A blog on reading, writing and life

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Reads: "Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World "

Old timey memoirs were the best. No showing off how many books the author's read, just action, action, action. Catalina de Erauso was a 15 year old Spanish girl in a convent who, after being beaten by some of the nuns, sees a chance to escape and takes it. She disguises herself as a boy and takes on a clerical job, but after committing a couple murders, flees to the new world, where she becomes a solider and commits even more murders. I lost track of the bodies fairly quickly. 

Details in this book are scarce, but even still we get a hint of her sense of humor. Like when she is trying to escape the law when she comes across two constables in the dark, and "then they ask for my name and I say (what I shouldn't have said), 'The Devil.'"

Other than these little jokes, we don't get much sense of her personality, but she must have some charisma because powerful people are always trying to help her avoid murder charges and women are always trying to marry her to their daughters. 

Some people may wonder how Catalina conceived of her gender or sexuality, but I'm more curious how she managed to use the bathroom without revealing her sex, since relieving oneself wasn't exactly a private act during the Renaissance.