Beth F.'s Reviews > The Crimson Petal and the White

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
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Feb 23, 09

bookshelves: historical-fiction, best-book-i-read-that-year, victorian, favorites
Read in January, 2005

Watch your step. Keep your wits about you; you will need them. This city I am bringing you to is vast and intricate, and you have not been here before. You may imagine, from other stories you've read, that you know it well, but those stories flattered you, welcoming you as a friend, treating you as if you belonged. The truth is that you are an alien from another time and place altogether...

What a beginning! I passed my copy on after I originally read this in 2005. I gave it to my mom who gave it to her sister who gave it to her daughter. Mom and aunt loved it and the three of us still go into raptures over this book whenever we're all in a room together. My cousin wasn't a big fan; she thought the descriptions were too much, but she’s a much sweeter girl than me, my mom and my aunt.

Faber's descriptions of Victorian England are both vulgar and gorgeous. He doesn't mince words. This book is definitely not for the faint at heart. The main character is a prostitute and while Faber doesn’t go into detail about the ACT of sex, there are a number of graphic descriptions about the steps women take to prevent pregnancy, terminate pregnancy, treat illness, etc.

There is also so much more to this book. It also explores the struggle of women living in a man’s world and it almost becomes a psychological study. The end is rather abrupt, but Sugar does something unthinkable and morally wrong, and yet I loved the end because I realized that if you’ve been pushed past your breaking point and there is literally no other option out there, something the only thing left to do is the “wrong thing” unless you want to give up and succumb entirely to the wishes and demands of others. Given the circumstances, I suspect that if I were in the same position, I probably would have done the same thing Sugar did, as horrible as it was.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I found a copy on the discount shelf at Half Price Books. $2, yes! This was a wonderful book...one of my all-time favorites and I can't wait to read it again.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) You have me intrigued. Is the ending sad? Sorry to be so plebian. I like happy endings.


message 2: by Beth F. (last edited Feb 25, 2009 07:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth F. It’s not happy. :P

But I don’t want to say anything more than that because it would completely spoil the whole thing!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) That helps. I'll still keep it in mind. I really like the Victorian time period. Thanks so much.


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