If you cut the slower scenes, it's a very interesting read.
I have to say, I'm not very interested in Claire, but I was interested in learnin...more*spoilers*
If you cut the slower scenes, it's a very interesting read.
I have to say, I'm not very interested in Claire, but I was interested in learning about Jamie. It was very nice seeing Jamie being so developed by having SO much backstory revealed about him, and man this guy really loves talking about his past! I even thought that maybe too much backstory was shown. On the other hand, we know next to nothing about Claire.
Another random comment: There were SO many sex scenes that it was quite embarrassing. If someone says that women think about sex less than men do, I wouldn't be convinced by this statement. Yes, a lot of male authored novels have a lot of sex in them, but a lot of FEMALE authored romances talk obsessively, and explicitly about sex! Very embarrassing indeed.(less)
Orlando: Guy who changes into a girl. There's a guy who fell in love with him when he was a boy who disguised himself as a...moreThis is so cool!
Orlando: Guy who changes into a girl. There's a guy who fell in love with him when he was a boy who disguised himself as a girl--and when Orlando becomes a girl, he reveals himself as a man. Then Orlando falls in love with and marries Shel, who is a womanly man (womanly as in sensitive?)
I love the romance between Orlando and Shel! Love their secret code telegram messages. So cute! ^^(less)
Every time I read a novel about a protagonist who becomes depressed and commits suicide, I think: Oh gosh they should have gone to a therapi...more*spoilers*
Every time I read a novel about a protagonist who becomes depressed and commits suicide, I think: Oh gosh they should have gone to a therapist/ counselor / psychiatrist or taken antidepressants! :( (I'm saying this from the perspective of an English major who is also a Psychology major.)
Apart from how upset the ending made me feel, I really loved the psychological descriptions throughout. It wasn't exactly a page-turner, but it was a very absorbing read! So intense.(less)
Wow I love how Memoirs made me question reality. I have always been skeptical of how some people define reality as "something everyone can s...more*spoilers*
Wow I love how Memoirs made me question reality. I have always been skeptical of how some people define reality as "something everyone can see and touch". Budo makes a good point saying that adults think imaginary friends are "imaginary/ not real" just because THEY can't see them. But imaginary friends are real; it's just a different kind of real--but they are no less real than a house in front of you. This book helps me refine what I mean by "real." A "real" thing/ person is something or someone who is important to you, has an effect on you. So it is very stupid of some people to think that just because something is only in someone's mind, it is "not real." Because it is! People are influenced by the voices they hear, the people they see in their heads in what they do, and what their values are. An imaginary friend that brings a child comfort and happiness clearly has a huge impact on the child, and therefore the imaginary friend ought to be called real as well, and not just dismissed as "not real."
A related definition to what "real" means, is that a "real" thing is something that is PRESENT to you. The more present it is to you, the more real it is. So an imaginary friend who has a constant and vivid presence to a child is undeniably real.
It's also cool how Budo says that he's real because he has his own thoughts and feelings independent of Max. I can attest to that because my own childhood imaginary friend had very much his own thoughts and feelings, his own mind; I couldn't control him.
The bottom line is, I just HATE it when people say that imaginary friends are "not real." They don't seem to get it, do they? This is definitely one of my greatest pet peeves. I can't believe how ignorant those people are.
Anyway, apart from the realness question, I was so mad at Max for forgetting about Budo. Just because he now believes that Budo "is not real", doesn't mean he should forget about him and let him disappear forever. Isn't that such an ungrateful thing to do? I mean, even if he were not real, Max should have recognized that Budo was a very important part of his life. No matter how "not real" he was, he is still a friend. He is still your best friend! It's just--I can't get over how cruel it is to just abandon your friend like that. Even if he is "unreal", he is still a living entity, isn't he? Whether he was in your mind or not, he is still a person: a person who can talk, think, and feel, and most of all, love you. I guess I'm just very upset at this. It feels like such a betrayal.
The dying of all the other imaginary friends, Oswald, Graham, and Summer made me really sad too. And I still can't believe Budo died at the end. I was hoping that Max would be different and keep believing in him forever. It really made me cry. I'm still crying.
Overall, this is a wonderful book about "reality" and friendship. I realize now that the relationship between an imaginary friend and a child may be one of the deepest and most touching kind of friendship in the world; in part because the imaginary friend is so intensely loyal, and is constantly vulnerable and in danger of disappearing because their human friend may (or will) one day stop believing in them. Really, an imaginary friend is like any other kind of friend. What friend wants their friend to believe that they don't exist???
I was glad though that after Budo died, he reappeared in Heaven! At least, that was my interpretation of the ending.
Also, I was happy at the implication that even ADULTS can have imaginary friends! It's also one of my pet peeves that some people think that adults with imaginary friends are "abnormal" or "have some mental illness" or something. There's nothing wrong with an adult having imaginary friends! Their imaginary friends comfort them and make them happy, so those scoffers should just leave them alone and let them live peacefully together, rather than ridiculing them.(less)
A pretty cute book. But I have to say, I treated this as a comedy and didn't take the story too seriously. It's really entertaining though. I thought...moreA pretty cute book. But I have to say, I treated this as a comedy and didn't take the story too seriously. It's really entertaining though. I thought the Vicar's sermons were very cute too.(less)
Wow, one of the most uneventful stories ever (at least in my opinion). Yet it kept my attention all the way through. Impressive.
I love how much psychological analysis there is. It was also nice that the focus was not on romantic love; this is quite refreshing, and it's really touching that Silas finally has someone to love.(less)
Camilla and Edgar were both very well developed! Both are obviously flawed too. For Edgar, it's mostly learning to trust Camilla, and to be kind rathe...moreCamilla and Edgar were both very well developed! Both are obviously flawed too. For Edgar, it's mostly learning to trust Camilla, and to be kind rather than just judgmental and uptight. I liked how Edgar was NOT the "suave, debonair" type. He's a moral prig and so deadly virtuous, but still I like him very much. For Camilla, I was so mad that she was such a people-pleaser, almost a doormat. But she must be a really approachable and friendly person, so that it would be quite pleasant to interact with her and even befriend her if she were in our world.(less)
Wow Des Esseintes is a very interesting person. He is so obsessed with the arts and beauty! And he makes me feel like a very insensitive person---I'm...moreWow Des Esseintes is a very interesting person. He is so obsessed with the arts and beauty! And he makes me feel like a very insensitive person---I'm so dull compared to him.
Des Esseintes sounds like De L'Essence. (But not "petrol", lol!) Just saying.
But although fascinating on the whole, this novel did get quite tiring because there was just so much nonstop description of the different authors and painters that he likes. It was fun hearing about his tastes and preferences, but it just carried on for too long!(less)
I was surprisingly very detached when I read this. For some reason I just felt that Werther was being childish and overly emotional. All the while I t...moreI was surprisingly very detached when I read this. For some reason I just felt that Werther was being childish and overly emotional. All the while I thought this, I knew I was being heartless and unsympathetic. But I really don't know why I failed to sympathize with him when I usually sympathize so readily with emotional protagonists!
Maybe I was just feeling particularly cold and unemotional today.
On the other hand, I appreciate how Werther's character was developed. When you see his first person narrative, and what he says to Albert and Charlotte, and his philosophies and beliefs, you really see the workings of Werther's mind, his psychology. So by seeing how he thinks, feels, and what convictions he has, you really get to know this very human character.(less)
This was not a particularly gripping or eventful story to me. But the content is very good! It always felt like I was learning something---it's deep....moreThis was not a particularly gripping or eventful story to me. But the content is very good! It always felt like I was learning something---it's deep. I like how each main character represents a different philosophy or belief system, but at the same time, they all yearn for the same thing---companionship and understanding to dispel their loneliness. Quite a philosophical book, which I like.
Their pack of friends: the cowardly lion, Dorothy, Toto, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow, really remind me of the celebration of individuality, freedom...moreTheir pack of friends: the cowardly lion, Dorothy, Toto, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow, really remind me of the celebration of individuality, freedom, and equality. Everybody has their peculiarities, yet all are great friends, and they all support and appreciate each other and like each other for who they are. This was very touching for me.(less)
Oh my gosh so rarely have I been SO overwhelmed by a book before. I mean, wow. WOW.
There was so much historical and social background that m...more *spoilers*
Oh my gosh so rarely have I been SO overwhelmed by a book before. I mean, wow. WOW.
There was so much historical and social background that made the book so immense. I especially loved the story about Paris's sewage system. (Hugo makes it no secret that he hates Paris.)
But the most overwhelming thing about the book was not all that background, it was Jean Valjean himself.
Honestly, I have never encountered such an amazingly complex and well developed character before! This is partly because we basically get to see him from birth till death. Well, not so much of his childhood I guess, but that's irrelevant. But mostly because we see so many "moral dilemma psychologically complex" passages of him. Not too many to be truly too much to take for the reader, but enough to make the work super duper deep. I love it when Victor Hugo dives in and explores the depths and intricacies, convolutions, of the soul. This is the main reason why he is now my favorite French author!
Also, Jean Valjean's conversion to be a good man, thanks to the Bishop, is also a great character and belief change, which makes him a very developed character. From a hatred of everyone to a love to do good to everybody. His change from having no friends, no family, nobody to love, to suddenly loving immensely this little girl, who becomes his foster daughter---this is also a huge character change; which also makes him a complex character.
In short, Jean Valjean is just an ineffably 3D, alive, and HUMAN, DEEP, character. He is an exemplar. Maybe one day I can write a character who is as enormously well developed as he is, if I keep my hopes up. :)
Okay apart from my Jean Valjean hype, I also like several other characters:
Fantine I kind of liked, because although she was so stupid to give everything to Tholomyes, at least she worked hard to survive and keep Cosette alive too. No matter how desperate her condition was, she never gave up to commit suicide! I’m so impressed! She even diminished herself to prostitution and didn’t commit suicide like so many other literary characters would do!
Marius I kind of liked because we saw his psychological complexities. And that he does eventually see that his father was a good man, and later, that Jean Valjean was a great man.
I LOVE GAVROCHE! WHY DID HE DIE???? He’s so super smart, resourceful, quick, cool, suave, confident, has so much panache and flair in everything he does, and is so intrepid….AND is very generous and actually has a paternal streak in him. Look how he cared for his little brothers! Even though he didn’t know that they were his little brothers.
I liked Enjolras. He is just AWESOME. He is handsome yet he has never ever had a girl and never ever kissed a girl and never ever wanted to go near one. :D Yes! He is one of those very rare handsome virgins! He must have an abnormally strong self control—or abnormally GREAT and grand personality! He’s a really admirable person.
Why did Combeferre die? He’s so cool! He’s someone that I would like to be. So super learned, reads everything. I love how he’s for progress, but not for crazy revolutionary adventures. He is exactly the kind of person I want to become!
Javert: I had always regarded him as a HIGHLY comical character. His rigidity and naivety is just super duper funny! To me at least. But I only started to like him a bit when he lets Jean Valjean go and has a major belief crisis. But oh man why on earth did he have to drown himself just because he had a belief crisis??? Even if one day someone reveals to me “convincingly” that God didn’t exist, I wouldn’t commit suicide! (Not that I would ever BELIEVE that person that God didn’t exist anyway though.)
Jean Valjean’s death made me sad, but I think Javert’s death was more tragic. I felt really sorry for Javert because he was so naïve, so rigid, so trapped in that little world that when that little house is smashed, he can’t stand it and he drowns himself. And he obviously had no one around him. I got the impression that he never really had any friends, or family, either. And he was born in prison, wasn’t he? Javert is a complete tragedy. A great sadness.
But for Jean Valjean, even though he dies, you must admit that he died happy. He had his beloved Cosette beside him, who still loved him. And Marius has found out the truth about Jean Valjean and knows that he is actually a great man, and now loves and reveres him and really calls him father.
PLUS, just because Jean Valjean died, this doesn’t negate everything good and great that happened to him or that he did. He transformed and redeemed himself from a convict to a good, then a great, altruistic man. Doing all that charity when he was the mayor, especially saving Fantine when no one else would, saving Cosette from the Thenardiers, saving the guy who was mistaken for Jean Valjean, and most impressively, saving Marius, even through the scary sewers when he could have just thrown his body away to save himself from the quicksand….all of these wonderful things he did, and all that wonderful transfiguration and ELEVATION of soul in him can simply not be negated or denied by a mere death! Plus, he’s enjoying himself in Heaven now, just as he deserves. :) (less)
Lily Bart---I didn't quite like her, though I completely sympathize with her every step of the way. Eventually, I did start liking her when...more*spoilers*
Lily Bart---I didn't quite like her, though I completely sympathize with her every step of the way. Eventually, I did start liking her when she started to really fight.
But I just can't believe she ACCIDENTALLY killed herself by overdosing on sleeping pills!!! How--how---argh.
My favorite character's Lawrence Selden though. I love the ideals he represents: his "republic of personal freedom" as his definition of success; how he prospers even in relative poverty---how the small number of the good books he has emphasizes their value. And I also love how he's one of Lily's only true friends; and it's really touching how he always believed in her! So it's such a shame that she died when they were just about to be--really happy ever after.
Character wise, obviously, Lily is hyper-developed. Selden is pretty good too. Mostly because they both have backstories and reasons to explain their current attitudes and beliefs. Lily is especially dramatically shown to be motivated by her beliefs. Lily is also the dynamic character who changes a lot. Selden is a rather static character and he represents the moral pedestal Lily tries to reach, but he still has his flaws to keep him human. So, they are both fantastically developed characters!
Overall, I love this book! One of my favorite reads ever! (Oh why why why was Lily so stupid to accidentally overdose????)(less)
This is honestly one of the SCARIEST novels I have ever read! It was so disturbing. Even though the narrator is an innocent five year old boy, you can...moreThis is honestly one of the SCARIEST novels I have ever read! It was so disturbing. Even though the narrator is an innocent five year old boy, you can tell beneath all the fun that something very wrong and horrifying is happening...
On the other hand, Jack's voice is really good! Really sounds like a five year old---with accelerated development in literacy. I love how questions keep popping out of his head all the time! His constant barrage of questions does often get very annoying, but I can't blame him for being curious. It's kind of funny that Jack likes to ask a lot of irrelevant questions when someone is trying to tell him something important---but at the same time, it's not funny because of what is about to be told.
I'm grateful that it was written in Jack's POV too, so we don't feel the horror directly, or else it would have been too scary and painful for me to read.
It's an example of how you can use simple vocabulary, zero description, and barely any emotion words, yet make a story emotional, touching, and frightening.
Honestly I don't think I've read anything more nightmarish than this before. Even Lord of the Flies was nothing compared to this, in a sense. Even Stephen King's horror stories are child's play compared to this...(less)