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Lightning Mary Ordinary is what most people are and I am not I am not ordinary at all I am a scientistOne stormy night a group of villagers are struck by lightning The only survivor is a baby Mary Anning From that moment on a spark is lit within herGrowing up poor but proud on the windswept Dorset coast Mary follows after her father hunting for fossils uncovered by waves and landslips ancient creatures turned to stone Ignoring other people's taunts Mary faces danger to bring back valuable treasures to help feed her family But tragedy and despair is never far away Mary must depend upon her uniue courage and knowledge to fulfil her dream of becoming a scientist in a time when girls have no opportunities for such ambitions What will happen when she makes her greatest discovery of allWith a factual section about Mary Anning her life and the discoveries she made

  • Paperback
  • 272 pages
  • Lightning Mary
  • Anthea Simmons
  • 22 July 2016
  • 9781783448296

10 thoughts on “Lightning Mary

  1. rosamund rosamund says:

    This is a fictionalised account of the life of Mary Anning an early 19th century paleontologist The novel covers Anning's childhood and ends when she is twelve Anning is from a poor family her father is a cabinet maker who goes fossil hunting in his spare time and they often struggle to have enough to eat Anning learns to find and extract fossils with the help of her father but she uickly surpasses him due to her tenacity and passion Through the novel we get a vivid portrait of Anning as she determinedly sets out to the treacherous cliffs to hunt for fossils Not only are the cliffs hostile and dangerous but the world itself is hostile to poor girls like Anning and to science itself Anning was living at a time when most people took the Bible literally and to suggest that fossils could be the remains of animals now extinct was to go against God's teachings Anning is afraid to admit that she's a scientist and her wish to study geology by fossil hunting on the cliffs is considered a strange and unsuitable hobby for a girl But fossil hunting brings money to the family as fossils can be sold to wealthy tourists and as the Anning family suffer a huge number of hardships they are forced to rely on Mary Anning's contributions Told in the first person the voice Anthea Simmons creates for Anning brings this story to life It can be difficult to make a novel about a historical character really feel fresh as there is the danger of getting trapped in teaching facts to the reader The majority of the time Simmons escapes this problem The dangers and problems Anning faces feel immediate and tangible Her lively conversations with her friends and the descriptions of dangerous hunts on the cliffs grab the reader's attention My only caveat is that I felt Mary Anning was too feisty and too rebellious while Anning must have had a strong spirit and a lot of willpower in order not only to find fossils but to become renowned in a field where she was considered utterly alien I felt that at times her feistiness was too much Because she is shown as confident from the beginning there is no real space for a character arc of her growing confident with herself and her discoveries and I also feel that there is room for uieter introspective characters in feminist novels That being said this is a fascinating book and anything that makes Mary Anning celebrated and widely known is excellent My edition also included a helpful glossary of fossils and a short biography of Anning

  2. Ida Maria Ida Maria says:

    This is a book that acknowledges that women because of their gender and social standing as well as class have not been getting the chances or the praise they deserve I am all on board This is absolutely true and I think it's wonderful that and female positive books are on the market that shed light on interesting and brilliant characters rather than making the protagonist ladies have typically male trades and call it an 'empowering masterpiece' There is still a bit of that in here though Mary is a boyish girl who refuses to play with dolls and goes on the hunt with her dad and refuses to make herself 'pretty' Granted she is encourages to 'pretty herself' in order to attract male attention for a possible husband but why not entertain the possibility that Mary could be fun and feminine and into frilly dresses and STILL be badass? In this case however I guess it is warranted as Mary is based on real life person Mary Anning and I guess she must have been similar in her likes and dislikes Still I don't think it will surprise anyone that Mary is a daddy's girl all the way and doesn't have the best relationship with her home making and reasonably worried mother The book opens with an account of how Mary died Or well almost died Most certainly should have died because she was struck by lightning and wellthe odds are not exactly in your favour when that happens And given that Mary's family had already lost a previous daughter named Mary a bit bizarre to name your next daughter after the diseased one no? one could almost say there was a bit of a bad streak here Anyway Mary was hit by a lightning which only almost killed her and ignited a fire in her a fire she was determined to carry out into the world All of this is written in first narrator perspective I It was interesting because most of these kinds of books have a third narrator and therefore gives of a description of what happens With Mary we get her version And somehow that's even bold and empowering After all it's her story and women have not been able to tell their story for far too long I don't know if that precisely was the author's thought process behind it but I appreciate it regardless As a catholic theologian I took particular interest in the debate about religion and the church that you find throughout the book Sola scripture seems to be the author's preferred way and it shows throughout the story It wasn't discussed in a round way but very flat which I thought was a bit of a shame Yes an author is free to spread their own personal opinion but I wasn't expecting an 'indoctrination' of that sort in a book that is advertised as a feminist fest of a book rather than a protestantevangelical manifesto I am exaggerating of course but the point still holds true I enjoyed the this book It had me when it first mentioned Jane Austen Lol Apparently she was uite the bitch I don't mind the author's liberty taken here Thought it was amusing The story itself is a really important one and to shed light on female scientist and researchers throughout history in such a magnificent way can only be applauded35 starsAll thanks to Edelweiss for letting me have and review this copy

  3. Nick Swarbrick Nick Swarbrick says:

    How to define a woman as a scientist? This is the dilemma that underpins the frustrations of determined and prickly souvenir maker and palaeontologist Mary Anning whose young life in the hardships of C18th Dorset challenge her and the sympathies of those around her Mary is not easily likeable brusue dismissive but the author portrays her and her situation in such a way that we are drawn to stand alongside her and see how people came to admire and love her This is a neat trick by Simmons and allows the narrative to conclude on a downbeat that reflects Anning’s own frustrations and suggests how identities are formed but not always neatly resolved no mean feat

  4. Christina Reid Christina Reid says:

    An inspiring and evocative look at the life of Mary Anning a scientist whose work was often not appreciated or acknowledged during her life because of her gender and social status In this book Mary has a strong voice and a fierce determination to go her own way regardless of what people around her want her to do This is the perfect inttoduction to learning about Mary and highlighting female scirntists

  5. Blake Bramley Blake Bramley says:

    I sad but inspiring tale about the famous archaeologist ‘Lighting’ Mary AnningI enjoyed the book as a whole It was very slow to begging and I think the writing style itself was a little overly descriptive and dragged but then again I also didn’t uite get on with Mary’s character so it may have simply been that which made it seem to dragI did enjoy once the action picked up however and I’m content and fulfilled with the ending Learning about Mary’s life and passion was definitely worth the readThe book is a good one for introducing the idea of prejudice and injustice towards the poor and women historically and touches on a few important historical points that may be useful in a teaching settingThe book also has a small section at the back which has illustrations and explanations of the fossils mentioned throughout the book which I enjoyed

  6. Anthony Burt Anthony Burt says:

    Set in the harsh deadly coastal winters of 19th Century Lyme Regis in England Anthea Simmons’ gritty compelling book about the real life palaeontologist Mary Anning is as inspirational as it is educational I was lucky enough to grow up along the Jurassic coastline where this book is set and one of the things I enjoyed most about the writing and Mary’s adventures around the sea blighted landscape was how well Simmons’ portrays the rough torrid and difficult place this countryside is The story centres around Mary’s younger years where she finds her passion for “fossicking” or digging up dinosaurs as she will much later realise She meets an inspirational rich boy who does help hone her dreams about being scientistbut the forceful and forthright character of Mary herself does not need any persuasion or help from anyone It is a true story that Mary Anning was struck by lightning when she was a baby He person holding her and two others died but Mary survived And because of this “miracle” the portrayal of Mary as an extraordinarily forceful and gifted woman seems to organically fit the flow of the story There are real undertones of shining feminism in Mary’s struggles to be recognised as a scientist in her own right amongst the “boys’ club” of a male dominated world And through great personal tragedies and overwhelming poverty Mary carries on with her discovery of a full sized dinosaur skeleton She manages to recruit her town to support her and she becomes famous for being a revolutionary fossil hunter It’s a beautiful heartfelt story that does inspire young people to consider science as a career as a STEM ette novel this is partly its purpose and underlines what an important part in the history of southwest England Mary Anning played

  7. HappyGoldenKim HappyGoldenKim says:

    Step back into the past and discover Mary Anning a pioneer in the field of palaeontology through this fictionalised account of her early life In the early 1800’s Mary started out collecting small fossils on the beach with her father to sell as ‘treasures’ to tourists in their native Lyme Regis When a particularly big storm uncovered the skull of a monster Mary set to determined that she could find the rest of its fossilised remains in the cliffs Her monster later became known as an ichthyosaur a prehistoric marine animal even young dinosaur fans will know todayAs a barely educated poor girl at a time when most people still believed the world was literally created in six days everything was stacked against Mary But she defied all of society’s expectations that she would marry and have a home and a family to pursue her fascination with the mysterious creatures hidden in the layers of the cliffsThrough this book you will get to know Mary and her sheer determination to further her studies and interest in geology and palaeontology against all the odds She was a heroine of science who deserves to be better recognised – I hope this book will help with that

  8. Sinéad O& Sinéad O& says:

    Engagingly written with a wonderful 'voice' this fictionalised account of the early life of Mary Anning one of my heroes was so enjoyable The book perfectly evokes the frustrations of Mary's status and how little was thought of her genius because she was female; it also gives a palpable account of the challenges she and her family faced due to poverty and illness A brilliant interesting educational story and a great introduction to the incredible Lightning Mary

  9. Mair Mair says:

    35🌟A fascinating and enjoyable fictional telling of the real life story of Mary Anning scientist It was evocative inspiring and melancholic in eual measure and didn't necessarily read like a children's book I think down to its setting themes and the characteristics of the main character of Mary However the book is filled with rich detail and a timely message I really liked it who doesn't want to read about paleontological discoveries on the Dorset coast in the 1800s

  10. Marie Leverett Marie Leverett says:

    This book is aimed at 9 12 year olds so I'm giving it a 5 star based on that reading age I read it with my daughter and thought it was an inspirational and fascinating read Great way to learn about Mary Anning

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