Wednesday, May 30, 2007
At the Sign of the Star
Sturtevant, Katherine. 2000. At the Sign of the Star.
Ever since she could remember Meg Moore has wanted more. More than what her society thinks a girl should have. More than what her father and stepmother are willing to allow. She wants to be a girl who is more than just a wife-in-training. She loves to read. She loves books. She loves philosophy. She loves debate. She loves to discuss the important things in life. She doesn’t want to be stuck mending or embroidering. She doesn’t want to be trained in how to run a household...she wants to run a bookshop...or better yet write the books that go into a bookshop. Meg is an unforgettably strong-minded character who endures much in her journey to womanhood. Will she ever be able to achieve her dreams of independence? Will she ever be allowed to speak her mind freely within her home? Or will men always overrule women? Is it true that the only beautiful woman is a silent one?
Set during the Restoration in London, it is a wonderful historical novel that brings this time period to life. As Meg discovers the work of Aphra Behn, a whole new world opens up for her.
In the end I took it away with me, and found a green place to sit in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, in sight of the fashionable brick houses there. The play was called The Rover, and had been an amazing success at Dorset Gardens a month or so ago. I settled down to read it, and the afternoon wore on without my noticing, for it was a remarkable play. It was remarkable because it was so little different from a play writ by a man: it was as funny, as bawdy, as silly. And yet the fact that it was not by a man seemed to echo on every page, and filled me with wonder and anger and a secret sense of intention. For if a woman might think so like a man, and write so like a man...then why might not a woman give her views at table without apology? (42-43).