Book Review – Frog Music by Emma Donaghue

Book Review – Frog Music by Emma Donaghue

image

Based on a true story about a murder in San Francisco when it was still a new city, Donaghue spins a story involving circus folk, music, measles, baby farms, dancing girls and frog hunting.

Jenny Bonnet (pronounced Bonn-ay) was a teenage tearaway who spent time in a reform school before becoming a trouser-wearing frog hunter in the ponds and swamps around the fledgeling San Francisco, supplying the restaurant trade with that delicacy, frog legs.

When she was 27 she was shot dead in a guesthouse outside the city. No one was ever convicted of the killing.

Using old newspaper articles and court records, Donaghue fleshes out the story of Bonnet’s life and death. Narrated by Blanche Beunon, a French acrobat turned stripper and prostitute, who befriended Jenny shortly before her death, the novel depicts the struggles of immigrants, living hand to mouth in Chinatown.

The details of Bonnet’s life were scarce so this allowed Donaghue, whose last book was the harrowing Room, a lot of scope to write an imaginative, colourful narrative peopled by outrageous characters and a complex tangle of emotions and motives at its centre.

This book is well worth a read, whether historical fiction is your thing or not.

ramblingmads

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s