And here I continue with the children’s books. This one isn’t from my childhood bedroom though, I bought this a week ago, because it was announced that Andrew Scott would be in the movie adaptation and yeah, quite a lot of my book acquisitions follow that pattern… *chrm*
In this case I’m very glad I bought it. It’s a wonderful book and I KNOW I would have adored it as a tween. It’s the fictional diary of Catherine, called Birdy, the youngest child and only daughter of a noble knight in 1290s England. She’s only 13-14, yet her rambunctious father is planning to marry her off to his advantage and a great deal of the book is about her dodging the terrible prospects. We see the medieval world and society she lives in through her rebellious and quite modern-spirited eyes, but this is one of the instances where the modern outlook works in favour of the book.
It’s just a guess, but I would not be surprised if this book was sold at a ton of museum shops all over the UK and in fact, I really hope it is, because it does an excellent job explaining this world to its young and not so young readers alike. I can see people be upset or dissatisfied with the ending, but what it does is illustrate how individualism is a modern idea and it has a great, gentle way of showing how our ancestors were led by different ideals and factors, rooted in family, religion and feudalistic hierarchies. While they were still people capable of thoughts and love and fun of course!
There’s a great balance between laugh-out-loud moments and period appropriate darkness. Death is a regular companion, there’s violence – directed at the main character too – and the lines about her mother’s miscarriages really got to me. But it’s not exploitative and it truly does paint a more-or-less realistic image of the times, plus it doesn’t assume its readers are stupid, which is a huge pet-peeve of mine when it comes to children’s lit. There are titbits about clerical history and mythology thrown in there too, for the adults and/or historians reading this and I wholly enjoyed them.
I can highly recommend this, it’s a very quick read that I prolonged on purpose because I wished it was longer. Go and set your mind on a delightful journey with this!