Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue
A Loose Dress, A Loose Woman

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 5 Critic Reviews



Slammerkin: A loose gown; a loose woman.

Born to rough cloth in Hogarth's London, but longing for silk, Mary Saunders's eye for a shiny red ribbon leads her to prostitution at a young age. A dangerous misstep sends her fleeing to Monmouth, and the position of household seamstress, the ordinary life of an ordinary girl with no expectations. But Mary has known freedom, and having never known love, it is freedom that motivates her. Mary asks herself if the prostitute who hires out her body is more or less free than the "honest woman" locked into marriage, or the servant who runs a household not her own? And is either as free as a man? Ultimately, Mary remains true only to the three rules she learned on the streets: Never give up your liberty. Clothes make the woman. Clothes are the greatest lie ever told.

About Emma Donoghue

See more books from this Author
Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an Irish emigrant twice over: she spent eight years in Cambridge doing a PhD in eighteenth-century literature before moving to London, Ontario, where she lives with her partner and their two children. She also migrates between genres, writing literary history, biography, stage and radio plays as well as fairy tales and short stories. She is best known for her novels, which range from the historical (Slammerkin, Life Mask, Landing, The Sealed Letter) to the contemporary (Stir-Fry, Hood, Landing). Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book of 2010 and was a finalist for the Man Booker, Commonwealth, and Orange Prizes. For more information, visit
Published May 1, 2002 by Mariner Books. 438 pages
Genres: History, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Slammerkin

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

This boldly imagined historical fiction—reminiscent, though by no means imitative, of both Defoe's classic Moll Flanders and Margaret Atwood's recent Alias Grace—represents a quantum leap forward for its Irish-born (now Canadian) author.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Slammerkin: A Loose Dress, A ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Fleeing to the country village of Monmouth, her parents' hometown, Mary finds Mrs. Jones, an old friend of her mother's, and obtains a maid's position in her household, but Mary can't shake her dark ambitions: she re-enters the flesh trade, bringing disaster upon herself.

| Read Full Review of Slammerkin: A Loose Dress, A ...

RT Book Reviews

Search books by title, genre, publication month, publication year, and rating or search by any combination of these options (i.e.

| Read Full Review of Slammerkin: A Loose Dress, A ...

Gather Books

Emma Donoghue uses bits of the true story of Mary Saunders and how she came to murder her employer in 1763 and weaves them into a completely believable and readable historical fiction novel.

Jun 06 2009 | Read Full Review of Slammerkin: A Loose Dress, A ...

Bookmarks Magazine

In the end, it is clothes, their splendor and their deception, that lead Mary to disaster.
Emma Donoghue's daring, sensually charged prose casts a new sheen on the squalor and glamour of eighteenth-century England.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Slammerkin: A Loose Dress, A ...

Reader Rating for Slammerkin

An aggregated and normalized score based on 326 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review