Now, just an intro, this is a write-up I did for my English 2 course back when I was a freshman in college. It’s some kind of a review for Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl. Here it is unedited.
The book was very fascinating. I am not a fan of historical fiction but I really appreciated the whole story. It did not just share to me what it was like to live in the grand royal palaces of England living the grandiose court life with all its beautiful and outstanding courtiers, but also the scenarios of political and religious life in Europe. It was December 23rd when I started to read this book and while I was already reading it thoroughly, grasping every adjective, trying to imagine the setting, I was startled by the thought that within the great walls and high ceilings of the royal court of England lived a family full of greed for power and supremacy, a family that would do everything, by hook or by crook, just to stuck their selves on the throne of England – the Boleyns.
The whole book contained a lot of characters and issues other than the Boleyn family’s wickedness, but the thing that really captured my interest and made me choose this book in the first place was the irony pf the relationship of the two famous Boleyn sisters, Annamaria (Anne) and Marianne (Mary) – their never-ending rivalry because of the thought that the other must be bested and their forced unity and support for each other whenever one gets in trouble because no matter what happens, even if the world goes up-side-down, they still are sisters and always will be. In fact, my favorite line was by Anne ending her petty argument with Mary saying, “I was born to be your rival, and you mine. We’re sisters, aren’t we?” It’s a bit hard to believe but I can say that Anne was absolutely true because I also have a sister – a little sister just about a year younger than me. The funny thing is, what a coincidence that my sister, Monica, also have that kind of brown hair like Mary’s and mine’s dark like Anne’s. Also, look at their names – Annamaria and Marianne – they have similar names just like me and my sister – Ma. Vanessa and Ma. Monica. I can really relate to the two sisters’ feelings of boundless insecurity towards each other. It’s really hard having a sister just a bit younger that you because it is as if she’ll do anything just to get a hold of everything that’s your and eventually snatch it from you while you’re off-guard.
When I reached the second period of the book, spring of 1522, when Mary was informed by her father that her dear sister, Anne, will be coming back home with him when he returns, I was entertained by her reaction – all those stupid ideas that played in her mind, enumerating the values of her status in life just to get rid of the insecurity that she felt for her sister and in the long run found herself wishing for her sister’s boat to sink so that Anne will die and will not reach the court. She even planned to show her sister how comfortable she was in the richly tapestried rooms of the queen and tried to look more matured and graceful in greeting her sister, but here goes the funny thing, she forgot all her plans by the time her sister entered the chamber and she came running toward her letting out a shout, “Anne!”, and embraced her. Sometimes, no, not sometimes, most of the time, I also think that way for my sister and the vile plan in my head would also vanish just like Mary’s, really. Sometimes I even questioned God why He gave me such a sister and just a few minutes later when I needed help, I began to realize what my sister is for – she’s for me to hold on to, just like Anne’s need of Mary’s help when things in the palace were somewhat starting to go the other way around.
Anyway, I want to give some comments and suggestions to the two Boleyn girls. I want to talk first about Anne because if you still don’t know, I like her more than Mary. Remember whose line was my favorite? Yes, it was Anne’s. Though she was awfully vile that she even committed incest with her brother in desperation to conceive a son, I like her. Actually, I don’t really know the main reason why I like her but when I asked my roommate about it who has already read the book, “Maybe because you both have strong personalities? You know, not the shy, sweet type of girl,” she replied with a slight laugh to make it look like a joke but I knew she meant it deep inside. Well, maybe she was right. Then I thought of the things that Anne did and the circumstances that she went through in aiming for the throne of England. At that point, I found out what it was that made me a Fan of Anne. It was her wit that she used to challenge the individuals who opposed her, her grace that made king fall head-over-heels for her, and her courage and tough determination to achieve her ambition. The only thing that made me disappointed with Anne was her bad temper. It was her greatest mistake – to let her emotion rule over her. She was betrayed by her own self. Sometimes, you also have to slow down and be cool just for a moment to alleviate the pressure. Anyhow, as her fan, I was really moved by her tragic death.
Now, let’s got to the sweet little sister – Mary. The thing that I admire most in Mary is her genuine lover for her sister. I was really touched when she said on the last part that despite her long years of rivalry with Anne, that she thinks of her all the time, every day. Mary did a great role as a courtier, a daughter, a lover, a mother, and most especially, as a sister to the once queen of England – Queen Anne.
There really wasn’t any possibility drawn in my mind that Anne will have a tragic death in the end, but I guess it was just the best way to end the story – to end her wickedness and above all, end her rivalry with her best friend and sister – Mary.