Looking back, I’ve realized that this novel is sort of like a proto-’Love Actually’ – in that it is a network of love stories with interconnecting people who are only revealed slowly throughout the book. I felt the author did a great job at this even if it did cause me no end of frustration for the first couple hundred pages. I kept asking myself where this book was going and why the sisters from the beginning of the novel just disappeared, but they eventually reappeared and tied the story together.
Although the book clocks in at over 880 pages, it didn’t feel as if it were 880 pages. I believe this is a credit to the story and the language the author used. Her writing was not difficult to read and there were many beautiful passages and great descriptions, just look at how many quotes there are in my Additional Quotes section below. The one line that just made me laugh and think oh wow that’s me was
“When a conversation has taken a wrong turn for us, we only get farther and farther into the swamp of awkwardness.” (146)
It is just the perfect description of what happens when I pretty much ever open my mouth. I mentally thought ‘honey I’m mired in the swamp of awkwardness and am like the swamp lights (will-o’-the-wisps) that trick you into the swamp and then you die because you get lost, but without the death and lots of awkwardness.’
Overall I found this book dull and lacking. I’m not sure if it has to do with it being built up so much throughout my lifetime (the two big films: the animated Disney which I grew up with and the 2010 Johnny Depp/Tim Burton version) or perhaps because it’s only half the story I know (I didn’t read Through the Looking Glass with it), but I was completely and utterly underwhelmed with this book. On the plus side it counted for the Back to Classics, Mount TBR and The Classics Club Challenges.
I will say that the book is incredibly short and that worked in its favor. If I had to read more than 89 pages of what came across to me as rambling nonsense, I would not have finished the book. It did make me wonder about whether it was a novel or a novella and a quick internet search says novel. (Novels feature more conflicts than novellas and novellas feature more than short stories according to the ever accurate Wikipedia.)
Swoon. That’s my review, that’s it. I have nothing more to say. And that has nothing to do with Mr. Darcy, okay well maybe a little, but not as much as you’d think. And just to provide you with fair warning, this isn’t so much a review or response as it is a fan-boy “I love you Jane Austen” post. So read on if you like, you’ve been warned!
I’m not sure how many times I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, but I definitely feel like I should read it more often! I planned this re-read to coincide with the 200th Anniversary and I’m glad I did because it had been far too long! It also counted as one of my re-reads for The Classics Club. Hopefully the next time I re-read this novel I will be able to write about the characters or the story and have less fan-boy love, but I honestly doubt it, I mean look at all the crazy spinoffs I read even though they can never approach the original!
Honestly, I think it’s very difficult to talk about a book like this. I mean 200 years of intense debate and like/dislike pretty much covers everything you could possibly talk about. I mean you could check out this article (thank you Harvard Book Store) or you could even check out this blog post from Bitch Magazine‘s Adventures in Feministory series which includes the great observation,
“Austen may have a reputation in the popular imagination as the author of proto–chick-lit novels with sentimental love stories, but readers who pay close attention know that there’s quite a bit of realism–and feminism–in her fiction. Elizabeth has backbone. She knows what she’s worth, and she holds out for what Shakespeare would call a ‘marriage of true minds.’”
WARNING and APOLOGY: this post starts with a rather long tangent about literature, art and people. (Sorry! Probably should be two posts, but I’m lazy.) If you don’t really want to read it (but you should there are a few great quotes) skip to after the third block quote. And to get it out-of-the-way, The Picture of Dorian Gray is the January read for my books into movies book group at the local library and conveniently appears on my Mount TBR (extended) list and my Classics Club list!
Now for my tangent, I’ve noticed as I read a wider variety of literature that the authors I’m drawn to have a lot to say about books, reading and writing. I have a lot of respect for authors who are able to reflect on writing, books, and literature within their own books and stories. In his forward to The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde writes the below quote.
“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” (4)
And I can’t help but appreciate how incredibly insightful and powerful this is. Imagine if all the people threatened by books, who’ve burned books, who attempt to ban books, and those who just refuse to read certain books actually understood this. I love this quote so much it’s my new email signature and I’ve added it to the great book quotes on my sidebar (only the third)!
For the month of December the hosts of The Classics Club have asked us to share your favorite memory of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. have you ever read it? If not, will you? Why should others read it rather than relying on the film adaptations?
Well, as I said short and simple. I haven’t read it and I don’t know if I ever will. Dickens’ and I have a rocky relationship after A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. I’m not necessarily opposed to reading it, but I don’t know if I’ll go out of my way to read it.
I will say that I LOVED The Muppet Christmas Carol from the early 1990s. I was the right age for it and I thought it was amazingly wonderful. Maybe I’ll watch that this year and it’ll inspire me to go and read the original.