Definitely a crazy ride. There are things that Esther did that I do, which made me seriously doubt my sanity - for only a few seconds, but STILL. I wa...moreDefinitely a crazy ride. There are things that Esther did that I do, which made me seriously doubt my sanity - for only a few seconds, but STILL. I was like, "Oh my gosh, I do that, I have that habit with my writing, sometimes I think that, OMG I'M GOING CRAZY!" And then I'd realize I'm not. It's amazing how words can challenge you and make you think so strongly about something. Esther's story is fascinating and beautifully written...and quite sad, too. But very very good.(less)
This was so great! I ended up listening to the BBC radio audiobook while I drove to and from work. DAVID TENNANT FOR THE WIN!! I was immediately sold....moreThis was so great! I ended up listening to the BBC radio audiobook while I drove to and from work. DAVID TENNANT FOR THE WIN!! I was immediately sold...the dramatized version made it come alive in a way that I wasn't quite grasping while reading it. I recommend this play if you want something hilarious and gripping. :) (Especially if you get the audiobook!)(less)
This is one of those books that you cry without even realizing it, and you think, "My God, this is so sad, why am I not crying?" And you look down and...moreThis is one of those books that you cry without even realizing it, and you think, "My God, this is so sad, why am I not crying?" And you look down and see tears dripping off your chin and then you can't stop crying for the rest of the story. Those are the best kinds of books.(less)
Pages: 410 Release Date: This edition - 2008; first edition - 1938 Date Read: 2011, October 14th - November 12th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommende...morePages: 410 Release Date: This edition - 2008; first edition - 1938 Date Read: 2011, October 14th - November 12th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 15+
SUMMARY - "Last Night I Dreamt I Went To Manderley Again."
So the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter remembered the chilling events that led her down the turning drive past their beaches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse on the windswept Cornish coast. With a husband she barely knew, the young bride arrived at this immense estate, only to be inexorably drawn into the life of the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful Rebecca, dead but never forgotten...her suite of rooms never touched, her clothes ready to be worn, her servant -- the sinister Mrs. Danvers -- still loyal. And as an eerie presentiment of evil tightened around her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter began her search for the real fate of Rebecca...for the secrets of Manderley. (From Goodreads)
MY THOUGHTS - Golly goodness I really really really love this book. It is one of the most unique, thought-out, and weirdly fascinating books I have ever read and probably will ever read. It was recommended to me by so many people and I found it for less than $2, almost brand new, at a 2nd hand store, and couldn't pass it up. I've found myself getting into the idea of Gothic novels and was quite interested...
By the end of this reading experience (for it is an experience), I had been shocked so many times it was almost impossible not to give it five stars on the spot. But not only did it shock me - it made me love it, incredibly so. I love this book; and for that, five stars in inevitable.
CHARACTER NOTES - The second Mrs. de Winter is quite extraordinary, for many reasons. One is her name in and of itself. I say this because she does not have one. As the story is told in first person, she does not introduce herself; her name is mentioned once as being hard to spell, that people usually get it wrong; and after she marries Max she is called by everyone she knows as "Mrs. de Winter". It was quite shocking for me to discover half-way through the book, that I had missed her first name, and I that I was such a terrible reader for missing such an important detail like that. I re-read parts of the beginning, asked around and discovered the truth: she has no first name because it is not important. What is important is that she is the second Mrs. de Winter. Besides that, she amazed me by totally getting on my nerves sometimes and still being a fantastic character who I could relate to and love. How did she annoy me? Her lack of ability to speak out sometimes drove me up the wall with thoughts of, "Goodness! Why won't she just say something?! After being so ill-treated!" But it was her character; she became like a friend; I could love her in spite of that fault (and whatever others to her name...or lack thereof). And in the end - well, she's quite the lioness at the end. I love books with changed heroes/heroines. :D
Besides Mrs. de Winter, the other characters are so perfectly drawn for the reader that it is hard to forget them. Frank (one of my top three favorites - he was soooo awesome), Maxim's sister, Max himself, Mrs. Danvers, and Favell especially, but there are others, and they, too, are profound.
And Rebecca, even being a mere ghost of a character, is still shockingly real. Everything about her made my skin crawl - and I didn't even know why. You won't know why either. There is no exact reason why I felt that way, and you will wonder... Oh, you will wonder.
STORY NOTES - This is such a unique story - and so weird. Everything happened in a way that made me weirded out with no real explanation whatsoever as to why. (See above comment on the character Rebecca.) And then - BOOM! There's an explosion, and you'll be holding on for dear life, because there's no possible way this could really be happening.
At least, that's how I felt. I was on an airplane when I read the climax - the EXPLOSION - and holy crud don't ever do that. Confined to a chair with quiet people all around me and flight attendants scanning the rows with narrowed eyes, searching for disturbance of any kind - yeah, don't ever try it. Best to wait until you've landed, read it when you get home, and whoop and holler and scream and stare in shocked silence as much as you want. All I could do was hyperventilate in a very quiet manner. Haha - just kidding! Sort of.
SUMMING IT UP - Shocking, to say the least. I did not expect it to be the way it was, with the writing style or the set-up or the conflict or the climax or the resolution. All of it was unexpected and perfect. Please, do yourself a favor and read this book, now. Unless you have the tendency to scream when shocked and are currently on an airplane. If this unfortunate combination applies to you, please wait until you have reached a safe environment before expression appropriate feelings of exuberance and/or show signs of sudden startled or disconcerted emotions.
FOR THE PARENTS - This is a classic, and should be treated as such (which means everyone should read it at least once). However, themes are slightly more mature, and I wouldn't recommend to anyone younger than 15. Some brief strong language and lots of...death. But I can't say anything else!! ;)(less)
"He was born with the gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad." It is with these words that Rafael Sabatini opens Scaramouche, and they are a fitting introduction. Andre-Louis Moreau has led an easy life, studying hard and becoming a lawyer, never becoming attached to anything or anyone indefinitely. Except for his best friend, Philippe, and his angel cousin, Aline. But when tragedy strikes, Andre is pushed to the edge. He becomes a public speaker for the third estate against the Privileged in France during the French Revolution. But this is only the beginning of his journey to gain revenge on the terrible, cold Marquis la Tour d'Azyr. He is swept away by politics, danger, theater, swordsmanship, and finally politics again - all in hopes of getting away with his life. But life is dangerous no matter where Andre-Louis wishes to go, and the threat of the Privileged is terrible. The Nobles, all of them, must be destroyed. And Andre must settle a score he swore he would settle - and at any cost.
My thoughts - Oh, sigh... How immensely I love this book. If I could have my way, I'd write out the whole entire book as my review, just because there is really no way to do it justice. However, I will try. I will try my hardest.
This is my third time to read Scaramouche. So, as you can imagine, I've spent a lot of time with this book. I've studied it, because it's so stinking good. I could write a whole book on this book, because it had such an intense impact on me. So much of an impact that not only have I read this book three times, but in a manner of only a year and a half. Yah, this is some intense stuff. I hardly re-read books in one year.
Basically, it's beautiful. It's emotional, tragic, powerful, dramatic, crafted like a masterpiece, and it holds some of the greatest characters and character changes that I've ever read. EVER. It's full of action, romance, betrayal, secrets, disaster, political intrigue, and (I repeat) emotion.
Character notes (favorite character) - I have a LOT to say about Andre. But let me say something quick about the others before I get into it. Every character in this story, from the beginning, has a character handle, or something you can identify him/her with. Andre, he is the actor. Philippe, he is passionate. D'Azyr, he is cold-hearted. Aline, she is an angel. They easily form to their characters and become exactly what they need to be for the story to take flight. This is an amazing thing to see as I sometimes feel like I lack character development in my own stories. Such an inspiration...like everything else about this book.
But now, on to Andre. Andre-Louis Moreau is complex. He is man, and therefore complex, as he would say. He has studied human nature for quite awhile - and yet he himself would be the most fitting example of a complex human being struggling to survive. This alone fascinates me. But let me take you a little deeper. He is an actor, always. He is Scaramouche, the aloof, witty character who wishes for none to see his true feelings. But inside, he feels. He feels deeply. There are few moments when he lets his guard down, very few, but when he does, you see the hopes, fears, and loves of a man who wants to be something more. He is also very wise and bold. In fact, his wisdom surprised me this time around. He may be jealous, act on his impulses, and manipulate his words to get his way - but there are times when he steps forward to do the right thing and he knows exactly how to make things right. Exactly how to remove himself from a bad situation.
He begins the story as a boy, searching for revenge. He is tested by love and betrayal and grows. And he comes out in the end as a man, one to be respected and trusted and truly loved. At the end of the book, I want to repeat the words of the butler Benoit, who says on page 257, "He is here....and so fine you would hardly know him. Here he is, monseigneur! Is he not beautiful?"
Favorite aspects/scenes (story notes) - My favorite scenes include chapter 6, called "Clemene"; Chapter 8, called "The Dream"; the chapter called "Madame de Plougastel", where Andre-Louis vividly remembers his childhood - it produces a lot of emotion in the reader; any of Andre's rousing speeches.
But these are just some of my favorite scenes. My all-time favorite resides in the chapter called "Spadassinicides", Chapter 7 of book 3. It is laugh-out-loud funny, with politics, wit, danger, fencing, and something of a mix between shock, reverence, and love for Andre and his genius.
Throughout the second book (the Buskin), Andre is confronted by a wall...that wall, being M. Binet, the theater troop's director. Andre has the brains, Binet has the power. Andre is witty, Binet is tyrannical. Who will gain the upper-hand? And what of Andre's love for Binet's daughter? This aspect of the story is a neat example of human nature and the lies we believe when we want something...
And of course, I love that Scaramouche is about the French Revolution. The facts, turned into a story, are interesting to read and really give you a hard-core example of what it was like during that bloody time in France. You see the revolution from both sides - the Nobles and the Peasants. Who is right, and who is wrong? It is a complicated war, but Sabatini lays it out so it is easy to understand.
One word to sum up this book (final thoughts) - Triumphant. When I finish this book (all three times) I want to throw my fists into the air, jump out of my seat and let out a shrill war cry of "TRIUMPH!!!" Because the book takes you on a journey, the journey of a destitute man looking for happiness amongst a bloody revolution. But more importantly, he goes through a Revolution of his own, one so profound and personal that you cannot help but feel the story for yourself. Almost every emotion known to mankind can be found in this book. As the reader, I feel these emotions along with each character - and very strongly, as though they were my own. Each time I read it, it shocks me and I fall in love all over again. And I know that soon, very soon, I will want to read it again. (less)