Bluest Eye was the second in a series of three books I recently read about the experience of being black in America - the other two being Claudia RankBluest Eye was the second in a series of three books I recently read about the experience of being black in America - the other two being Claudia Rankine's Citizen, and Ta-Naheisi Coates' Between the World and Me (review tk). Each one was brutal and heart-breaking and incredibly moving, and all three work very well individually, but also compliment each other nicely.
The Bluest Eye is the oldest work of the three, and the only work of fiction, but felt every bit as modern, as raw, and as real as the other two. It also has the largest scope in that it looks at a community, at family, centered around Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl who wants nothing more than to have blue eyes and blonde hair so she can be seen as pretty in a society that continually puts forth a white, blue eyed and blonde hair image of beauty (particularly in dolls, a potent message to young girls). The novel tracks the way that systemic injustices infect a series of lives by just infecting one - someone who is hurt and humiliated by white men turns into a person who hurts and humiliates others, who then bear that hurt and humiliation, etc.
Again, it's not really for me to speak to the content, beyond to express dismay at the brutality so inherent in Amercia's history (as well as its present), and the way these prejudices have perpetuated in so many different forms. Morrison's prose left me awe-struck. This was the first of her works that I've read, but I'm sure to seek out more again soon....more
I read Citizen in one sitting on a Sunday morning, alternating between having to put it down out of sheer disgust, taking a few sips of coffee, and thI read Citizen in one sitting on a Sunday morning, alternating between having to put it down out of sheer disgust, taking a few sips of coffee, and then having to pick it back up because it was so good, so intense, and I couldn't stop reading.
Rankine hooks you, and we as readers are tossed about, sucker punched, left with our chins hanging open. It's not really for me to speak to the experiences within, the repeated humiliations in forms large and small, from the subtle to the direct, stemming from Rankine's experiences as a black woman in America (as well as the experiences of others placed in hostile situations stemming from racism) -- but it's all brutal, all heart-breaking.
The essay about Serena Williams that anchors the middle is a part that I return to again and again, particularly as a sports fan. I referred a lot of football fans to this book after so many people were (rightfully) disgusted with the press' treatment of Cam Newton in the most recent football season.
I first read this in college, and I don't totally remember what I felt or thought about it then, but my old review is here (feeling too lazy to combinI first read this in college, and I don't totally remember what I felt or thought about it then, but my old review is here (feeling too lazy to combine them right now).
What I struggled over with The Stranger - both while reading it, and even still in the aftermath - is that most of my thoughts and feelings about a book tend to be somewhat reactionary: this book made me happy, or sad, or angry, or all three - it made me think, or it didn't make me think, etc. Because Meursault's life is so based on what feels like instinct essentially, there's not a lot of feeling or thinking that goes on beyond the most base of thoughts and desires - he's hungry, he's hot, he's horny, he's tired, he's whatever. If the need or thought doesn't involve a basic life requirement, or if it can't be filled easily in the moment without trying very hard, that need or thought is dismissed or cast aside, it doesn't matter. Since Meursault himself is in the business of casting aside most thought and emotion, for me as a reader it was a completely unemotional experience, and the thinking that resulted was mostly trying to sort through confusion and trying to rationalize my way into understanding. Basically, I don't know what I think or feel about The Stranger because Meursault doesn't do a lot of complex (or very interesting, to be honest) thinking or feeling.
The death(s) at the heart of Meursault's story lack passion and feeling, something that death tends to incite. His mother's passing doesn't seem to affect him (view spoiler)[ nor does, you know, killing someone -- generally very much a crime of passion, at least in the non-wartime sense. (hide spoiler)] It's hard to understand the "why?" at the heart of Meursault's actions because there very seldom is one. His lack of agency is hard to relate to, particularly in our hyper-ambitious modern work culture.
Meursault's decisions tend to be pretty selfish, though perhaps unintentionally. It reminded me of Ayn Rand/objectivism in that they seem to be such polar opposites as to bend back towards each other. Where Meursault doesn't give any credit or importance to his thoughts or feelings, he also acts very selfishly because his only interest is fulfilling whatever his basic desires are in that moment or time. Granted, they may not be particularly ambitious. However, he's clearly not considering the impact of his actions on others to any extreme degree -- he's fine to do things that make other people happy because he doesn't see why not, but he mostly only seems to do these things because they don't bother or inconvenience him, not because he wishes the happiness of others, per se (because he doesn't think that something like happiness really matters). With objectivism, a person's thoughts and feelings are everything, and thus they act on them and give them full importance -- which, naturally, can also result in fairly selfish behavior. But, at the same time, while neither means of living might involve going out of one's way to help or be kind to others, neither are they intentionally malicious (but incidentally so, it seems). So though the means and reasoning are practically opposites, they seem to have similar results.
We read this for book club, and the men in the group seemed to respond to it a little more positively than the women did, and I wonder if that's because stereotypes of men involve them being somewhat emotionally neutered, whereas women are expected to be emotional.
Ultimately, I appreciated the experience of reading The Stranger as something that is ultimately so different from my own experience of life -- but at least for the time being, I'm always going to prefer books that move me emotionally, and that's just not the point here (I think?).["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I was nervous about picking this up after my experience with Frankenstein, but thankfully ended up really enjoying this - found it to be a much more eI was nervous about picking this up after my experience with Frankenstein, but thankfully ended up really enjoying this - found it to be a much more engrossing story, and I took better to the writing style. It didn't delve into the duality of Dr. Jekyll's nature quite as much as I had hoped, and when it did, it was towards the end and none too subtle, but was still my favorite part of the story. My only complaint is actually that it was so short, because I think I would've been eager to read double the length that this had, but it managed to do a lot in its few pages. Definitely recommend for anyone looking to explore horror/thriller classics....more
I didn't read a lot of YA books as a young adult, at least not that I remember. I spent a lot of my childhood wanting to rush into adulthood, and therI didn't read a lot of YA books as a young adult, at least not that I remember. I spent a lot of my childhood wanting to rush into adulthood, and therefore tended to shun anything that felt like it was targeted to children or any age group that lacked life experiences that I felt I had. I read a few adolescent staples in my teens - Perks of Being a Wallflower and other MTV books and the like - but in my spare time, I read a lot of Agatha Christie, and a random assortment of books marketed towards adults (including a romance novel phase - not the bodice-rippers and beef-cake covered ones, though), or books that, frankly, looked like they might have some sex in them (yes, I was both bookish and pervy and wanted to combine those things). I basically missed out on the entire Harry Potter series because the first book came out when I was in 9th grade and I immediately dismissed it as kids stuff. Like I said, I was pretty eager to be an adult. (I do actually want to read them, eventually.)
However, I do know that I read A Wrinkle in Time and probably a few of the sequels. I don't think I got to all of them, but I do distinctly remember at least owning A Swiftly Tilting Planet so I must've gotten at least that far? I remembered loving these books, but in truth I remembered very little about the content - which I don't think is any fault of the books themselves so much as I don't remember details about much of anything that I read before about 8th or 9th grade (save Agatha Christie) due to the aforementioned cleansing of my psyche of all things childlike. Because it's one of the few books I do remember from my youth, I've been wanting to reread it for years. I kept forgetting to look for my copies when I went home for the holidays, and finally decided to just go ahead and grab A Wrinkle in Time at a local used bookstore's going out of business sale, and suggested it for November's book club book.
It's always a bit worrisome when revisiting things from childhood because what if they don't hold up? I suppose the upside of not remembering a ton is that it sets the bar of success pretty low. Still, even in my now 31-years of age, I can see everything about this book that young me probably loved about it.
Firstly, our would-be heroine, Meg, is a tomboy who feels like an outcast at school, and who feels very smart in some subjects (namely math), and very stupid in others. My good subject would've been english/writing and my bad subject would've been math, but still - Check.
She, her brother, Charles Wallace, and Calvin, a popular but weird enough to be cool boy from her high school, are taken on a trip through time and space by a trio of indescribable entities named Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit, to look for Meg's missing father. Absent father? Check.
Because I haven't read a lot of YA that I remember, I don't have a ton to compare this to, aside from The Hunger Games series, which I read and enjoyed a lot more than I had expected to. Much like that series does, Wrinkle in Time examines some fairly complex themes, and doesn't do too much talking down to the reader. It does attempt to simplify complex ideas like space and time, but honestly, even as an adult I appreciated the simplification. Some of the ideas and concepts explored here beyond time travel include conformity, making sacrifices for safety (or sacrificing safety for something else), dealing with your parents' flaws. I was particularly impressed that L'Engle had a moment where Meg is disappointed in her father. Somewhere around the teen years was, for me, when I started to have the curtain pulled back on my family members a bit, and it's a weird thing that feels very difficult at first (though later you realize how liberating it is for everyone). Still, this is such an important concept, and I think a lot of material for kids/young adults (Disney movies in particular) achieve pseudo-independence for children by just having the parents die (which was super traumatizing for a kid with a dead parent, thanks guys). I love that L'Engle didn't do that.
There were really only two times that I found myself thinking "Oh right, this is young adult lit":
(view spoiler)[ - Meg and Calvin's early interactions where he's talking about how pretty her eyes are and it's like he's suddenly noticing her and likes her immediately. Granted, it's been awhile since I was that age, and I did go to a particularly repressed private school, but interactions with my crushes didn't play out this way at allllll. (hide spoiler)]
Don't get me wrong, I loved the themes of the end and I think it's a great message - it just all felt a bit unearned and a little too easy after a book that really impressed me with its complexity in terms of being a book for a younger audience.
Overall, I'm so glad to have reread this, and I'd like to get back to some of the other books in the series, too.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
You can go right ahead and process my membership for the Shirley Jackson fanclub, 'cause I am so fully onboard! Honestly, I was ready to make this proYou can go right ahead and process my membership for the Shirley Jackson fanclub, 'cause I am so fully onboard! Honestly, I was ready to make this proclamation after Haunting of Hill House, but We Have Always Lived in the Castle well and truly sealed the deal.
Castle is the story of the Blackwood family - or rather, what's left of them. See, they were poised by arsenic in the sugar bowl at dinner, with only the two daughters and their uncle left in the wake of this tragedy. One of the daughters, Constance, was accused of the crime but never charged, the other, Mary-Katherine (also known as Merricat), waited out her days in foster care until Constance's release. Now, they're restored to their family's estate, taking care of Uncle Julian, who's slowly suffering the altered mental capacity of arsenic poisoning (just not enough to prove fatal). The townsfolk hate them for any number of reasons, the biggest of which are their wealth and what appears to be their getting away with murder.
There are so many things I want to comment on here that I feel like I should probably throw behind a spoiler tag for safety:
(view spoiler)[ - One of my favorite interpretations of the book is the idea that Merricat and and Cousin Charles are fighting over Constance, Merricat trying to keep her in her fantasy world, and Cousin Charles trying to pull her into reality. - My book club was really divided on Merricat in terms of liking her or not. Personally, I found myself totally endeared to her and sucked into her world, so much so that the unsurprising realization that she was the one that had killed their family almost did nothing to my esteem of her character, and I still found myself wanting to like her. - We also spent a lot of time talking about the ending, both how the sisters logistically continued to live in their half burned house, and why the townsfolk bothered to bring them food. It's definitely a sad ending for them, and yet they both seem so deliriously happy -- which ties really nicely into the battle over Constance -- Merricat is happy because she "won." I'm also not surprised by Merricat being not too worried about the house being enveloped by ivy and nature considering her hidden cave she would run away to, but it does seem a little less in character for Constance, who I wonder if she is just so accepting and adaptable at this point as to be beyond worry. - Someone also put forward the idea that Jonas the cat was just an imaginary friend and not an actual living cat. I really like the idea of Jonas being real, so I'm just going to cling to that. (hide spoiler)]
There are a lot of similarities between this and Hill House, both in content and in style. There's the big creepy gothic house, strong women characters, unreliable narrators, questionable mental states. In both this and Hill House, what Jackson manages to do so deftly is build a slowly mounting terror, one that kind of sneaks up on you. There's a certain amount of inherent creepiness in both -- the implied haunting of Hill House, the family tragedy of Castle -- but nothing that would make your skin crawl right off the bat, just enough to prepare you that there's further upset to come. The fear of Jackson's novels isn't the kind that will give you nightmares, it's the kind that sort of sinks into your brain and lingers there at the back of your mind, stewing and creating a general sense of uneasiness that you can't quite pinpoint. With both books, I liked them more and more in the days after finishing them, when I couldn't quite get my mind to leave their world.
Definitely one I want to reread and come back to again at some point, and also one that started out at a 4 star after I initially finished but I'm definitely bumping up to 5 stars.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I feel like a bit of a punk giving Tennessee Williams three stars, but this didn't completely land with me. It was obviously well-written, and the chaI feel like a bit of a punk giving Tennessee Williams three stars, but this didn't completely land with me. It was obviously well-written, and the characters were solid, but I don't think it has much staying power. I kept asking myself, "What's the point?" and couldn't really think of one - and that's fine, but it seemed to be striving for one and not quite making it there.
The story of an assortment of people who find themselves essentially stuck at a not exactly glamorous hotel in Mexico, the titular iguana is captured by the staff of young Mexican boys there who then plan to feed it and then eat it. It becomes a clear stand-in metaphor for the people who are "at the end of their rope" and feeling stuck there: Maxine, who runs the place and finds herself sexually and emotionally lonely in the aftermath of the death of her husband; Father Shannon, a defrocked minister with an appetite for emotional break-downs, booze, and young women; Nonno, at 97 the oldest living poet with a fading mind who's struggling to write his last great poem before he dies; his grand-daughter, Hannah, a water-colorist who's taking care of Nonno while they travel the world with nary a bill left in their pockets. The story covers the course of one day and night centering on these four, with a few supporting characters for color. Nonno is a hair less central than the other three, but I include him here because it's a different story without him, since Hannah's life course and identity seem so tied into his.
The supporting cast - the tour group left to the mercies of their tour guide, Father Shannon, the Nazis honeymooning at the hotel - felt mostly purposeless, particularly the Nazis. Perhaps they were supposed to help set the era of the play, but aside from giving some context of when the story is happening (which doesn't feel central to it, actually), they seemed to mostly serve as a distraction. The tour group served a purpose, but felt more involved than it needed to be. The story could've entirely focused on the above four and I think I would've felt just as satisfied.
Maxine, Shannon, Nonno, and Hannah are all wonderful characters - flawed and longing for something that feels out of reach. (First rule of all my creating writing classes - make your characters want something, even if it's just a glass of water!" Seriously though, I think I heard a teacher/professor say that in every writing class I ever had.) Someone on GR mentioned in their review that Hannah feels more "written" while Maxine and Shannon seem more realistic, and there's credence to that. She's the most eloquent character, but in part because of that, one of the more difficult to accept. (view spoiler)[My book club also didn't buy the idea of a 40-something year-old virgin. Granted, travelling with grandpa is quite the cock-block, but I was thinking the ol' gal would've at least had a one-night stand at some point. (hide spoiler)]
There was resolution in the end, but it wasn't satisfying, and I'm wondering if it's because it seemed too easy? To have all this drama arise and then find resolution in the course of a night maybe feels to quick. (view spoiler)[ I never once thought that Hannah and Shannon might end up together, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to. For him to suddenly feel ready to change because of their meeting and conversing seems a bit far-fetched, too. Lastly, the timing of Nonno's passing was just a bit precious. Like, oh, of course he dies here, after writing his last poem. (hide spoiler)]
There were some really lovely turns of phrase, and I enjoyed the overall experience, but it didn't hold much emotional or mental weight with me, which is something I look for and treasure in a good read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Post Office, Bukowski's semi-autobiographical novel about working in the Postal Service, is his first novel - and it some ways, it feels like it. ThePost Office, Bukowski's semi-autobiographical novel about working in the Postal Service, is his first novel - and it some ways, it feels like it. The prose is lovely though not quite as polished in his later works, and if you've read some of his other works, there are a few things that felt like trademarks that are missing here.
For starters, he doesn't really talk about his writing yet, which feels odd as writing about writing is one of my favorite things Bukowski does well. There's also some of the slumming around with booze and women that Bukowski's reputation has come to be known for in the more basic circles, but not quite to the extent that it would hit at later times.
Much like in Factotum, a novel I appreciate more and more over time, Bukowski's distaste for labor but willingness to do it are often pitted against each other. Chinaski - our Bukowski stand-in - spends years with the Postal Service, doing laborious and mind-numbing tasks, from walking one of the longest routes in a torrential downpour, to sorting hundreds of letters for some kind of sorting exam. But he hits his breaking points, too - leaving a water-logged truck on the street during a flash flood, putting his hat where he's not supposed to put his hat, because what the hell kind of office has a rule about where you can put your hat? He isn't afraid to walk away, and that's ultimately what gives him power, and makes him so different in comparison to today's workforce, where the idea that you might lose your job is one of the more devastating thoughts that probably most anyone in our work-hungry society could bear. Work, jobs, careers are exalted as one of the most important components of "the American Dream," but Bukowski doesn't hold this true. He stands up to supervisors, quits over ridiculous workplace rules, makes the job bend to his will as much as he possibly can, where most are happy or even proud to tow the company line.
For these reasons, it could make for a great starting place for people who haven't read Bukowski and might be a put off from the reputation and bad imitations he's inspired. Bukowski has a cult-like following, and more than anything I think that'd make Bukowski both flattered and uncomfortable. One of my favorite staples of his later work is when he writes about all the people who call him to tell him they can't believe his phone number isn't unlisted. He's just a man, just a writer. But he's a damn good one, at that....more
How long it took me to get through this is definitely more reflective of how busy I was during the summer, and not at all on the quality of the book.
BHow long it took me to get through this is definitely more reflective of how busy I was during the summer, and not at all on the quality of the book.
Because I went into this after the hype died down (very purposefully), I truly went into it with very little expectation, but hoping that it might sort of give me the kick in the butt that I've felt I've needed lately. I spent a significant chunk of my life thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do for a career, but after that path essentially crashed and burned, for a wealth of reasons, I've struggled to get my mind around what else it is I might want. I enjoy what I do, but I have no idea where to take it, and I am absolutely my worst critic when it comes to my own desires and ambitions. (I also went through a long string of awful jobs, and that didn't help, as one might expect.)
Sandberg doesn't exactly provide solutions for the multi-faceted pressures that women face in and out of the office with regards to their careers, but she does provide mindfulness. Part of the reason there aren't solutions is because there really is no easy solution. So much of the challenges women face in the workplace are deeply socially ingrained, which isn't to say that can't be changed, they absolutely should be. Just that it's a little unfair to criticize the lack of easy solutions here when there are none.
Sandberg is quick to acknowledge that the things she talks about in Lean In are simply things that have worked for her, and feedback she's received. There was plenty I took away from it that I've kept in my mind after reading it, in terms of tips that I am bringing into my own career, and my life at home. But above all, I found Lean In incredibly reassuring. Probably more women feel the exact same things about their jobs and careers than most of us might realize as we're stuck in our own self-created world of self-doubt.
Definitely a worthwhile read if you are in need of a little inspiration if your current job or career-path, and I could see it being something I pick up again a few more years down the line....more
I wrote a review of a great annotated edition, but since people might not think to grab/search for it, thought I'd copy it over here. Couldn't recommeI wrote a review of a great annotated edition, but since people might not think to grab/search for it, thought I'd copy it over here. Couldn't recommend it more highly. See here....more
The first I've read of Bryson's books, and it feels like a decent place to start, since I've hiked portions of the Long Trail in Vermont, work in HanoThe first I've read of Bryson's books, and it feels like a decent place to start, since I've hiked portions of the Long Trail in Vermont, work in Hanover (where he lived during the time he was doing much of the hiking for A Walk in the Woods), and have hiked some of the same trails he did for this book (like Mt. Washington, which I hiked this summer!)
A Walk in the Woods focuses, mainly, on Bryson's decision to hike the Appalachian Trail, and his friend, Stephen Katz, who decides to join him. Much like with Wild I couldn't help but laugh at how little physical preparation and how very much gear they start off bringing. People! Thru-hiking is not a decision to be made lightly! But in both instances it sure made for a good story, or at least a good beginning to one.
The problem with writing about thru-hiking is that, generally, it's a repetitive notion and very little actually happens. You will run into some real characters along the trail, probably have trouble finding water at some point, get really truly tired of trail food, run into some inclement weather that will make the journey really miserable, be scared about if that's a bear outside, what is that noise, are these strangers sharing this shelter going to murder us in our sleep, etc. These are just the common events that will bond you to other hikers and that you're likely to recognize in any hiking recollection, which can make reading them both particularly funny but also a little less special if you've done this kind of thing yourself and have similar anecdotes to share.
Far and away the most amusing part of A Walk in the Woods is Katz, which puts a bit of a damper on the parts of the book where he doesn't appear. Bryson also does quite a bit of research on things like climate change, and the history of the trail as a whole, as well as certain sections of it, and as is to be expected, some of these parts of his non-personal narrative are really fascinating, where other parts are more boring.
If you've ever thought about thru-hiking yourself or if you think it sounds interesting, but like something you'd never be able to do, you should definitely consider picking up both this and Wild. ...more
Reading Valley of the Dolls is akin to eating a pint of your favorite ice cream, in that it's wonderful and delicious down to the last bit, but it canReading Valley of the Dolls is akin to eating a pint of your favorite ice cream, in that it's wonderful and delicious down to the last bit, but it can come with a bit of a hangover if you start to think about what you just did.
This is the story of Anne, Neely, and Jennifer, and their struggles to survive as women - women who want love, careers, a comfortable standard of living, etc., mostly in New York, but also in LA, and primarily in the stage and film businesses. It's gossipy, brutal, and funny all at once, and an absolute perfect beach-read page-turner.
Where the hangover comes in is when you start to analyze the message, the themes. When you start to think of how cruel the world can be to women, how men use women, how women use each other. Your feelings about it might also depend on where you stand and how you feel about the idea of "having it all." Valley of the Dolls seems to argue that you very much can't - you can't have a great marriage, a great job, and be a great mother - at times you might be lucky to have even one of those things. And the relationship with feminism is weird, too - is it making the argument that the freedom of sexual liberation and workplace opportunities has back-fired on women? It feels like it might be, but I couldn't tell you, and I honestly don't want to dwell on it too much.
So no, I wouldn't recommend analyzing Valley of the Dolls in any way, honestly. It's just not that kind of read. This is what you pick up when you're in the mood for something deliciously campy, a page-turning drama, and I mean that in the best of ways. The world needs those books too, or at least I know I do.
Edit, Oct. 2015: I finally saw the movie, and it's nottttttt great, but worth a watch if you like bad-cheesy dramas. Didn't quite have the emotional heft that the book managed to, but it was an amusing way to spend a sick day. The one thing I'll give it over the novel is that I did like the ending more....more
I read The Importance of Being Earnest twice in school -- once in high school, once in college -- and I've seen not only the 1952 film, and the newerI read The Importance of Being Earnest twice in school -- once in high school, once in college -- and I've seen not only the 1952 film, and the newer film, but also several stage adaptations. This isn't to say I consider myself some kind of expert, just that when my book club voted this in for June's book, I considered not reading it again. What else could I possibly gain from it that those iterations hadn't imparted?
Well, as it turns out, the answer is quite a bit, thanks to the Dartmouth library possessing this great annotated version.
Thanks to the notes in here, I discovered that much of the deeply funny material was actually added in later, when Wilde was starving in Paris and revised this and An Ideal Husband in an attempt to make more money. He refused to write anything new, but made significant revisions to Earnest, which had already been a hit when it was performed a few years earlier. The footnotes mark which parts were added or revised, and it's a considerable amount.
The notes also include references to Wilde's personal life, which mention that Lady Bracknell was likely inspired by Wilde's mother, who was also a headstrong woman, and that the whole concept of bunburrying was no doubt inspired by Wilde's double-life as a gay man who has a wife and family. Additionally, Worthing, John's last name, is the seaside resort where Wilde vacationed with his family so he could write Earnest - and while there, he not only had multiple visits from his lover, Alfred Douglas, but also managed to carry out an affair with another young man. I mean, my heavens, the man was busy in more ways than one if you catch my drift.
And I'm not sure this needs a spoiler tag, but just in case you, dear reader, happen to be one of the few that haven't experienced this, I'll put it behind one -- (view spoiler)[
Lastly, another thing that stood out was the note that, in the original version of the play, when Algernon (as "Earnest") and Cecily meet, after sorting through their whole engagement business (such a good scene), they apparently run off and have sex! I don't know if the adaptations I read cut that out to make it more school appropriate, or the teachers I had simply didn't go there, or what. But it makes this scene even funnier in that while John arrives with "Earnest's" Ashes in tow -- not only is "Earnest" not dead, he's very much alive and banging John's ward. (hide spoiler)]
Some of this seems obvious in hindsight, and it's possible that we did get into some of it in school and I just wasn't paying attention, but I felt like we mostly focused on the hilarious, hilarious text. Which is quite understandable.
So, you see, not only was I wrong that I couldn't learn more about this, I was heartily wrong, and I thoroughly enjoyed my wrongness at that.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more