I cried reading the author's acknowledgments. That's some good writing, eh?
ETA: I forgot to mention the friendships in my original review.I cried reading the author's acknowledgments. That's some good writing, eh?
ETA: I forgot to mention the friendships in my original review. Along with the literary references (and all the U2!), I loved Weber's portrayal of her friendships. They were so beautiful and honest and read. Her relationships with Edward and Hannah in particular were engaging. Surprsingly, Weber's relationship with TDH was one of the less-memorable parts of the book (though that sounds harsh as I type it). Books make me so sentimental!
Though I started with a heave heart and was hunting for some theological inconsistencies which would allow me to place Weber in the "other" camp than mine, the slow crescendo of the story softened my heart. There were some differences, to be completely candid, but it didn't seem to matter by the end of the story. Weber's vast literary references and gently crafted phrases requested that I stop to sigh more than once while reading this memoir and the sighs only grew richer as the story continued.
This book was important to my spirit. I remember what it felt like to be a new believer and to be so full of desire for God. In fact, may God have mercy on this old complacent soul. Growing up in church and experience an early "coming to faith" is both beneficial and challenging. Sometimes I'm jealous of my friends who have dramatic coming-of-faith stories from their adulthood. How powerful that is! How sure they must feel that their decisions weren't muddied by hormones or peer pressure or family expectations. (Of course those things can still be factors for adults, and God's grace and mercy are bigger than that, anyway.)
This book was also important to my mind. 2012 has been a renaissance of learning for me. I'm hungry for more scripture but also for more poetry and prose of all sorts, from Homer to Rumi to Keats to Lewis and beyond.
I may add this to the top=ten list, but perhaps I should sleep on it first. :)...more
I'm revising my review and I've added one star to my rating.
I keep thinking about this story and it continues to pop up in my head in relation to otheI'm revising my review and I've added one star to my rating.
I keep thinking about this story and it continues to pop up in my head in relation to other issues. Also, I'm drawn to Wharton's other works now, especially Summer and The Buccaneers. Therefore, I should probably revise my previous opinion. I liked this book better than I realized and I might even reread it in 2013 if I like the other Wharton novels I've mentioned.
There is something powerful about this story, about a time when the United States of America was still on the way up and our ideas were new and fresh. The old world was old news and we were crafting a whole new idea of society and how people related to each other here. Perhaps the most disappointing fact is that in hindsight its still not that different.
My original review:
Hmm. I wanted this book to end. Still, though, I appreciated Wharton's efficiently descriptive writing. Most of the plot moves slowly and I found reading the book laborious. Wharton's intent was not to write an action-packed, quick-read type of novel, though, and I can appreciate it for what it is.
After learning a bit about Wharton's own life I can empathize a bit more with the characters. (I still don't really like any of them, except perhaps Old Lady Mingott and the French guy.) As a child of privilege, she was struggling not to become like May (lacking in imagination), or like Archer (lacking work ethic and ambition), still while not being ostracized as "eccentric" like Ellen Olenska.
While I appreciate Wharton's contributions to discussions about class and gender constraints, I didn't enjoy this book like I've enjoyed some Victorian classics. Regardless of her efforts, I felt like I was reading for school. On the other hand, I'm still glad I read it....more
I'd like to come back to this review in a couple of days. For now, though, I'll say this book seems near perfect. The resolution was so satisfying. T
I'd like to come back to this review in a couple of days. For now, though, I'll say this book seems near perfect. The resolution was so satisfying. The entirety of book viii was so exciting. It wasn't until I got to that point in the book that I really loved it. Eliot is a master word language sculpted and plot weaver. The weakest element is her characterizations, but that's only relative to how wonderful everything really was. I still loved the characters....more
I've avoided Austen for years for fear that I would be just like everyone else and love it. My fears have become reality. Austen's skill at utilizingI've avoided Austen for years for fear that I would be just like everyone else and love it. My fears have become reality. Austen's skill at utilizing words in both an economic and extravagant way really surprised me. Reading her prose was a bit like working a puzzle on a pleasant Sunday morning and it may be part of what kept me interested in the beginning.
Pride and Prejudice is indeed a key work in the evolution of the novel. Not only was Austen's dialogue rich but her plot and characters were lovable and just-unpredictable-enough to keep the reader satisfied. Perhaps P&P is the first romantic comedy; it is what romantic comedies should be at least. The love story between Elizabeth and Darcy (and many of the other characters) were at the same time powerful but also relatable. I smiled so many times while I read about the characters' quirks and little changes. I am so glad I finally read this book and it will remain a favorite....more
I'm rereading this one again this year... And it amazes me every time. A Christmas Carol is everything good about Dickens and maybe about 19th centuryI'm rereading this one again this year... And it amazes me every time. A Christmas Carol is everything good about Dickens and maybe about 19th century Literature....more
**spoiler alert** I've wanted to read Tess for years, and I feel great that I've completed it. It was my first "big" classic to read in several years.**spoiler alert** I've wanted to read Tess for years, and I feel great that I've completed it. It was my first "big" classic to read in several years. After too much Dickens in high school, I avoided Victorian literature. The idea of reading a novel with long descriptions of farm life and Nature motifs kind of bores me, but Hardy's engaging plot (and a few years of earned wisdom) kept me going. I really fell in love with Tess with the scene in which she baptizes her sick infant. It was so dark but pure and beautiful. Tess was indeed a pure woman. ...more
There's no need to restate what's been said by a multitude of other Tolkien lovers, so here are my favorite things:
1) Tolkien's conversational style mThere's no need to restate what's been said by a multitude of other Tolkien lovers, so here are my favorite things:
1) Tolkien's conversational style made me giggle in places. When he says things like, "You will remember this..." or "There's no need to tell you this..." to the reader I love it. He's the only writer who can take such liberties and remain in my good graces. With anyone else that would be annoying.
2) The characterization of Bilbo Baggins is genius. I related to him so strongly! He wants good, but he's kind of worried about himself. He wants to help the dwarves but he's also hungry for second breakfast. I just love that!
3) Most of Tolkien's world is incredible, but I particularly love the Shire. I'd like to retire there someday....more
Oh, I hated my tenth grade English teacher for making us read this 800-page whopper. (Who knew kids younger than sixteen would be drooling over a longOh, I hated my tenth grade English teacher for making us read this 800-page whopper. (Who knew kids younger than sixteen would be drooling over a longer Harry Potter just a few short years later?) I never told him that I actually liked it, and that it's actually one of my favorite books of all time. Ssshhhh! Don't let my secret escape....more