Writing A History Book- Review: Primary Sources
Marie Antoinette- Princess of Versailles is historical fiction novel by Kathryn Lasky. This is the third novel of The Royal Diaries’- a series of novels about princesses of the past. Her novel is a ‘diary’ of the princess. Other novels include the ‘diaries’ of Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Jahanara of India, and Kazunomiya of Japan. The ‘diaries’ are written in first person, and it tells the reader about what happened on which date. Lasky wrote a lot of novels about what happened in the past. In her ‘diaries’, all the dates seem correct, and she does have a historical note at the back of the book, but according to her website, www.kathrynlasky.com, she did not major in history in college. Her ‘Royal Diaries’ novels are for the younger audience; therefore her novels must be very biased, and must make the protagonist look good. Most biographies of Marie Antoinette are most likely to be about how she ruined France. However, Lasky wrote mainly about what Marie’s life was like before she moved to Versailles. Lasky made Marie look like a poor, innocent child lost in a new world that is France.
I believe that Lasky’s thesis is that behind every “bad guy”, there is always a “good guy”. Lasky brings out the softer, kinder side of France’s antagonist Marie Antoinette. The author wants us to believe that Antoinette was not a “bad guy”, even though she may have done some bad guy things. This would be why Lasky chose to write about Marie Antoinette’s childhood- she was often bullied by her mother, and women at the Court of Versailles. Through this point of view, the reader sympathizes her.
In Lasky’s novel, Marie Antoinette was an innocent young girl. She liked to take off her shoes and socks and wade in water. She loved to play dress up with her older sister, and liked being called “Tony” instead of “Maria Antonia”. She was quite naïve as a young girl. All these activities describe a happy young child, not...