Saturday, June 12, 2010

Review: Or Give Me Death by Ann Rinaldi

Summary:Patrick Henry, the famous statesman, has a secret: His wife is losing her mind, and he's locked her in the cellar so she won't hurt herself-- or their children.

Daughter Ann has a secret, too: She knows which child will inherit her mom's madness.

With insight and compassion, Ann Rinaldi explores the possibility that Patrick Henry's immortal girl of "Give me liberty, or give me death," which roused a nation to arms, was first spoken by his wife-- as she pleased to be released from her confinement.

Review: Another Rinaldi and another historical novel. I have to admit that this was not one of my favorites (even if I've only read three of her books).

I did love the topic though. In school we're talked about these words "Give me liberty, or give me death." Quiet honestly I didn't know, or even think for a second, that Patrick Henry's wife might have said these words. And that she was insane? This was another thoughtful, engaging book that led us into the lives of the Henry household. With sister Patsy trying to keep things under control, younger children being very naughty and a mother who is losing her mind, there was a lot going on at once. I have to give it to Rinaldi for writing this book in such a fashion that I was never once confused at what was happening.

Patsy was the most annoying, ungrateful older sister ever. Sometimes I really felt bad for her but then I wanted to slap her all the same. Not to mention that she was in love with, and getting married, to her cousin. That was just ew. But in those days (this book takes place from 1771-1774), as I've learned, that wasn't too uncommon!

Ann was my favorite character. I can't imagine what it must have been like for her to grow up with her father always gone, her mother losing her mind (though Ann got along fine with her), and having such an older sister. But she was a strong girl throughout the whole novel and I just loved her. Not to mention that she was a well written, well developed charter.

And as a side note, I have to say that when I first read that Patrick Henry was going to marry Dorothea Dandridge, 16, I was so shocked. Not necessarily at the age difference, but because Patrick Henry's son, John was courting her and he was away at war. How could a man marry the girl (who was close to 20 years younger than him?) who his son was in love with? Oh, and they had 11 children. Sorry, but this bit bugged the crap out of me!

Grade: Go to fullsize image It was okay.

Cover: A+, I love the sad girl and the woods. It adds to the mood of the story!

Overall: It's not too bad a book. If you don't have anything to do or read and want a historical fiction, pick this up!

1 comment:

  1. Woah, I know things back then were differet but woah!