Dear Readers, Writers, and Precious Patrons,
Today on All Authors Monday Memories, we bring you another edition of What NOT to Read from issue 5 of All Authors Magazine.
So in the spirit of “Freedom is Key”, I bring you a What NOT to read article on a book about The First Lady of The World, Mrs. Elanor Roosevelt. Everyone and anyone that has read about Mrs. Roosevelt, knows that she stood for freedom and equality. However, this mess of a book did her wrong in so many ways. SO many ways!
Random Side Note:
You know what irks me? What irks me are people that flat out lie about a book!
Prior to reading this book I indulged in some research. I suppose I'm one of the few people that likes to know what the general public has to say about a book before I read it.
Here are a few reviews found on Goodreads:
“It has a good pace & style which does feel more like a novel than a biography. You can personally connect w/ Eleanor. I learned a great deal about her & that period of history. There are also quotes throughout it along side the general text. These are great for randomly opening to one & reading.”
“I would definitely recommend it for anyone that wants to learn more about this fascinating woman and how the political and social world she lived in shaped who she was.”
“What I loved about this biography is that it made history relevant, interesting, and relatable. This is the goal of all good history teachers. The flow and organization was well thought out.”
Hmm... that's all good and well ladies, but let's be honest here, this book blows!
In all truth—and that's what I'm about—I have very few 'nice' things to say. It is difficult to say something truly constructive about a read like this, as all you can think is "Why?!" (PS: The erroneous punctuation is on purpose.)
I'm thinking that I have to start by saying that I enjoy history. I love learning about things that happened in the past and I truly enjoy a good biography or autobiography. This is important to mention because, as I'm sure you can already guess, I've read quite a few of them.
That being said, I'm still flabbergasted!
So, I suppose I'll just have to start by stating the 'good things' about this read.
1) It has some nice pictures.
2) Grammar and punctuation is almost perfect.
3) I learned ONE (that's right, just ONE) new thing I didn't know before about Mrs. Roosevelt.
Let me be more specific. I didn't so much as learn a new thing as much as I witnessed something that I already knew. Inside of this biography you'll find a letter written to Mrs. Roosevelt about a black man that was lynched. And, although I'd read some time ago about the existence of this letter, I never really saw the text therein. This book actually shows the reader what the letter said.
So that was nice.
Okay... that about covers it.
1) Why would a person write a biography—at all, let alone of an iconic figure like Mrs. Roosevelt—in 1st person? It makes no sense WHATSOEVER! This is a BIOGRAPHY not a novel! It's an unspoken rule that biographies are written in 3rd person, past tense. Why? Because it makes sense that way!
Past events, past writing. Not you, third person. Easy!
Chapter 11, first paragraph reads "On April 12, 1945, Franklin is in his fourth term as president. WWII is still raging, although it will be over this summer."
I'm sorry, I was under the impression that it finished over SIXTY FIVE YEAR AGO!
2) 99.9% of the book felt like a High School essay, with an amazing job of cut and paste.
Let me explain.
Imagine being in High School and having to do an essay/project on Mrs. Roosevelt. The last thing you want to do is read book after book, so you decide to go for gold. You pick up Mrs. Roosevelt's autobiography!
Copy and paste as much information as you can about Mrs. Roosevelt. That'll give you a guaranteed A! Right?
3) WHY IN SAM HELL would a person write a biography when an AUTOBIOGRAPHY already exists? I mean, UNLESS some new information has surfaced that no one knew about. THEN, you might get away with it.
4) Now, this bit, I just couldn't get past...
This person chose to use current day, as well as unhinged analogies to describe her thoughts about Mrs. Roosevelt. Things like Facebook, Rocky (the movie), The Wizard of Oz and Star Trek.
"In today's terms this would be comparable to Michelle Obama having a daily log. Imagine Eleanor with a Facebook page."
"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Star-ship Enterprise. It's five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before..."
OH, OH, WAIT! Here is one of my personal favorites:
"A king's castle—a moat, protective high walls, guards in watch towers. He is surrounded by people he can trust. He is safe to let his guard down, scratch his balls and drink grog with this cronies."
THIS is what was used to describe Mrs. Roosevelt's need for a sanctuary of her own. A place where she can scratch her balls. Enough said!
5) There was more quotes in this book from Mrs. Roosevelt's autobiography than there was any new or original information.
6) The very last chapter's title says, and I quote, "14 Elanor... The Chapter title is not a typo."
Um. Okay. Is it just me, or is that a little weird?
If you intended on misspelling her name wrong as the chapter title, then let it be. Why are you trying to explain yourself?
7) There was also a certain 'feel' in the prose, that made me get the sense that the author was trying her best to brainwash the reader, if you will—to see Mrs. Roosevelt as a victim. She kept referring to President Roosevelt's womanizing ways, and his mother's manipulating ways, and things of the sort.
Now, let me be clear. Anyone who's read about Mrs. Roosevelt knows that she was a woman of great suffering, and she did not have it easy. However, I believe that if/when a biography is written that the person writing it should do so in an objective manner. Do not try to influence the reader with your opinion, let them make one for themselves.
Gosh, I really can go on and on about the downfalls of this book, however I'll just say, I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT! I was extremely let down!
However, if you're brave enough to dive into it for yourself, please feel free. Here is where you can find it: