Book Review | The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Hello bookish friends!

I hope you discovered something new this week. Although the week isn’t over yet, so there is still plenty of time to learn something new. This week’s book review is on The Silence of The Girls by Pat Barker.


“The defeated go down in history and disappear, and their stories die with them.”

The Silence of the Girls

I’ve probably mentioned this a few times, but re-tellings are some of my favorite stories to read. Hearing from the point of view of a side character in an otherwise well-known tale gives such fresh perspective. It’s also a way to find out about how the other characters and people lived, or what could have happened if they would have had more say. The Silence of The Girls is a re-telling of The Iliad (Trojan War) from the point of view of Briseis, one of the former queens of the many kingdoms in Troy, whose kingdom is conquered by the one and only Achilles. And OH MY GOSH, my heart was breaking into a million pieces just imagining how the women and children were being treated.


They’re the warriors, with their helmets and armour, their swords and spears, and they don’t seem to see our battles– or prefer not to. Perhaps if they realized we’re not the gentle creatures they take us for their own peace of mind would be disturbed?”

The Silence of the Girls

If any of you ever read the Iliad or taken a Humanities course on classicism or Greek mythology, or even watched the Brad Pitt version of Troy, then you KNOW how this story ends. Despite that, while reading I was honestly at the edge of my seat. I knew what was going to happen but because it was Briseis telling the story (and at some points Achilles and Patroclus), the story was fresh and enlightening. There were times when I doubted what would happen. There is a lot of foreshadowing on Achilles part, and at times I felt as Briseis did, conflicted. I wanted to feel bad for Achilles, and at times I did. But remember these are women who were ripped from their homes, abused of, and treated as things with no thoughts or feelings. I was torn from being able to fully grieve the Greek warriors and despising them. This makes the story all the more real though and makes us really think how history is told throughout time.



“Looking back, it seemed to me I’d been trying to escape not just from the camp, but from Achilles’s story; and I’d failed. Because, make no mistake, this was his story– his anger, his grief, his story. I was angry, I was grieving, but somehow that didn’t matter. Here I was, again, waiting for Achilles to decide when it was time for bed, still trapped, still stuck inside his story, and yet with no real part to play in it.”

The Silence of the Girls

Who is telling the story matters because the person telling the story paints it with the colors that they personally saw and experienced, not the person next to them. Lin Manuel had a point in the song “Who Tells Your Story” as Briseis says many times in her narrative as well. She realizes many times that the women who experienced the war, it will never be their story, it will be Achilles, or Odysseus, or even the scumbag Agememnon. This is why these stories are so important. The women and children suffered, immensely and although this is fictional, it isn’t any less real. We need to hear the other sides story if we are ever going to be able to paint a picture of an event fully.


“What will people make of us, the people of those unimaginable distant ties? One thing I do know: they won’t want the brutal reality of conquest and slavery. They won’t want to be told about the massacres of men and boys, the enslavement of women and girls. They won’t want to know we were living in a rape camp. No, they’ll go for something altogether softer. A love story, perhaps? I just hope they manage to work out who the lovers were.”

The Silence of the Girls

Despite the agony and the utter hopelessness of the situation, the women are resilient. They are strong in the only ways they know how to be. I highly recommend this book. I’m probably going to add it to my Top Shelf books because I believe it will be one I turn to time and time again.

Until next time my bookish friends.

Read Something Wonderful & Stay Curious.
Gisela

Seasonal Wish List | Fall 2018

Fall 2018 Releases

Hello Friends! It is almost the end of the summer and you know what that means…

Fall book releases galore! I obviously love reading any time of the year (I wouldn’t have this blog if I didn’t…), but there is something very special about autumn that makes me want to get cozy, light up a candle, grab a cup of coffee, and pick up a good book. I say this, even though I live in the Sunshine State and its fall for probably one week in the season and disturbingly hot the rest of the time (also hurricanes).

With that, I’ve included the top ten book releases I am most excited for.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker I have a confession, I’ve been trying (and failing) to read The Odyessy by Homer, the Robert Fagles translation since the beginning of the year. It’s been an odyssey in itself trying to finish it. But I’ve come across a few re-tellings of ancient Greek stories that I’ve been wanting to read including this one! (I read Circe earlier this year and it was phenomenal).

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating Christina Lauren strikes again! I’ve been loving everything they have been writing lately. I gobble it up so quickly. (Side note: I have a special project involving this book coming up soon. Stay tuned!)

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Karen White, and Lauren Willig Historical fiction is a true love of mine, and I’ve adored the two books by Beatriz Williams that I read this year. I’m looking forward to more brave female heroines.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas OH MY GOODNESS. NEED I SAY MORE? The final book of the series is finally being released and I don’t think my heart can handle it. Don’t mind me… just getting ready for the biggest book hangover of MY LIFE.

Pride by Ibi Zaboi I read Ibi’s first book, American Street in one sitting. ONE SITTING. Also, I’m a sucker for re-tellings and this is a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice. Yes, yes, and more yes!

Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake The last book left me with my mouth hanging open. I need to know what happens next. Thankfully I already have the book so I do not have to wonder any longer.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kristin White I love Kristin’s other series The Conqueror’s Trilogy, and as I mentioned above, I love re-tellings. I also like the book, Frankenstein. Let’s see how those three things will add up.

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory This is a spin-off from her first book The Wedding Date which was ADORABLE AND AMAZING AND ALL THE CUTE ADJECTIVES YOU CAN THINK OF.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton This sounds so darn interesting and it sounds like it has everything I like: mystery, darkness, romance, history. Done. Give it to me right meow.

The Kennedy Debutante by Karry Maher I’ll admit, I thought it had something to do with the Kennedy’s (the presidential ones) but after I read the synopsis, I still want to read it! It’s a historical fiction so I’m sold.

Let me know what you all are looking forward to reading! Any books that I missed this summer that I should add to my list?