The Book Maven's Reviews > Freddy and Fredericka

Freddy and Fredericka by Mark Helprin
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's review
Aug 24, 2013

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-humorous-fiction
Read in February, 2008

Woooo, doggy, this one was a dense one.

A spoof on the British royal family, Freddy and Fredericka tell the story of the Prince and Princess of Wales, the title characters. They are next in line for the throne, and hopelessly ill-equipped for the weighty responsibilities, traditions, customs, and gravity that come with this position. At least vapid, materialistic, uneducated Fredericka is unready; Freddy has a deep awareness of his destiny, but his over-educated dialog, arcane sense of humor, intellectual snobbery, and complete obliviousness alienate him from the subjects who need to love him if he is to rule.

What's a royal family to do? Abdandon the Prince and Princess to reconquer a savage colony and become worthy of their throne and destiny. And so they are dropped from an airplane over New Jersey, almost naked but for their parachutes, and told not to return until they have earned the right to rule.

It's a bizarre and absurd book, yet incredibly funny. Freddy and Fredericka are hopelessly flawed, deeply human, and therefore incredibly lovable and endearing. If you are an anglophile, a British historian, a lover of all things English, you should read this book. Time and time again, it returns to the themes of destiny, the heritage of history, the bloodlines of families, and the beauty of England. It put into words the love for England that I have always had difficulty articulating. All in all, I think it was a masterpiece.
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03/18 marked as: read

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