Book Review: Blackbeard’s Daughter, by Diana Strenka
It’s extremely difficult to give a poor review to an indie author, especially when they seem very nice, like this author, Diana Strenka. But I have an obligation to steer my readers away from a bad book, like this one written for young adults, Blackbeard’s Daughter. I wanted to like this book. The book’s opening was poor, but I was hopeful that it would pick up. The more I read, the more I disliked this one.
The premise is that Edward Teach, known later as Blackbeard the Pirate, had an abusive childhood, became a good family man, and then couldn’t deny the pull of shipboard life. The reader watches as daughter Margaret grows up in the shadow of a doting father and a loving, but very religious, mother. Although there is a great deal of action, the stories are choppy and abrupt, vignettes rather than one story, and they stretch credulity to a painful limit. No chapter was complete without an obligatory cry, including from Blackbeard, a man who became the most fearsome pirate of his time.
My feeling is that this book’s audience is 8-12 years old, given the simplicity of the writing. But, there are many sexual assaults and one completed rape. I wouldn’t give this to a young child. My other issue is that young people who read, in addition to instilling in them a love of reading, books give children hidden instruction in their own language use. Diana Strenka does not understand the rules of I/me or will/shall, and people from Blackbeard’s time did not say “get it together,” “wow,” or use the word “great” to express excellence instead of size (e.g., “that’s great” versus “a great many”). The book’s ending was astonishingly abrupt. Even the cover is butt-ugly.
I have to conclude by telling all of you parents out there to pass on this one.