Silver's Reviews > Pope Joan

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
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's review
Sep 19, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read from September 20 to November 09, 2011

All in all I would say this book was an enjoyable read and there were some things about it which I found to be interesting. I did like the way in which this book explored the lives of women living in this time period and particularly explored the challenges and struggles of those women who did want to break the mold and wanted more for their lives than what was expected of them and what was allowed to them.

But there were some issues I had with the book.

One of my biggest complaints about the book is characterization. I felt the characters really lacked complexity and depth and were not very well developed. Most of the characters throughout the book are pigeonholed as either obvious good guys or obvious bad guys. They are all very black and white and one dimensional. Joan herself presented a rather frustrating character, for one thing it did not seem as if she ever really grew or developed as the story continued but from the start to the end she remained the same never matured or seem to learn from any of her experiences and so she always acted the same she did as a child in spite of her alleged wisdom and intelligence.

The other thing which bothered me was that while it seemed that the author was trying to portray Joan as being divinely chosen for her role as Pope in which throughout the book some miraculously event would always occur just in time to assist and save Joan from impending dissector. While there is no denying that Joan was gifted and uncommonly intelligent the author made it seem more as if Joan became Pope through shear luck and not because of her own accomplishments and abilities. Joan's lack of common sense, lack of ambition made her come off as not truly having been able to achieve her goals in life through her own cleverness and ability but it was always some outside force that intervened and pushed her forward in life, and without these many convenient acts of chance Joan would not have been able to achieve such accomplishment. In this way the author does detract from remarkable person Joan was supposed to be for in spite of trying to create a portrait of a strong woman it did make her seem almost passive in directing her own fate.

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08/12/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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MichelleCH Interested in knowing what you think...

Silver When I finish I will post a review on this one.

message 3: by Gaijinmama (new)

Gaijinmama I totally agree with your assessment of this book!
Much too convenient, and thus not believable.

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