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Month in review

Reviews:
Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Langdon
Baby Angels by Jane Cowen-Fletcher
Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan
Behaving Like Adults by Anna Maxted
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
Damia by Anne McCaffrey
Dinosaur Roar! by Paul & Henrietta Stickland
Dinosaurs' Halloween by Liza Donnelly
The Dragon in Lyonesse by Gordon R. Dickson
Ducks in Muck by Lori Haskins
The Earth by Émile Zola
Game of Shadows by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams
Gems and Minerals by Susan Harris
Geology by Frank Rhodes
Get Off the Unicorn by Anne McCaffrey
The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender
The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend
Kings of Albion by Julian Rathbone
The Langoliers by Stephen King
The Library Policeman by Stephen King
Lost and Found by Eliabeth Hess
Lying Awake by Mark Salzman
A Man in a Kilt by Sandy Blair
Morgan's Passing by Anne Tyler
The Player by Michael Tolkin
Secret Window, Secret Garden by Stephen King
Sunday's Child by Edward O. Phillips
A Toad for Tuesday by Russell E. Erickson
Trucks by Byron Barton
(Un)Arranged Marriage by Bali Rai
The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

Miscellaneous
225 Books
Browsing without Buying
Eating dinner
Ferdinand
Garden Round Up
Gardening
Getting ready for Kindergarten
Grocery Shopping
Harriet Milestones
Ian's Birthday
A Little Bit of Heaven
More Milestones
Only Three Books
Phone Calls from Far Away Places
Pi Day
Plum Flowers
School Stuff
Soon to be a one car family
Spring Cleaning Round 1
Spring Cleaning Round 2
Storage
Talking to Magnum
Thoughts on Sean
Well Baby
Zero and a Half

Vacation
Buena Vista State Beach
Arch Rock
Big Tree
Second Night in Eureka
Humboldt
Avenue of the Giants

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8


Comments for Anna and the King of Siam

Anna and the King of SiamAnna and the King of Siam: 03/31/07

Anna and the King of Siam is a fictional account of an English teacher's two volume "memoir" that had long gone out of print. Margaret Landon combined these two books together into a historical novel. As there are so many points of elaboration it is hard to get any real sense of the events that might have actually taken place back in the 1860s. A quick search online will bring up numerous opinions and essays on the story in its many forms: The English Governess at the Siamese Court, The Romance of the Harem, Anna and the King of Siam, and The King and I.

This 1950s reprint of the 1945 novel came my way via the old Bookrelay site. I've seen the musical The King and I a number of times as it was one of my grandmother's favorites and she and I spent a lot of time together. I can't say I agree with grandmother on the film. I've always found it a little boring and off-putting. The book suffers from many of the same problems.

The book is long and dry. There are scenes designed for a melodramatic impact but they often fall flat. Landon's descriptions of the scenes reads more like a book report (or perhaps a dull copying job from Leonowen's books?) that are often tedious to read. After having suffered through 352 pages of minutiae one might has well have read a history book on the same subject and at least come away with having learned something!

Anna for all her "good intentions" comes off as so xenophobic that it is hard to believe she has as much influence as the novel would have one believe. I am not expecting a "politically correct" novel but Anna's distrust of her Siamese hosts is extreme compared with similar books I've read from similar eras (both the 1940s and the 1860s).

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