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Slammerkin Paperback – May 1, 2002
"The Swans of Fifth Avenue" by Melanie Benjamin
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife comes an enthralling new novel about Truman Capote's scandalous, headline-making, and heart-wrenching friendship with Babe Paley and New York's society "swans" of the 1950s. Learn more | See related books
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Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book affected me so deeply that I finished it days ago, yet I am still haunted by it.
Ms. Donoghue has created a tale that is absolutely SOAKED in unflinching truth. Her historical detail is so fascinating and at times, properly horrifying, that you will be shaken to your soul, yet you will not be able to look away.
The many themes skillfully woven throughout the book are powerful: mother-daughter ironies, the issues of slavery and servitude, injustice, the servitude of women, sexual politics, poverty, the haves versus the have-nots, humanity's general cruelty -- each issue is skillfully explored without one hint of judgement or preachiness. In fact, this book is all about the story; nothing more, nothing less.
Mary herself is an enigma. Why did she make the choices she did; what made her so strong that she tried to create a new pattern for her life? Was she insane when she committed her crime? Did her lifetime of gruesome, heart-wrenching experiences cause her to lose her mind?
The final scene of the book is so powerful that I am getting shivers just thinking about it.
I wish I could explain what makes this novel so very compelling; but I don't have the words for it. All I can say is that here is a shimmering treasure of a novel. Pass it up and you'll be missing a rare opportunity to be one of the first readers of what is sure to become a classic for centuries to come.
Almost inevitably, the unskilled Mary becomes a prostitute under the tutelage of Doll. She's soon seduced by the money she can earn and the colorful clothes that money buys, as well as by her newfound "freedom." Plying "the trade" on the dirty and pitiless streets of London, Mary grows up fast. She develops a knack for reading people and manipulating them; yet, emotionally, she remains a child, tender and disastrously confused.
Eventually, a series of misfortunes sends Mary fleeing from London for her life. She travels to distant Monmouth, where her parents had met before leaving to seek their fortunes in London. Concocting a story about her "dead" mother's last wish, Mary secures a place in the household of her mother's erstwhile best friend, a dressmaker.
For the first time in her life, Mary experiences a nurturing environment, has people who care about her. Although her arrogance wins her no friends amongst the other servants, she feels happy for a time and learns to be an excellent seamstress. But her old demons still haunt her. Her yearning for the fine garments and fine lives of her employer's clients becomes insufferable.Read more ›
The story is set in 18th century London where a young girl, Mary, makes one desperate decision that alters her life forever. A simple desire, one red ribbon, leads her down the road of darkness. Mary had a desire for beautiful things in her life but there wasn't much beauty to be found in this story. It is raw with realism and brutal in its descriptions. The author does not glorify the life of a prostitute. It is presented to us in all of its ugliness and is at times uncomfortable to read. This is the sign of remarkable writing. I was taken from my quiet life and placed in a time where horrendous things happened to young women at every turn.
I wanted to despise Mary, but I found myself sympathizing with her. Life was hard back then, and especially so for a young girl left to the street. Her dissatisfaction with her life was her greatest obstacle. To her, being a servant was no better than being a prostitute. In the end, her own impulsiveness caused her downfall.
I had no idea of the ending of this book before I picked it up. I was surprised to say the least. It was a dark read but worth the time. I will highly recommend it to others.
Her escapades are never-ending, and her character will stick by you, whether or not you'd like her to be there.
Exploring significant characters often ignored by history books, and those wishing to push certain unmentionable events under the rug, Slammerkin provides for an insightful and intriguing read.
Although a very somber novel, it is very much worthwhile. It sat on my shelf much too long, before being read. Once I finally picked it up, I couldn't stop reading. I was intrigued and at times disgusted, but glued to the book, nonetheless. Enjoy!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Slammerkin was a wonderful book that is totally unpredictable. It like Room left me unsettled and a little sad. Is it because it ended- or is it just me? Which ever... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Land
Period novel. Crude descriptions of life for a poor young woman in 18th century London.Published 22 days ago by J.Hamel
I don't remember how I came across this book, but it's one of the best books I've ever read. One of my all time favorites, and clearly underrated. Read morePublished 1 month ago by G. Knight
This historical novel doesn't follow any royalist or wealthy family; it follows an average girl who gets sucked in difficult situations because of one mistake she made at the age... Read morePublished 3 months ago by TnTaylor
As others have said, this is not a book to read if you're looking for something light hearted and cheerful. This book depicts a hard time in England's history. Read morePublished 4 months ago by B. Gross
Well written. Authors writing flows, up until the point in the story where the main character grows impatient with her lot in life, and commits an act that brings all to a close. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Cathy Mccormic
Based on a true story, this book paints a picture of the lives and prospects of poor women in its times. Interesting social history woven into an engaging story.Published 5 months ago by Bjerkana
I went through a historical fiction phase during freshman year of high school, and I recall loving this racy read from an Irish ex-pat that explores the role sexuality and clothing... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Christin M. Mulligan
I thought this was a romance but turned out to be more like a biography. It felt like a true story and was sad till the end. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kindle Customer