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49 Reviews
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fanny Hill on Steroids
I loved this book. I read it a few years ago and it is one that I return to periodically and re-read, and I enjoy it each time.
So I am delighted to find it available as a Kindle book.
The character of 'Mary', the female protagonist, is not a likeable one at all.She is conniving, cunning and ultimately a criminal, but she is very much a product of her time.She...
Published on 27 Sep 2011 by DV8 Diva

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but...
When I read the sample for this book after falling in love with "Room", I thought "oh, yes, I am going to like this". I bought it straight away, read the first few pages... and put it down for a couple of weeks. They were so upsetting I couldn't stand it. But then I went back to it and started loving the book, I couldn't put it down and then, with the second part I...
Published on 7 July 2012 by VdlC


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fanny Hill on Steroids, 27 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Slammerkin (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book. I read it a few years ago and it is one that I return to periodically and re-read, and I enjoy it each time.
So I am delighted to find it available as a Kindle book.
The character of 'Mary', the female protagonist, is not a likeable one at all.She is conniving, cunning and ultimately a criminal, but she is very much a product of her time.She follows the path that Life has decided she must follow to the bitter end. It is not a happy book and some readers may find the downward spiral of Mary's short life depressing- but Emma Donoghue has created a fascinating character, supported by other vividly drawn portraits.Georgian England is a lonely purgatory for people who slip through Society's net, as does Mary.I liked the character of 'Doll',the irrepressible prostitute,the best of all. Sharp, sad, hilarious in parts,dark.Read it!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read!, 18 Nov 2003
This review is from: Slammerkin (Paperback)
This is the kind of book that you get so immersed in, that I missed my stop while reading it on the bus!
Emma Donoghue writes as if she had walked the streets of 18th century London and Monmouth and seen it first hand. I work in the Charing Cross area where the first part of the book is set, and while wandering around I found myself imagining life as it happened back then, looking for clues of the London of old, seeing things through Mary Saunders eyes.
It is a tragic tale, and the fact that it is based on a true story and interweaves real people's lives makes it all the more spooky and believable.
I would recommend it to anyone!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!, 28 Sep 2004
This review is from: Slammerkin (Paperback)
The kind of book you can't put down -- and the kind you're upset is over. It leaves you fighting with yourself over a sense of "fairness" that is missed in these stories (and that's probably the point).
Mary's story is one of a girl born possibly in the wrong time and place, a woman who wanted more than life could ever give her in her time.
A definite must-read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but..., 7 July 2012
By 
VdlC (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Slammerkin (Kindle Edition)
When I read the sample for this book after falling in love with "Room", I thought "oh, yes, I am going to like this". I bought it straight away, read the first few pages... and put it down for a couple of weeks. They were so upsetting I couldn't stand it. But then I went back to it and started loving the book, I couldn't put it down and then, with the second part I realised I was... bored! It starts great but then it trails off and the second part really is boring and random and pointless but the end is quite ok, I guess.
So, I can't say I didn't like it, and I won't say it's a bad book, since it's brilliantly written, but I guess the second part spoiled it for me.
Love Emma Donoghue and will continue reading her work, though. She is an amazing writer.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a loose dress, a loose woman, 13 Jan 2003
This review is from: Slammerkin (Hardcover)
I enjoyed this book immensely. It seemed a tragic story. Losing virtue at a tender age. So innocent. But Mary amazed me with her stength. She learned well and fast and was a powerful young women through and through. I never sensed that she truly lost who she felt she was. It always managed to break through her facade. The story felt so real and opened my eyes to what London was like in the 1760s. If I think about it, London hasn't really changed much.
This book opened my mind, I strongly advise reading it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slammerkin, 12 April 2011
This review is from: Slammerkin (Paperback)
A well written book,arousing a mix of emotions in the reader; the book cleverly conveys the social and cultural lives of the times in which the book has been set. This is not a book for the faint hearted or easily shocked reader; but rather for the discerning reader who is ready to immerse themselves into a colourful past times and appreciate the delicacy of the web of life that is woven by the author.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable summer read, 5 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Slammerkin (Paperback)
I purchased "Slammerkin" at Gatwick Airport a couple of weeks ago. Although I am not a historical novel fan I thought this book might be a bit different than the usual offerings and I was pleasantly surprised. This books follows the story of Mary Saunders, a girl in the 18th century who ends up prostituting herself to obtain the finer things in life and although she should be quite unlikeable, you can't help but empathaise with her. I particularly like Emma Donoghue's attention to detail of day to day life in Britain during the 18th century as well as the richly described characters who almost come to life right off the pages. Most enjoyable and highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MARY, MARY, QUITE CONTRARY..., 2 Dec 2002
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Slammerkin (Paperback)
This is a well written, artfully told tale of a young, working class, teenage girl, Mary Saunders, in eighteenth century London, England, who, through a moment's exercise in bad judgment, found herself turned out of the only home she had ever known by her own mother. Her desperation to survive saw her ushered into a life of prostitution and servitude. Based upon the actual, brief but notorious, life of a certain Mary Saunders, a servant girl who killed her mistress and was executed for her crime in England in 1764, it is a fascinating, historical tapestry, woven out of the few known threads of a misbegotten life.
Here, Mary Saunders is cast as an unsophisticated, thirteen year old, who, as many young girls are wont to do, desired pretty fripperies. One day, she coveted a red ribbon, and her desire for it would ultimately cost her dearly. Tossed out of her home by her mother, when her indiscretion became evident, Mary found herself immersed in the underbelly of London, surviving as only a poor, but pretty, young girl could in eighteenth century London. Turning to prostitution, she descended into a life that heralded both her independence and her personal degradation.
The fates ultimately conspired to have Mary leave London for Monmouth, the birthplace of her mother. There she arranged to meet with one of her mother's childhood friends, Mrs. Jones. Giving her a sob story, Mary initially preyed upon Mrs. Jones' tender sensibilities, and she was hired as a sort of servant, but with favored status due to her being Mrs. Jones' old friend's daughter.
While there, Mary, now sixteen, was torn between her surprising contentment with her new found role and her desire to return to the excitement of London. Her life seemed to be headed in a new direction, however, if she could only manage to make the choices that she needed to make in order to keep her life on track. Unfortunately, she began to weave a web of deception that in the end became her own waterloo, wiping out all vestiges of hope for a life worth living. Ultimately caught between a rock and a hard place, Mary committed an act that she could not undo, and it is this that was to be her own final undoing.
A dark and atmospheric tale, this is a story that is sure to capture the imagination of the reader. Through the vivid use of language and historical, period detail, the author captures the flavor of the class conflicts of eighteenth century England, as well as a sense of the strictures and social mores that were imposed upon the women of that time. Graphic and explicit in its description of Mary Saunders' brief and all too tragic life, this book is an unusual and intriguing work of fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, 5 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Slammerkin (Paperback)
If you like historical fiction from a female perspective, then this is perfect. Reminded me of Michael Faber or Sarah Waters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gem from Emma Donaghue, 23 July 2012
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This review is from: Slammerkin (Paperback)
I loved this book from start to finish! To me, it felt like a very dark fairy story (without the happy ending!) and the storytelling and historical details were so richly described that it felt like going back in time. I've read a few times that people didn't like or felt frustrated with the main character but who's to say you have to like her? She was exactly that - an interesting character through and through.

As in "Room", which I loved, some of the subject matter was quite heavy but handled brilliantly by the author without any sentimentality, just well told and enjoyable to read. All the other characters in the book are well rounded and interesting. I cannot wait to read the author's other books!
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Slammerkin
Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue (Paperback - 3 Mar 2011)
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