"I will punish him and escape from everyone and from myself.."
The classic of all classics.
I really like this translation - it was easy to understand,...more"I will punish him and escape from everyone and from myself.."
The classic of all classics.
I really like this translation - it was easy to understand, and the 40 pages of endnotes gave helpful and relevant historical information. I was most interested in Anna and Vronsky's relationship, although I didn't mind Levin's intense philosophical ideas too much. I felt sorry for Dolly and Karenin. I tried to hate Stiva but he's a likeable character in spite of his faults.
I used to regard Anna as more of a heroic individualist, a feminist. Daring to break society's strict rules so she could go after what she wanted. But she becomes more pathetic towards the end, and the reader probably feels sorry for her (as I did). Her insecurity irritated me sometimes, and she played immature games with Vronsky that he knew nothing about. For example, when she told a servant to tell him that she was in bed with a headache, she thought to herself, "If he comes in spite of what the maid says, it means that he loves me still. If not, it means that all is over..." I used to think in that way when I was younger, but it was such a waste.
Still, I regard Anna as one of my favorite literary characters. She is a miserably unhappy woman. She does not have her son, she doesn't love her daughter, she can't go out (while Vronsky can, of course), she has an overactive imagination about what Vronsky's doing. Vronsky says he cannot live without her, yet he is busy wandering about Moscow or Petersburg much of the time.
She feels humiliated that she can't live without him. She "lowered herself" to be with him. I know women do this today, and it only ends up hurting, even killing, them. I wish some of Anna's so-called friends in society would have accepted her, comforted her. Instead, she retreats inside her mind far too much, becoming very irrational and unstable. To depend on one person for your happiness is unwise and unfortunate. Her inevitable breakdown has been forever immortalized by the last scenes and her last thoughts:
"Where am I? What am I doing? What for?"
P.S. This massive story of unhappy families is adapted very well by Masterpiece Theater (starring Helen McCrory and Kevin McKidd)(less)
I was drawn to this book because of its interesting title (and I wanted to see if she had a...moreFrom my Amazon.com review:
Nothing earth-shattering here...
I was drawn to this book because of its interesting title (and I wanted to see if she had a concrete answer for it), but it ended up teaching me nothing, other than the fact that Dowd is a well-connected individual, quite the name dropper. "My friend at Newsday said..."; "a friend from the Village Voice...,"; "a friend of mine who's a reporter for so and so...." etc. This quickly became irritating.
And I already knew that men prefer to date their secretaries, not their bosses. That men are intimidated by smart women. That men want a woman with a lower IQ but a higher body temp. GENERALIZATIONS of course, but still true to some extent.
All I really wanted to read was a book about basic feminism, how women can make it on their own, not have to get married, be happily single in a pairing society. But no, this was still about smart women looking for serious relationships.
The political aspects were boring, I thought. If I'd wanted to know so much about Ms. Rodham Clinton, I would have bought her biography or something.
I really loved this book, mostly because I could empathize with Rosie's middle school angst and insec...more "Crying withheld feels sometimes like dying..."
I really loved this book, mostly because I could empathize with Rosie's middle school angst and insecurites. But I also admire (and envy) Lamott's writing in general - she creates beautiful phrases such as "it was so hot that the only things moving outside were the crickets and the anorexics" and "the sun smelled warm, like laundry in the dryer, like melting yellow crayons." Her writing startles me sometimes, so I have to stop and reread. I would never think to associate melting yellow crayons with the sun, for example...but the comparison makes perfect sense.
Simone, Rosie's best friend, wasn't one of my favorite characters at first, but her story turned out to be heartbreaking, and I was genuinely sad for her. I can still see her sitting on the bench with Rosie, waiting for Jason. Collapsed dreams, humiliation, and the double standard all follow - as usual, the male is not castigated by society. The male is not kicked out of the country club.
I liked Rae, Rosie's mom's best friend, the successful artist. When teased for her religious views, I was so proud of Rosie for defending her, reminding everyone that America "was founded on the principle of religious freedom," and no one should trivialize a woman's deepest feelings.
I also liked Luther, the mysterious observer at the tennis tournaments. I thought he was creepy at first, but he paid attention to Rosie when no one else did (her mother might be spacing out as she retreats into the past, and her stepfather might be checking his messages). Luther helped her, was there for her, so Rosie was never alone during a game.
"Too bad about the hair.." - when Rosie's coach said this to her (upon seeing Rosie's newly shorn head), it only confirmed my belief that he's sexist, that his voice echoes a society which regards hair as something that defines women, gives them value, forms stereotypes. Alas, Simone had glorious hair, and look what happened to her...her value appeared to decline in the end.
When a woman chops off most of her hair, it is one of the most liberating things in the world. I wish I'd gotten rid of mine when I was Rosie's age, instead of waiting until I was 24.(less)