I loved this book. It turned into my favorite so far of the Harry Potter movies, and if not for the wonder that was Goblet of Fire, this book would be...moreI loved this book. It turned into my favorite so far of the Harry Potter movies, and if not for the wonder that was Goblet of Fire, this book would be my favorite of the 7.(less)
**spoiler alert** I decided to read The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri when I saw the preview for the movie. I've had an "affection" for Kal Penn ever sinc...more**spoiler alert** I decided to read The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri when I saw the preview for the movie. I've had an "affection" for Kal Penn ever since Taj volunteered to be Van Wilder's personal assistant. When I saw the preview, I had to immediately go out and buy a copy of the book, because I have an aversion to owning books that have their movie's poster on the cover. My one exception is Fight Club, and only because it's autographed (purchased at the previously mentioned Powells).
I bought the book and meant to read it for about 6 months. The movie came out, left theaters, and is now available on DVD. Still, hadn't read the book. Then I rented this movie called Once (which I might have mentioned) And one of the previews was for The Namesake. So, I picked it up again. Cause I remembered how much I wanted to read it, and how much I wanted to read it before I saw the movie.
The Namesake is a story about an Indian immigrant family starting in the 1960s and goes to the present. It tells the story of the husband and wife coming to America, and having a son followed by a daughter. The majority of the story focuses on the son, Gogol, and how he deals with having Indian parents and growing up in American society. He neglects his culture, hates his name, and tries to become an individual outside of his heritage. It's a story not only of his family but of his personal struggle to accept who he is and where he comes from.
Now for the scoring ...
** The story was immensely satisfying. The ending did not feel so much like an end, but more a closing of a window into the lives of the characters. - Plus 6
** It's not it's fault, but it's not nearly as awesome as Middlesex - one of my all time favorite books, which tells the story of a Greek immigrant family during roughly the same time period. - Minus 2
** I think the movie is so going to fail in keeping up with the book. - Neutral
** One of the key plot points was unexpected, but I was touched by it and how it was dealt with due to my own personal experiences with something similar and unexpected. If you want details on which plot point, let me know, but I hate to spoil anything. - Plus 3
** The story skips over large years of time. Which is nice, cause there's all action, and not long chapters of nothing happening. - Plus 3
** I walked away feeling much of Gogol's struggle with his parents and his struggle for who he is. More than just the words on the pages, the emotions came across well. - Plus 4
** Long chapters. Detailed chapters. But not happy bus reading. - Minus 2
** I don't understand the name Nikhil. - Minus 2
** It made me crave Indian food something fierce. - Minus 1
** Despite being centered on Indian culture, I think the story of meeting your expectations of yourself and your parent's expectations of you plus finding the happy middle ground between them is something that most of us go through at some point. - Plus 3
** A quick read once you get about 25 pages into it. My previous mistakes at attempting to read this book were because I stopped at about page 12. (See above concerning long chapters). - Plus 1
** It was easy to hate the bad guys, sympathize with the good guys, and to not be quite so sure about the in between guys. - Plus 1
**spoiler alert** I read Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez because of John Cusack. It’s no secret that I have a weakness for the m...more**spoiler alert** I read Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez because of John Cusack. It’s no secret that I have a weakness for the man. Between him and Gilbert Blythe, I’m likely to remain single for my entire life, because I’ll be searching for the combination of the two of them for eternity. I've started reading this book at least half a dozen times. This last time it was selected for the HBC ... Hersday Book Club. So I had to keep going this time.
Much like my quest for the perfect cross between John Cusack and Gilbert Blythe, Love in the Time of Cholera is a tale of unrequited love. Florentino Ariza falls madly in love with Fermina Daza as a teenager, and worships her mercilessly from afar. When Florentino finally gets the courage to contact her, she accepts his attentions, and they begin a letter-writing affair with one another. When Fermina’s father finds out about their correspondence, he sends her to go live with cousins, and Florentino is heartbroken. When Fermina returns, she rebuffs Florentino, chalks up her affection for Florentino to a childhood crush, and is soon married to Juvenal Urbino, a young doctor. Throughout the years, Juvenal and Fermina have their triumphs and their disappointments, and through it all Florentino watches and waits patiently for Juvenal’s death, so he can reclaim his one true love. The onset of the novel is Juvenal’s death, and then the chapters that follow detail the events leading up to the doctor’s death.
On to the scoring … a side note – the scoring this time is unapologetically FILLED with spoilers. Continue at your own risk.
** Florentino is creepy – maybe it’s because I am jaded, but he is obsessed and not in love – Minus 4
** Chapter length ... I’ve been over the importance of this factor many many times - - but they’re flat out ridiculous in this book. 350 pages and 6 or 7 chapters. UGH … cause it’s so terrible to have chapters in a book - Minus 3
** Beautiful narrative. The story flows nicely and you can feel the Caribbean town in the descriptions – Plus 4
** Juvenal seems to be a genuine person who loves his wife unconditionally. – Plus 3
** Juvenal has an affair, which makes him imperfect, and I appreciated that. Compared to Florentino’s constant reckless anonymous sex, I had a hard time not liking Juvenal – Plus 2
** I have no sympathy for Florentino living with unrequited love for decades. He’s sleazy. And reminds me of a stalker. – Minus 3
** Sara Noriega – one of Florentino’s lovers needs a pacifier in her mouth to have an orgasm. And she keeps them on the bed post - Plus 2 … cause a freaky kink is always appreciated
** “It is as if he were not a person but only a shadow.” – This are Fermina's thoughts on why she cannot love Florentino – Plus 3, I totally agree with this statement. He’s a shadow of a person, and I have a hard time having sympathy for him.
** I was so happy that Fermina originally rebuffs Florentino at the funeral. So inappropriate. I’m biased in this regard having had people offer to buy my grandmother’s house during her wake, something else so totally inappropriate. – Plus 5
** When Juvenal dies, Florentino is in his late 60s (roughly) and sleeping with a teenage girl … who he is guardian of in the eyes of the state. How am I supposed to like this guy? How am I supposed to feel bad for him that he’s been living with unrequited love for 50 years?? He just makes me feel ICKY! Add to the fact that she kills herself after Florentino leaves her for Fermina … he’s such an unlikable bastard! – Minus 10
** The first time that Florentino and Fermina are together, he’s got some ED action. It was great. It was justice. – Plus 3
** Fermina prepares a dish on the river boat called Eggplant al Amor. Loved it. I’m totally going to copy her the next time I make eggplant. – Plus 2
** Always referring to the characters by first and last name was kind of annoying. – Minus 2
Plus 2 – Overall, it was a good book. The narrative was beautiful, and the descriptions were phenomenal. But I had a really hard time reading the book simply because the Florentino was such a scumbag. If not for the HBC, I would have quit despite the lyrical beauty.(less)