LeAnne: GeezerMom's Reviews > Bring Up the Bodies

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
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it was ok

Phil Collins sings my theme song for this one: I don't care any more. Just don't care no more.
No more.

It's not easy being the only dissenter, but despite her books' popularity, they do not include any characters I feel any connection to. Yes, I did read Wolf Hall (most of it, anyway), so it is not my ignorance of historical happenings or lack of appreciation for Cromwell's ability to overcome his shoddy youth. It is likely a style-preference plus my apathy for the role and impact of Cromwell on the Tudor monarchy.

On language and style, I can certainly appreciate that many folks love her approach - look at the success of Game of Thrones (also something I've never been much tempted to read/watch). Obviously, she is not THAT author but the tone of the stories might be similar...dunno. Not going there. But this book and its preceding tome seemed like overblown window dressing with nothing but mannequins inhabiting the grandiosely staged pages. There was also an unusual narrative structure that popped from first person to third person that initially distracted me, but once I got comfortable with it, the author then kicked in daydream-narration.

Cromwell would be sitting there having a conversation with someone and then suddenly think, huh - wouldn't it be great if we had a big feast where so-and-so would arrive with his doddering old mother and then Sir Something or Other would seat himself and his horrible wife. Yada, yada, yada. Look, I can manage small doses of fantasy or dreamworld stuff, but his daydreams went on for pages and pages, even describing the imagined attendees' clothing choice. This happened repeatedly, and while his flashbacks to his younger days happened pretty seamlessly, his fantasy life expounding upon his wishes was just screwy.

As for my apathy, perhaps because I read The Other Boleyn Girl ages ago, I already knew the entire story line about deposing Anne Boleyn, excepting the minutia about Cromwell's role. The whole world was changed because of Henry VIII's vapid and childish libido - yes. I took World History in college as did most of you, and we know this already, Hilary.

What I do wonder is this: did Hilary Mantel do her PhD dissertation on Cromwell and then decide to write these (ridiculously) long (and redundantly) detailed (ostentatious)books? Pardon my French, but she appears to have a serious hard-on for the guy - notwithstanding the funny line she includes about him flopping his weenie on the dining table to show that while he might be a money-lender, he isn't a Jew. Yeah, while she eschews all the saints and relics the Catholics saw as holy, it appeared that she too has her own god. His name is Cromwell, the Master Puppeteer.

Whatever she imagines him slapping on the dinner table, even in jest, I just don't care. Not my thing.
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Reading Progress

September 25, 2017 – Started Reading
September 25, 2017 – Shelved
September 25, 2017 –
page 50
12.14% "Already bored. Her florid writing style doesn't click with me...will keep trying."
September 25, 2017 –
43.0% "Still not clicking w style, unusual narration technique."
September 26, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-17 of 17 (17 new)

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message 1: by ``Laurie (last edited Sep 28, 2017 02:04PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

``Laurie Henderson Having read so many books about Henry VIII already I never viewed Cromwell as a hero either, more like a mass murderer. One reason I loved this book was the fall of Ann Boleyn was so gratifying.

LeAnne: GeezerMom I am not a big history buff (at least for this time frame) but knew the general facts and timeline from college history. Who knew that junk would stick for 30+ years??!!

Anyway, The Other Boleyn Girl painted her with a much sweeter side, so I had that brain stain going into this. Phillipa Gregory showed her flaws big time, but she also made her human. Mantel did give some good guy aspects to Cromwell, but I couldnt forgive him for much. The way he got the boy Mark to brag about his dalliances and turned it into a confession/conviction of others was painful to read.

Im on to something fluffier for the moment. Glad to put Cromwell in the ground!

message 3: by Camie (new)

Camie Didn't care much for Wolf Hall. Though I 've heard this one is better, I've yet to get it read.

LeAnne: GeezerMom Camie, it was very similar style-wise to WH. If it was the plot and not the method that didnt thrill you, this one could work.

message 5: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Entertaining and thoughtful review. For sure passing on this one.

Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac) I just agree with absolutely everything here, and you've written a wonderful review!

Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac) Oh, this is embarrassing: I use dictation software and I'm a lazy proofreader: it should've been "I disagree with absolutely everything here…" (blush) 😂😂

LeAnne: GeezerMom Debbie, my tastes seem to clash with all these other readers, so please check out other reviews. I appreciate your kind words!!

LeAnne: GeezerMom Lol, Shawn - that is outstanding!!

``Laurie Henderson Camie wrote: "Didn't care much for Wolf Hall. Though I 've heard this one is better, I've yet to get it read."

Camie, I thought this one was much better than WH.

message 11: by Kevin (last edited Nov 25, 2017 06:09AM) (new)

Kevin Ansbro Ha! Great review, LeAnne.
I only read one of her books (something or other on Ghazza Street), but I just couldn’t get on with her writing style either.
And as for Oliver Cromwell’s table manners...
I was always taught that one doesn’t slap one’s weenie on the dinner table until all the plates are cleared.

LeAnne: GeezerMom Kevin wrote: "until all the plates are cleared......."
Obviously, your folks knew good manners! LOL Reminds me of that line from Steel Magnolias: Yeah, sure he's a gentleman. I bet he takes all the dishes out of the sink before he pees in it.

Have a great weekend!

message 13: by Susan (new)

Susan Wonderful review! Hah!! Your last paragraph and closing sentence are hysterical! Yeah, any book that involves slapping parts on dinner tables is probably not going to work for me.

LeAnne: GeezerMom Susan wrote: "Wonderful review! Hah!! Your last paragraph and closing sentence are hysterical! Yeah, any book that involves slapping parts on dinner tables is probably not going to work for me."

Not your thing either, huh? LOL...happy Monday!

kathleen r. @Kevin Anbro: Oops! Sorry but you're about a century off in your Cromwell lineage. As in, this story's Lord Cromwell is Thomas; you're referring to Oliver Cromwell, a descendant of Lord Thomas's sister. I'm not going pedantic about genealogy, but Thomas served Henry 8, and before his own death as an alleged traitor, Thomas is possibly best recalled as being the catalyst who brought down Queen Anne Boleyn. Other than being a likely candidate for criminality as far as his rather unstoppable ability to gain wealth and property from his scheming ways of 'polite disenfranchisement' of many titles and wealth to which his rather low birth status would never have accorded him, Cromwell was flinty, scheming and self righteously pious. He met his own death much as many if not all of his enemies: as a traitorous and wicked man who practiced his profession of law with an eye to the comeuppance of the nobility. Upon his death, all his wealth reverted back to the coffers of Henry 8...

message 16: by Matt (new) - rated it 3 stars

Matt Great review, LeAnne!

LeAnne: GeezerMom Thanks, Matt. Have a great weekend!

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