Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, by Mary Seacole REVIEW

The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many LandsThe Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you public domain for another excellent, free book. The most interesting part of this book was Mrs. Seacole’s observations during her travels and her notions about race and discrimination. She was very proud of being Jamaican, but she was also proud of her “yellow” complexion. She loved the English, but knew that they were a conquering power. The writing has a sense of flirtation and hominess, but Mary Seacole was complicated. Her attitudes were an amalgamation of contradictions that were just down right interesting.

The biggest problem that I had with the book was that so much was left out about Mrs. Seacole’ financial dealings. Mary Seacole engaged in capitalist activities everywhere she went, but where did she get the seed money? Who paid for her first trip to England? What did she do there? Why was she there? How much of her services did she deny to men who couldn’t pay. The complete lack of disclosure left me with a feeling of impropriety. Also, the book contained absolutely nothing about Mrs. Seacole’s personal life. She told us that her first husband died, but, after that, she mentions absolutely nothing about romantic interests. Who was Sarah, a young woman who is documented to have joined her in Balaclava? Sara is rumored to be Seacole’s daughter, but there is no mention in the autobiography of Sarah at all, which is weird no matter who she was. Like I said before, Mary Seacole was a complicated woman. She wrote this book to make money, not to unburden her soul, but mostly everything that is known about Mary Seacole comes from this book. I wish that she would have left us with more.

In 2004, Mary Seacole was voted the ‘Greatest Black Briton’ in history, and I’d never heard of her. This book is worth at least four stars to me for introducing me to a person that I should have been teaching about right alongside Florence Nightingale. I would recommend this book to anyone who is unfamiliar with Mary Seacole. We should all have learned about her in World History. Shame on public education.

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