Anna and the King of Siam

Anna and the King of Siam

Book - 1944
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Publisher: New York, The John Day company [1944]
Branch Call Number: 950/LAND
Characteristics: vi p., 1 l., 391 p. illus. (incl. map) 22 cm.

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Dream24
Aug 24, 2018

I had picked this book up because I thought it would be interesting to read the book that the musical was adapted from.....well, I was disappointed for sure.

I did not really enjoy this book that much. While we did get to explore a tiny bit of the world of Siam, we saw it through Anna's rose coloured glasses. I did not think she was entirely open minded about Siam and their culture and way of life. I felt like she was constantly criticizing them and held herself in high regard given that she was a British subject and therefore rules in Siam does not apply to her. Most of the time it feels like she was unprepared for how the Siamese people do things and it is so shocking to her, there were times when she sought to change things (even though it is completely out of the norm for the Siamese). It's a wonder she was able to be there for 5 years!

Now, Anna did do lots of good! Helping out those who don't have a voice and giving those women who seek to have an education an opportunity to learn and grasp it.

I did not enjoy how 'Boy' and 'Louis' were used so interchangeably. Like stop saying Anna and the Boy in like every paragraph! I got really sick of that. And the exchanges and interactions with the King of Siam, maybe they were exaggerated, maybe they aren't. But at times it feels like Anna focuses more on his lesser qualities instead of his better qualities (like he is very intellectual and did try to introduce science and a better way of ruling his people during his time).

Overall, it was a pretty boring read aside from the very impressive cultural displays during celebrations and interactions with the children and harem.

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