Thursday, November 09, 2006
Pandora of Athens: 339 BC, by Barry Denenberg
Pandora is 13, betrothed to a first cousin she does not love, and bored with her cloistered life in Ancient Greece. But then a chance meeting with Socrates and his servant Phoenix opens up options that may change her life.
On one hand, this book is full of marvelous detail (and the tie-in to a major historical character is clever). It is the type of book that will get kids interested in Ancient Greek history. On the other hand, the book is so tied up with its history lesson, that it really doesn't have much of a story to tell. What story there is quickly falls apart as Denenberg recreates some of Plato's more famous dialogs (Apology, Phaedo, etc.) -- fascinating for a reader like me with a PhD in Ancient Greek Philosophy (yeah, that's why I work in computers now!), but not likely to be so enthralling to a younger reader (yes, I loved the Republic when I was 16, but at 10??).
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A key lesson I'll make sure to remember while working on my historical novel. Thanks for the word.
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