20190506

Little by Edward Carey

We are back from our vacation, my in laws just arrived and the holy month of Ramadan has also started so things are crazy.. I will start sharing all the details with you soon. :)




Little by Edward Carey

Synopsis The wry, macabre, unforgettable tale of an ambitious orphan in Revolutionary Paris, befriended by royalty and radicals, who transforms herself into the legendary Madame Tussaud. In 1761, a tiny, odd-looking girl named Marie is born in a village in Switzerland. After the death of her parents, she is apprenticed to an eccentric wax sculptor and whisked off to the seamy streets of Paris, where they meet a domineering widow and her quiet, pale son. Together, they convert an abandoned monkey house into an exhibition hall for wax heads, and the spectacle becomes a sensation. As word of her artistic talent spreads, Marie is called to Versailles, where she tutors a princess and saves Marie Antoinette in childbirth. But outside the palace walls, Paris is roiling: The revolutionary mob is demanding heads, and . . . at the wax museum, heads are what they do.       
Thoughts This is the story of  how the orphaned Marie Grosholtz became the famous Madame Tussaud. The story starts in Switzerland then to Germany where Marie also known as Little is first introduced to the art of wax. From Germany we follow Little to France where she is an unpaid servant, she meets the Kings and spend time as an art tutor in Versailles, even finds herself in jail. The obstacles are surmountable.. yet she survives and flourishes. She never loses hope even when most the book details all the bad things that happen in her life. I was in awe of how with all that happened she was still able to became the Great Madame Tussaud. This was not a quick read.. it had a lot of extra details.. a lot of details I could have done without. The book also spent a lot of time in the bloody French Revolution and then the Reign of Terror (yay?) and very little time of Marie as Madame Tussaud. There is no mention of the thirty three year she spent in the British Isles before opening the wax museum in London. The writer spent a lot of time dwelling in her low points and we very rarely got to see her winning.. 

Whenever I find myself reading a historical book I find myself stopping mid page and goggling facts.. people.. events. During one such googling session I learned that the author took many liberties with the subject matter. Meaning it contains more fiction than history. It was at that point that my interest in the book started to wane. I kept doubting everything I read.. was it real or a flight of fancy.. The author, Edward Carey worked in the London Madame Tussaud in his 20's and it was during that time that he became interested in Madame Tussaud and her life. It took is over a decade to write the book. 

“There’s something mythical about her, as if she were a character from folklore or fairytale,” Edward Carey wrote recently in the Guardian. Over time, he realized, “She feels made up, she seems like a story.”

I had never given much thought to Madame Tussaud before. I have never been to her museum, I don't intend on doing so anytime soon but if even half the events of the book are true she was quite a woman and everyone should know a little more about her. I may not have loved the book but I liked it, I liked the opportunity to learn about this woman.

The book was also full of brilliant illustrations done by the author which were a treat.




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29 comments:

Jeanie said...

That's EXACTLY how I feel about books like this! The subject matter is fascinating (what could be more fascinating than Mme. Toussaud?) but then they go all fast and loose with the facts. The life itself is intriguing enough. While I want to read books that tell these stories, I want them honest, and I like you, I find myself pawing around through google and more, looking for the real story. But now I feel, at least, compelled to google her!

I wish you and your family a most blessed Ramadan. May it be a lovely time for you.

ALLIE NYC said...

Oh this does sound like a good read despite it's short comings. Though I agree this is quite frustrating. When writing an historical novel writers should stick to facts the best they can.

i would still give this a go

Allie of
www.allienyc.com

Veronica Lee said...

The book does sound interesting. I hate it when historical books and movies don't stick to facts.

Welcome back! Can't wait to read about your vacation.

Selamat Berpuasa! It means Happy Fasting in Malay!

Jackie Harrison said...

Sounds like an interesting book also like the simple illustration.

white and vintage said...

Thanks for sharing this interesting book.
Have a nice week,
Christine

Kelly said...

Part of me is really intrigued by this since I've been to several of the museums (London, Amsterdam, and Las Vegas), but like you... I'm not thrilled when I know the author has departed from fact more than they should. I'm currently in a slow, detailed historical fiction, but will keep this in mind for future reference.

I understand you have a lot going on this month, but do look forward to hearing about your vacation when you have time to share!

Emmylou said...

Thanks for the honest review, Hena! I do love the illustrations of the book, but for historical books, I really don't like when writers put their own bias (which is of course inevitable sometimes).

Sakuranko said...

I love it the illustrations darling
Thanks for share
xx

Elephant's Child said...

I am with you. I like my history to be untainted by flights of fancy.

Jodie's Touch of Style said...

I don't mind adding in all the fiction with stories like this. It's that creative license that makes it interesting!!
XOXO
Jodie

BLovedBoston said...

Sounds super interesting! Thanks for sharing! xo, Biana-BlovedBoston

Stefanie said...

Oh my, and I was going to say this sounded like an interesting read. I guess there are gaps in history in regards to her life?

Carole's Random Life said...

This does sound interesting. I will admit that I know next to nothing about this historical figure. It sounds like it would be worth picking up despite its issues.

Julie | This Main Line Life said...

I agree. It's disappointing when I'm reading a historical fiction book and find out that it's more fiction than fact.

Debbie said...

so interesting that a book of history, contains more fiction than history - that would bother me as well!!

i really liked the illustrations you shared, they left me wanting to see more!!

Starshine Beauty said...

It looks interesting! THanks for sharing :)

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awhite said...

Wishing you and the family a lovely Ramadan!

-Ashley
Le Stylo Rouge

Jenny said...

That sounds like a great book!

Rowena @ rolala loves said...

Sounds like an interesting read. I always find myself looking up the facts whenever I read anything historical as well.

karen said...

Sounds like an intriguing book. And may you have a blessed Ramadan!!! (and have fun with your family!!!)

Carrie said...

Hope you enjoy Ramadan! The simple illustrations look interesting. I have been on a roll with books lately, getting more read than usual!

Carrie
curlycraftymom.com

Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra said...

This sounds pretty interesting. I enjoy historical fiction but definitely want the author to get as many facts as possible correct.

Marisa Cavaleiro said...

Nice readings!!
Lovely time dear!!
xoxo

marisasclosetblog.com

Doused in Pink | Chicago Style Blog said...

I love historical fiction and this sounds like an interesting read!

Jill - Doused in Pink

Sparkles and Lattes said...

It sounds like an interesting book. thank for sharing.

NotJessFashion said...

Sounds like a really interesting book. Thanks for sharing this dear!

Jessica | notjessfashion.com

Stephanie Jane said...

I'd never really thought about Madame Tussaud's actual life although I have visited the London museum. I wonder if this book would be the best way to learn about her though? I like to be able to believe historical fictiin when it is based on truth and it doesn't sound like that is possible here?

Hena Tayeb said...

I think you get the overall gist of her life, which
was quite impressive just don’t get too caught up on the details.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading through this, very good stuff, regards.

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