22 September 2011
Post 428: The Maid
Although I didn't find this a particularly strong Joan of Arc novel, I do appreciate how difficult it must be to write a fictionalized account of someone you really respect, admire, or even worship. On the one hand, there is the desire to present an accurate account of events with factual information, etc., but sometimes in order to create a really compelling story those events have to be ignored. Sometimes you even have to present your hero in a less than favorable light in order to make him or her a well rounded character (or, you know, human).
I think Cutter really tried to do this with The Maid, but just didn't quite get there. There were a few too many eggshells she tried to step around instead of just stomping all over them to get where she wanted to go. I'm not sure I could have written anything better, mind you. If I had been given the task of writing a fictional account of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. or some other generally well respected individual, I don't think I could do bring myself to do it. I would be more concerned with telling a compelling story than upholding the pure and glorious image of that individual. I would want to introduce the moments when they were fallible and human and being stupid or immoral or were otherwise not being Great People.
This is where people are more interesting, really. Maybe that's showing my appreciation for drama and other train wrecks, but it's also much easier to relate to someone who cheated on a history exam than someone whom the history books are written about. Basically, I probably would have crushed one too many eggshells and really pissed someone off either because they don't understand the idea of fictionalized accounts, or because I included factual information they didn't like. That shit happens too.
Who would you have the most trouble writing about?
My review can be found on Goodreads.
LibsNote: Review copy provided by NetGalley.