Mish's Reviews > Frog Music

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
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it was amazing
bookshelves: crime, favourite, fiction, historical, mystery, 2014, library-friends-books, faction

Frog Music is absolutely remarkable, well researched and thought-out novel where the reader is transported back in time to a colourful, wild bohemian lifestyle of San Francisco in 1876; during an unforgiving heat wave and the outbreak of smallpox, racial prejudice and riots against the influx of Chinese immigrant, and the damaged infants at these ‘baby farms’.

And while this is all taking place, Donoghue tells us of a crime that has been committed, based on actual events.

Donoghue gives us an insight into the life and unsolved murder of Jenny Bonnet, frog catcher by trade, and well known for outspoken boisterous behaviour, and illegal attire as a cross dresser. And to the surviving woman and friend of Jenny, Blanche Beunon, an erotic dancer, performer and prostitute, who’s adamant, the bullet was meant for her.

In Frog Music the plot alternates back and forth in time, as we follow a grief stricken Blanche after the murder, as she desperately tries to seek justice to expose Jenny’s killer. And then it moves to the events leading up to the murder; the moment Blanche contented life is turns to disorder, how Jenny influence altered Blanche outlook in life, and the shifts in dynamics between life long friendships.

The back and forth in time is quite sudden and I’ve heard from a few readers that this transition created an interruption to their reading flow and have, in parts, put the reader off. Surprisingly it didn’t have that effect on me, I thought the transition was quite seamless and was able to pin point exactly where and what timeframe I was in. Plus I felt it added intrigue and intensity to the plot; with Jenny’s death as a reminder throughout the book, I was eager to find out at what point in time did the situation turned criminal and why.

Emma Donoghue incorporated as many facts as she can possibly could into this novel; including their real names, and their actual place of residence, work and the murder scene, and so much more – where you will find parts of her research in a summary at the end of the book called ‘Afterwards’ - and the rest was her perspective of what took place, based on historical records she uncovered.

I can’t tell you if it’s because of the factual details but these people felt so alive and genuine, so much so, I felt their confusion, grief and suffering, radiating off the pages into me. And regardless of the fact that their thoughts or actions can occasionally be cringe worthy and frustrating – especially Blanche with her naive attitude – you can’t help but feel a strong bond with them.

Frog Music is atmospheric - perfect novel to read if you live or have visited San Francisco for its fascinating history and vividness - and magnificently written and intriguing novel.
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Reading Progress

January 30, 2014 – Shelved
January 30, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
June 28, 2014 – Started Reading
July 1, 2014 –
page 50
July 2, 2014 –
page 111
July 3, 2014 –
page 157
July 4, 2014 –
page 203
July 5, 2014 –
page 250
July 10, 2014 – Shelved as: crime
July 10, 2014 – Shelved as: favourite
July 10, 2014 – Shelved as: fiction
July 10, 2014 – Shelved as: historical
July 10, 2014 – Shelved as: mystery
July 10, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014
July 10, 2014 – Shelved as: library-friends-books
July 10, 2014 – Finished Reading
December 23, 2014 – Shelved as: faction

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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message 1: by Alejandro (new)

Alejandro Great review, Mish! :D

Mish Alejandro wrote: "Great review, Mish! :D"

Thankyou Alejandro :)

Brenda Excellent review Mish!

Mish Brenda wrote: "Excellent review Mish!"

Thankyou Brenda :)

Phrynne Lovely review and now you have made me want to read it. I had avoided it up until now!

Brenda It's definitely worth reading Phrynne!

Mish Phrynne wrote: "Lovely review and now you have made me want to read it. I had avoided it up until now!"

Lol my bookish friend Alegandro (above), once said to me that it's kinda viral; viewing and sharing review...and it certaintly is Lol!!!

Thanks Phrynne, and like Brenda said it is worth reading :)

message 8: by Alex (new)

Alex Top shelf review, Mish :)

Mish Alex wrote: "Top shelf review, Mish :)"

Thank you Alex :)

message 10: by B the BookAddict (new)

B the BookAddict Great review, Mish. This is one I must read.

message 11: by Mish (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mish Bette BookAddict wrote: "Great review, Mish. This is one I must read."

Thankyou and yes definitely. This would be right up your alley Bette :)

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