The Monkey Princess (stellanova) wrote,
The Monkey Princess

matter of taste

I've almost finished reading Hannah Pool's My Father's Daughter for work, and enjoying it very much (you can read an extract from it here). Pool was adopted by white parents from an Eritrean orphanage, and now writes a column for the Guardian's weekend magazine. She always thought both her biological parents were dead, but in her teens she discovered that her birth father was actually alive, and so were several siblings. The book is about her eventual journey to Eritrea and her reunion with her long lost relatives. It's a very moving story, all the more so for being told in relatively colloquial prose. So I found this review somewhat distasteful. Apparently, Pool isn't serious-minded enough to really experience her own life the way the author of the review would like. The obsession with make-up suggested by the reviewer certainly doesn't come across to me - in context, it seemed completely normal that, having arrived in a country where she could not only not understand the language but read the local script, having familiar, readable stuff from home would be comforting (in the book, Pool wishes she had more photos of her friends and family back home to make her feel less disorientated, and eventually jokingly settles for the familiar bottles in her toilet bag). And then the reviewer says that "few women, in fact, could be less suited to the hazards of travel in Africa." Why? Because she uses conditioner? Pool seems pretty brave from the book, not least because she was scared shitless before she went, but she still went anyway, and she certainly doesn't show herself to be too "girly" to actually do anything once she's there. To me, that review felt like the author was projecting her own personal priorities onto Pool, and found Pool failing to come up to the reviewer's personal standards. Which doesn't seem like a very fair way of reviewing a book to me.
Tags: media whore, raar
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