I’ve reviewed several biographies of Pocahontas, so I’ll not begin rehashing her life all over again. Instead I’ll offer a few thoughts on this particular book.
I’ve always known that Jean Fritz is a saucy writer. Her books And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?, Why Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George?, and Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? are testimonies to her gently sarcastic and wholly enjoyable tone. And then there’s this one.
You know how sometimes you read a book and you can tell the author’s trying very hard to get into your head and rearrange things to be they way they want them to be? Well that’s what this book felt like. Fritz’s particular message? That everyone surrounding Pocahontas was weak and conniving and only interested in using Pocahontas as a pawn.
Also, as Fritz depicted the double life of Pocahontas – one divided between her own people and the Englishmen – she was careful to find hypocrisy wherever possible. John Rolfe wanting to marry Pocahontas? He didn’t actually love her – it just sounded like an okay idea and a good way to cement English / Indian relations. The settlers sharing the Gospel with Pocahontas? They didn’t really care about her soul – they just were having a “yay for our team” moment. Pocahontas agrees to be baptized? She wasn’t really interested in becoming a Christian, she just wanted to show her father how done with him she was for not ransoming her.
And on and on.
Granted, the people in this drama were humans. Some of them probably had pretty stinky motives. But why press every possible moment and force hypocrisy in where it didn’t belong?
Conclusion. As you may have guessed from my review, this account wasn’t my favorite – read Pocahontas by George Sullivan instead. :D
Review © 2015 Laura Verret