Read Magdalen Rising: The Beginning by Elizabeth Cunningham Free Online

Ebook Magdalen Rising: The Beginning by Elizabeth Cunningham read! Book Title: Magdalen Rising: The Beginning
The author of the book: Elizabeth Cunningham
Edition: Monkfish Book Publishing
Date of issue: April 1st 2007
ISBN: 0976684322
ISBN 13: 9780976684329
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 978 KB
Loaded: 1915 times
Reader ratings: 3.6

Read full description of the books:

Two and a half. But it won't let us gives halves.

Overall: The book didn't work for me. In specific: there are some well-articulated moments (see below).

I think maybe my hopes were too high for this book. I was hoping for a book that really put a female-male balanced spiritual world-view. But instead, I got a strong dose of humanist feminism (beating men at their own game) scrubbed over with a sort of New Age/Celtic goddess magic-and-powers idea. As I read, what I kept hoping for was that the young Maeve would realize that she wants to be herself for being herself, rather than fall into all the patterns that have been set up by the women in her life. But she persists throughout the entire book being the same kind "strong" woman as those she grew up with. (I don't think that "taking crap" from men makes someone a strong woman. I think it diminishes her.)

[For the record: I'm NOT a humanist-feminist. I'm more in the line of though that Elaine Showalter advocated in the eighties, where women are not judged, by themselves or by men, according to the male standards of worth. Instead, they are taken for their own worth (and not in a hierarchical way). For a book that embodies the kind of strong womanhood I align myself with, read [book: Wise Child].]

Another issue I had with this book is its carefree way with anachronism. This book is supposed to be taking place right when Christ is born and growing up. So having a character with wild hair being compared to punk rockers and the Statue of Liberty, and having the main character meet a goddess who calls her "honey" really jars me.

Okay, last issue: I feel like the book tries waaaaay too hard to put in every possible and impossible reference to sexuality, sex, or human bodily functions. It's a good reminder for why I prefer to read children's literature. In children's literature, the focus is on telling a good story, not trying to get a certain rating.

So, obviously this book didn't resonate with me or give me what I was looking for. I never did come to like the main character. I always wished she had used her brain more and her hormones/"guts" less. I didn't have a lot of patience while I read this book, so I read a large chunk of it in a "skimming" sort of fashion.

But, there are a couple of moments where certain contrasts are brought to light quite well. Here are a couple of pieces (with some editing to keep the flow of the ideas):

First piece: [During a discussion about spiritual gifts, and how the male comes from a culture where every day he wakes up and thanks God he isn't a woman, just like every other man in his area. The female comes from the Isle of Women, where being a woman was the best and only thing to be.:]

"You know, it's a good thing you don't live in my country. You'd be accused of sorcery. Some people believe it's unlawful to allow a sorceress to live."

"Well, what about you? With your tornadoes and striking people dead and changing children into goats."

"Thank God I was not born a woman."

"What's that got to do with anything?"

"You see, I was born a man. I might grow up to be a prophet or a healer. I might become a great leader who will free the people from Roman rule. I might be the Messiah. Who knows? People take a wait-and-see line with a boy."

"Why not with a girl?"

"It's just different."


Here's another: [Another conversation about male vs. female in spiritual stories, etc.:]

"If I was your Isaac, I'd never let my father near me again. And the sun standing still at Jericho. A woman turning into a pillar of salt just for looking over her shoulder. Our stories couldn't possibly be more far-fetched than those. I know what's really eating you. In our stories, women get to do something besides giggle when they conceive after their blood has stopped. In our stories, women get to lay down the geasa from time to time."


Another: [Spoiler: Main character gets raped and is pregnant. This is during a conversation she's having with the man she loves.]

No doubt you understand better than I did then how touchy men are about their girlfriends getting pregnant. How do I know it's mine? are often the first words out of a man's mouth (or in his mind) even if it couldn't possibly be anyone else's. Well, that's the question, isn't it? The one at the root of all patriarchy. How do I know it's MINE? No matter how angry I was with my mothers, I was still virtually clueless about patriarchy. Though two millennia separate your time and ours, I am sure you know more than I did then about how an upright first century Jew would regard a despoiled virgin. You are familiar with the epithet: whore. Things haven't changed all that much. In your time, politicians win points in the polls for proposing to punish unmarried teenaged mothers like me, not to mention our children. No father? no food.


Another piece: [Spoiler: This is from a conversation where the main character is trying to find out why her father, who ended up on the Isle of Women at one point, and ended fathering her, was angry about it.]

"But I still don't understand. Why is he so furious with my mothers and with me? I just don't get it. When King Bran hears the name Tir na mBan, he practically swoons with ecstasy. As soon as he retires, he wants to go there. To me, my mothers are just my mothers. But the way some men talk about Tir na mBan, you'd think my mothers were goddesses or something. My mothers clearly expected him to be thrilled when he woke up. Why wasn't he?"

"I don't suppose Moses would have liked it either. King David might have. Maybe King Solomon, but I'm not so sure. Even with all his wives, seven hundred I believe, Solomon was in change. The wives were HIS. That's the sticking point. you see, when a man goes to your mothers' island, he's theirs."

"I still don't get why that's a problem."

"It's a problem, Maeve. At least for some men it would be. Trust me on this one."

"Would it be a problem for you?"

"I don't know. To tell you the truth, I can hardly imagine it. I'd like to think we could work something out."


Another piece: [Discussing druidic human sacrifice.:]

"Even if I became a god after death, why would I want to help the people who strangled me, stabbed me, and drowned me? Does that make any sense to you?"

Viviane looked nonplussed. In every religion there are questions you are simply not supposed to ask. If you're properly indoctrinated, it won't occur to you to ask them.


Another piece: [Spoiler: This is part of a conversation when the main character finally tells someone of rank that her father raped her.]

"I suppose I've always known," he said at last. "I suppose we all have."

"Then why---"

"Because we cannot know," he answered before I could finish asking. "It is not the story we want to hear. It is not the one we are telling."


So, that's it. I won't be reading the rest of the series because this book wasn't my version of a strong woman. I was mostly impatient with her and waiting for her to prove that women can have common sense. Alas.

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Reviews of the Magdalen Rising: The Beginning


Despite the criticism, I liked the book!


Easy to read, easy to understand!


I never liked the book.


A book that completely overturned consciousness


I was inspired by this book!

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