Book Title: Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen
Author: Sarah Bird
Goodreads Link: Click here
Release Date: 9/04/18
Star Rating: – Disappointing
Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book troubled me from nearly the beginning. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.it but I could feel there was something wrong. I gradually came to realize that the problem lay in how the people of color were portrayed in the book. Not only were the voices problematic but they were written in cliche.
You know what this reminded me of? Gone with the Wind. That is NOT a good thing. African-Americans were consistently shown to be mulish, ignorant and backwards. The lead character was supposed to draw strength from her heritage. Her mother stressed her being the child of a strong warrior woman from Africa, but the actual connection to her heritage was written in such a way as to be purely tenuous and superficial.
One scene in particular was absolutely ridiculous. Cathy, as an enlisted Buffalo Soldier, has to hide her gender but her fellow soldiers are suspicious. As a trial she is forcefully put into a room with a prostitute, while her fellow soldiers listen at the door. What followed was a ridiculous farce. Cathy banged on the bed while encouraging an unfortunate, intoxicated sex-worker to pray loudly to “Hell Mary” for forgiveness for her sins. The ensuing noise convinced the soldiers that Cathy MUST be a man and hella good at sex besides. This was scene belonged in a Mel Brook’s comedy. It was demeaning, ludicrous and repellant.
I won’t even go into her depiction of First Nations people. They were props. Like the stand-in, life size cardboard figures you see in a movie theater.
This is not historical fiction. It’s just fiction. Loosely attaching your character to a real person’s history does not lend credence to your story. I found the entire book odious. I’m sorry I read it. The real life Cathy Williams deserved more. This is why we need more books written by people of color.