A quick, good read that makes you wish they'd stayed more true to the book in making the movie. I do love the movie, too, on its own merits. And there...moreA quick, good read that makes you wish they'd stayed more true to the book in making the movie. I do love the movie, too, on its own merits. And there is a major twist ending (maybe a DOUBLE-twist ending? More on that in a minute) here, so that part is intact. Really I'm tempted to say this book has more in common with the (I think unfairly-)maligned Tim Burton film from 2001. But comparing books to movies: that's boring! My main question after reading this book is: in what language was the message in a bottle found by Jinn and Phyllis in the framing story, composed? Why would Mérou compose it in the ape language? When would he have time to compose it? How would he blast it into space? Of course the last short chapter (SPOILER ALERT) suggests it's all just a story concocted by some clever ape in an ape-dominated universe. I take exception to the seemingly-interchangeable use of "monkey" and "ape" in this book, but I wonder if that can't be attributed to poor translation. It probably doesn't help that "singe" means both "monkey" and "ape" in French (good one, French dudes). I would be interested to read this in the original French someday, come to think of it!(less)
A pretty good page-turner! A more exciting adventure novel than I thought it was going to be. I'm looking forward to watching the movie again for the...moreA pretty good page-turner! A more exciting adventure novel than I thought it was going to be. I'm looking forward to watching the movie again for the first time in many years (I'm pretty sure the movie has a different ending, and I know it does a few things differently with the plot of the explosives team). I blew through the book in a little over 24 hours. Lots of dated references to Anglo-Saxon/Western superiority (and perhaps worse, Japanese/Eastern primitivity and inferiority) that seemed unnecessarily overt and frequent, even for the time of the novel's original publication. Yes, we understand, the English are civilized and have the capacity for abstract thought, whereas the Japanese are brutish stone-age neanderthals. Time sure told on that one! In spite of the dead-horse-beating vilification as such, the book is quite enjoyable, though. A taut and engrossing action tale from the second World War.(less)
Ahh, Frankenstein's monster. Alongside Count Dracula and Sherlock Holmes, perhaps the most readily-identifiable and widely-known character in all of l...moreAhh, Frankenstein's monster. Alongside Count Dracula and Sherlock Holmes, perhaps the most readily-identifiable and widely-known character in all of literature. Unfortunately, the image most people conjure is more likely to be of Boris Karloff than of Shelley's monster (who was, perhaps, more accurately portrayed in that Kenneth Branaugh film of the 1990s, by Robert DeNiro). After reading this book, I am forced to wonder: how was Hollywood's version even considered an interpretation of this particular novel? The two are so wildly different it is difficult to reconcile. DRACULA's treatment at Universal at least somewhat-closely mirrors the plot of Stoker's novel, but there's so little here that reflects Shelley's work, I have to scratch my head at the disparity between page and screen.
That aside (for a minute, anyway), the novel is a great, compelling read. As my friend Cory points out, no time whatsoever is spent discussing the particular method of creation of the "monster," and if you're reading too fast you'll miss it entirely. Certainly no reference is made to grave-robbing (which the aforementioned 1990s film also inexplicably used), in fact if anything, the implication is that Victor Frankenstein devised a way of creating flesh from scratch in the laboratory.
And the ADVENTURE of the book! The framing-story in the cold Arctic, the chase across the world employing skiffs and sled-dogs and what-have-you, the exotic Scottish and Swiss and wherever-else locations...I'm inclined to think of a James Bond plotline (review for CASINO ROYALE forthcoming).
The messages of tolerance and acceptance and the maniacal fear and reactionary propensities of the human race resound as strongly today, in the second quarter of the second decade of the twenty-first century, as they did when first composed approximately two hundred years ago. Good work, young Mary.
As mentioned in my review for THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, further (if desultory) research led me to discover that though FRANKENSTEIN is perhaps her most widely-read and -recognized work, other of Shelley's novels are more well-written, interesting, and so on. Weird to know, if true indeed! I may have to check out some other Shelley novels along my way.
I have a Perma-Bound copy of this probably pilfered (if not by myself, by another) from the Lafayette High School collection. I think when this was being read in AP Language with Mrs. Brown, I had chosen a different novel (maybe PRIDE & PREJUDICE?). Somehow I ended up with a fake-hardcover copy of it anyway!(less)
I've had this paperback copy for some years but never read it. I remember Jeremy Quinn being at my house, seeing it on my shelf, and asking, "oh, you'...moreI've had this paperback copy for some years but never read it. I remember Jeremy Quinn being at my house, seeing it on my shelf, and asking, "oh, you're into UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, too?" I also remember a time when, shortly after my Grandmother was remarried (heck, maybe shortly before), I was getting some books off of a shelf in her house (none of which was UTC), or at least I think that's what I was doing, and Grandma's new husband Bill was maybe trying to hurry me up because we were moving stuff or going somewhere or, okay, so I don't know what was going on at all, but I do remember that Bill called himself a real Simon Legree, and that was the first time I'd encountered that reference (it's probably, also, one of the last times I've encountered that reference).
So I picked up UNCLE TOM'S CABIN for the purpose of reading, finally. I picked it up because I had just finally read THE JUNGLE and the two books were likened to one another on the back cover of THE JUNGLE. I was told that UTC wasn't as good as THE JUNGLE but I actually think it is WAY BETTER, on account of the vivid characterizations (even some supplementary characters in UTC were more fleshed-out than Jurgis ever was in TJ, but while at times I felt like Jurgis was the victim of his own stupidity, I felt sympathy for Uncle Tom all throughout) and the consistency of the story (TJ's closing pages are nigh unreadable in an otherwise amazingly-enjoyable book, just because all of a sudden it's propagandistic pandering and nothing else for a fewscore pages; at least UTC peppers its heavy points throughout the novel in a more palatable and less noticeable way). While at its finest moments, UNCLE TOM'S CABIN wasn't the page-turner that THE JUNGLE was in its own finest moments, but it also didn't have as many, or perhaps any (and certainly never nearly as deep) lulls like THE JUNGLE. I don't know why I'm comparing the two, really--I mean, yes, they were both novels with a nigh-inestimable social, political, and personal (where it all starts!) impact, but they were written fifty-plus years apart, in and about different segments of the country, although indeed they're interesting companion pieces; the one about wage-slavery, the other about real-slavery. The comparable epilogue-style political tirade is dedicated to the Liberia movement in UTC rather than socialism pure 'n' simple in TJ.
So, yes. Everyone else has said it a million times. The book is great. All the way through, in my humble O. The characters are awesome. How "Uncle Tom" came to mean what it does is beyond me, because the character of the man in this novel with that name is, to my mind, beyond reproof, and certainly no example thereof. Sure, the Christian heavy-handedness is somewhat much to take, at times, but hey, it's the mid-19th century: anything that was as controversial as this couldn't have gotten away with being published if it wasn't tempered with a firm Christian foundation (that's my suspicion, anyway--and also, is not to say that Stowe was not the Christian she pretended to be in the pages of this novel, by any means).
Side note, I wonder if there is, or was, or has been, at any point, Uncle Tom's Cabin fan fiction. I found myself wondering, what happened to this character or that character--while the principals are given a paragraph or two of epilogue treatment, many of the characters are so rich that I feel that doesn't quite given them justice. Even like a "The Adventures Of Young Augustine St. Clare" would be awesome. I mean, I would never read any of it, but I do wonder if it's out there, and I do wonder what else could have happened, or DID happen, to some of the people in this book (Sam, Topsy, Sambo & Quimbo, et cetera). Do people do that? Write fan-fiction (and I'm not talking about sexy fan-fiction, just regular old story-style fan-fiction) based on major literary works?
Anyway, don't be afraid of UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. Pick it up and read it. It's the biggest-selling book of the 19th century (at least in America, maybe in the entire world). It's not so arcane as I was led to believe it might be. Sometimes the vernacular takes a re-scan just to make sure you know what you're reading, but by and large it goes fast and is quite enjoyable.(less)
I don't remember exactly where I got this book. I have had it for some years--maybe it was snagged from the shelves of Bill Macabe's collection, or ma...moreI don't remember exactly where I got this book. I have had it for some years--maybe it was snagged from the shelves of Bill Macabe's collection, or maybe it was in the basement (or sidewalk?) of The Book House, or maybe I came upon it some other way. I am pretty sure I picked it up because of the Ernest Hemingway quote on the cover, which claims that it's the best boxing novel he ever read, or something like that. It is pretty cool how it goes into detail of the remote training "camp" attended by a variety of professional fighters. Part of me wishes I could have gone to such a "retreat" in the middle of nowhere and hung out watching boxing matches all day. It's no surprise Hemingway liked this book, it's pretty straightforward yet detailed in its descriptions. Apparently W.C. Heinz also co-wrote the novel on which the movie (and subsequent TV series) M*A*S*H was based. I am a little disappointed that the actual copy that I have is not represented on GoodReads anyplace, because it has a really good pulp novel-style cover. I think the Hemingway quote appears even before the title does on the cover. Since I'm stupid about boxing, I have to wonder how many of the historical boxing references are real, or even to real people. I know at some point the characters go to a movie and based on my research I am pretty sure that the movie is one that existed exclusively in Heinz's imagination. Admittedly (SPOILER ALERT here) the ending was a little disappointing, as you really want to root for nice-guy boxer Eddie Brown and his friends, including narrator Frank Hughes, but it also reflected a life truth, and the way it was delivered was suspenseful and engaging. (less)