it “a deadpan epic.”

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

4.) Sally Heathcote: Suffragette – Mary M. Talbot, Bryan Talbot, Kate Charlesworth

What’s it all about?:

Sally Heathcote: Suffragette is a gripping inside story of the campaign for votes for women. A tale of loyalty, love and courage, set against a vividly realised backdrop of Edwardian Britain, it follows the fortunes of a maid-of-all-work swept up in the feminist militancy of the era. Sally Heathcote: Suffragette is another stunning collaboration from Costa Award winners, Mary and Bryan Talbot. Teamed up with acclaimed illustrator Kate Charlesworth, Sally Heathcote‘s lavish pages bring history to life.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

COMING UP NEXT TIME ON MINI PIN-IT REVIEWS: Four YA Novels.

Short Stories Challenge – A Mighty Horde Of Women In Very Big Hats, Advancing by Michel Faber from the collection The Apple: New Crimson Petal Stories

Published February 13, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s A Mighty Horde Of Women In Very Big Hats, Advancing all about?:

In the final story of this collection we learn what became of Sophie Rackham through the memories of her son who is speaking to us from the 1990’s at the grand old age of 92.

What did I think?:

For the final story in Michel Faber’s collection, I was expecting something stupendous as I was such a big fan of his novel The Crimson Petal And The White. In the Apple, Faber takes the characters from his ground-breaking novel and gives us an eye-opening tidbit into their lives post The Crimson Petal. I was so pleased that he chose the last story to give us an idea of what happened to Sophie Rackham after her extraordinary adventures with Sugar – I’m wary of spoiling things for people who haven’t read the novel so I won’t mention much more about what actually happened and generally speaking, I loved what I read but it left me hungry for a bit more.

My favourite part of the story was probably the first half. It opens with a man recalling his childhood with his mother, Sophie and I found it incredibly engaging and in points, frankly hilarious. Henry has spent much of his early childhood with his parents in Australia and has only recently at the age of seven, moved back to England where he was surprised to discover that this is where his parents real home is. He notes that it wasn’t especially easy fitting in at his new school due to the strong characters of his parents and their living situation which they share with an “Aunt” Primrose. She is no relation to the family but has been living with them as long as he can remember and is what the children in his class claim as unnatural, mainly due to the manner of her dress which is quite “manly,” in appearance and certainly not conforming to the fashions of the time (1908).

All three parental figures to Henry are such interesting characters and strident believers in suffrage and Votes For Women. The main crux of the story focuses on a famous Suffragette March in that year, which Henry is delighted to be a part of. Things don’t exactly go according to plan on the big day however, and it is the events at the march and certain things he has picked up in intimate conversations with his mother that makes Henry realise that his childhood was such an innocent time. He is only now starting to discover that the adult world is far more complex, and the adults he knows far more fallible than he ever could have believed.

As I mentioned, I really enjoyed the earlier parts of this story especially learning about Henry’s family in the events preceding the famous march. That’s not to say I didn’t like the second half – I loved how Faber empowered women and there were many bitter-sweet moments as Sophie Rackham tentatively explored her early life again before becoming overcome by the whole process. I just felt as if there should have been more information about Sophie’s childhood after the events of The Crimson Petal which was only gently and very teasingly touched upon. Of course, I would have loved to hear about Sugar also and what happened to her but she remains quite a distant, ghostly figure in this narrative. Saying that, The Apple is a great collection of stories for fans of the novel which heighten the whole reading experience and quite frankly, made me desperate for a follow-up!

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

NEXT SHORT STORY: The Mean Time by Karin Slaughter (stand-alone).

 

The Ascent of Woman – Melanie Phillips

Published May 12, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

The story of the fight to gain the vote for women is about much more than a picturesque skirmish around the introduction of universal suffrage. It is an explosive story of social and sexual revolutionary upheaval, and one which has not yet ended. The movement for women’s suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries prefigured to a startling extent the controversies which rage today around the role of women. Far from the stereotype of a uniform body of women chaining themselves to railings, the early feminist movement was riven by virulent arguments over women’s role in society, the balance to be struck between self-fulfilment and their duties to family and children, and their relationship with men.

What did I think?:

The reason I enjoy reading non-fiction primarily is to learn about new things or periods in our history that interest me. So when this book was picked by one of the GoodReads groups that I participate with, I was excited to get to it. Obviously I am aware of the Suffragette movement and their fight for women’s rights to give us the vote that we all take for granted nowadays in Western countries, but I hoped I would learn a little more about the famous names like Millicent Fawcett and Emmeline Pankhurst and what they stood for. Unfortunately, I have somewhat mixed opinions over what I read. Some parts made me feel quite furious with their anti-female statements – for example, a quote by Rousseau in 1762 where he states: “The woman is made specially to please the man.” Lovely, right? However, what riled me the most is when other women would also back up these kind of beliefs, for example, one Anna Barbauld who believed the best way to acquire knowledge for a woman was to have a conversation with their brother or father and to undergo a course of reading that these male relatives may recommend. What makes this comment even more shocking is that this woman was an essayist, a critic, a poet and a children’s author, so you could say quite a learned woman and it completely baffles me to think that such an obviously intelligent woman would make it harder to get respect for her own sex.

The author takes us back to one of the early feminists, Mary Wollstonecraft and her landmark text A Vindication of the Rights of Woman to the development of the Blue Stockings literary discussion groups and building up to the height of the suffragette movement where she focused mainly on the Pankhursts – Emmeline and Christabel. I found some parts of this slightly dry and a bit hard to swallow, especially when some of the intricate details were fairly sketchy. The campaigners themselves seemed to have split into two different factions, those that went about their protests quite peacefully and the “militants,” die-hard suffragettes that would endure imprisonment, hunger strike and forced feeding, throw themselves under horses or chain themselves to buildings and would think nothing of using a spot of violence or threat to make their voices heard. However, I don’t think I’m alone in wondering if the author had some sort of issue with the Pankhursts as there did not seem to be one good thing she could say about the mother-daughter team. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone violence/threats in any way, shape or form but it just seemed at times the author was trying too hard to paint the Pankhursts as the “bad guys.”

There were parts of this book though that did draw a smile in regards to some of the beliefs that were held and propagated at the time. For example, women will ensure the racial superiority of the human race, 75-80% of men were infected with gonorrhoea and 20% with syphilis before the age of thirty therefore men are the source of all disease, and this particular quote which raised my eyebrows right off the top of my head:

“The human race is suffering from over-fertilisation and enforced reproduction. Man the destroyer has been at work, not woman the constructor. When man is continent the mysterious origin of cancer will be solved and cancer, with other kindred horror, will disappear. Sexual germs are not confined to the reproductive organs; they permeate the whole body. Assimilation and absorption by the female organism cannot divest them of their potential properties of stimulation and disintegration, of decay and corruption. Hence the terrible increase of cancer among the western races, who for so long have ignored the law.”

Frances Swiney – prominent suffrage speaker

Indeed, the most influential medical authority at that time, one Sir William Acton was very concerned about the waste of spermatic fluid which came with sexual excess for men and noted that many un-married men were also intellectuals. Sorry – what?

To sum up, as a reading experience I do have many mixed emotions about this book. I felt like I learned a few things (some of which I wish I could UN-learn now!) but my beliefs were a bit shaken at times although I will probably do a bit more reading around this subject as it is very interesting to get a balanced view on a movement that was vitally important towards equality for women. No, things still aren’t perfect, especially in some countries where women are still fighting to be recognised as an equal to man, but I think without the suffragette protests in our past, life would look a bit different today, and not for the better.

Would I recommend it?:

Maybe!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art