Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Review: Pirate Women by Laura Sook Duncombe

Title: Pirate Women
Author: Laura Sook Duncombe
Information on series: Not in a series
Audience: Adult
Rating (scale of 1-10): 4

TL;DR: Descriptions of female pirates through history, but not as fun as it sounds.
Appeals: Richly detailed
Longer Review:  My disappointment with Pirate Women probably stems from my own expectations.  I thought I’d be getting engaging stories of some of history’s most butt-kicking ladies.  Instead, although the author isn’t an academic, this is a pretty dense book that is lacking in both history and fun.  As the author points out, it’s lacking in history primarily because when men were writing the history it was in their interest to keep strong, independent women out of their narratives.  Even worse, many lady buccaneers were turned into cautionary tales where the female pirates ended up seeing the error of their ways or throwing themselves at the mercy of men.  These are points worth making, but a lack of real history should be license for the author to tell these stories in the exciting way her subject matter deserves.
Read-a-likes: Collective biographies of amazing women are having a moment right now, and there are plenty that don’t read like a dry sociology textbook.  For exciting stories maybe nonfiction for younger readers is the way to go: Wonder Women by Sam Maggs, or Rad American Women A-Z.  Adult books like Hidden Figures or The Radium Girls might work just fine too.

~ Seth at the Ames Public Library

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