to read a blurb about this book from Goodreads: click here.
Shoutout to the first biography I’ve read in 2017! My last biography was about Catherine the Great in July of last year so needless to say I was overdue for a new biography.
This one is about Elizabeth II, who is the current monarch of the United Kingdom. I don’t know what her official title is but that is how I know her. I apologize to any of readers that live in Britain, if the title is incorrect. I do not mean any offense whatsoever.
I can’t help but compare Sally Bedell Smith to Robert K Massie. Where Massie’s biography read very much like a novel, this one was stuffed to the gills with facts, names, places, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love info dumping. I like having a lot of information so I can write it down and reference it later. It’s just one of those weird things I like. This book made my love for info dumping a little less.
It was just so dense. Literally the biography started when she was born (with some information from before she was born that pertained to her parents) and continued up until the few months after the marriage of William and Kate. This book was supposed to be a gift, so to speak, to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The monarch is around 85 or so, so you can imagine just how much information was stuffed into this 800 page book. (I read the large print, which was the only copy my library had). Every new person in Elizabeth’s life got a brief biography about where they came from, where they went to school, who their family was and so on. It really got to be a bit much.
To say something positive in this otherwise kind of negative review, I learned a couple things. I learned the monarch actually does rule in a way. Yes, she is restricted by Parliament but she has some say over important government things. I learned in school that she was really just a figurehead. (Don’t be mad at me. Blame the American School System.) I realize that she is more than that. And that was refreshing to learn.
I also learned that I want to do more reading about Princess Diana. In this book, it was clear that the author did not like Diana and made her out to be a really awful person. I learned from the beloved American School System that she was the People’s Princess. She was kind and generous and was all around an amazing person. I learned, from this book, that Diana might have been that way in public, but in private she might not have been like that. I want to know if the things that were mentioned in this book were true. If she really was suffering from borderline personality disorder, bulimia and self harm issues. I’m going to hunt down some more books and see what I can learn.
Overall, this wasn’t a bad book. i enjoyed myself for the most part. It took me a week to finish because I got into a bit of a reading slump. I would recommend this book if you are a die hard monarch fan like I am. If you are just interested in some casual reading, you will need to find something else but this book is not that.