Wish I could give half stars. In the end, I would prefer 3.5 stars, but do not want to give 4.
I was conflicted about reading this. I know I have seen...moreWish I could give half stars. In the end, I would prefer 3.5 stars, but do not want to give 4.
I was conflicted about reading this. I know I have seen the Jeremy Irons movie version. But don't think I saw the James Mason/Shelly Winters one. And truthfully, a large part of me did not even want to read it.
I have 5 daughters. No, really. I have FIVE daughters! (Said in my best Tevya voice.) I really didn't think I would get past the first 2 dozen pages consequently. The person was trying to justify and rationalize pedophilia. Yeah, that's not going to happen.
Several years ago I decided to watch all 250 movies of IMDBs top 250. The list changes periodically, so I will never be done. And I give myself a few outs. I don't have to watch any Bergman or Fellini. (I mean, seriously!!) And if I give a movie a good and honest try and can't stand it, I don't have to finish it but can still mark it off my list.
So last year I decided to read more books on the 1001 books to read before you die list. I was pretty sure that Lolita would be one that I tried to read but quit.
However, I did finish it. Pretty shortly after the first 20 or 30 pages, Nabokov's writing style really grabbed me. And HH's sly and snarky and occasionally self deprecating sense of humor grabbed me. Don't get me wrong, I still hate the character with the passion of a thousand burning suns. (5 daughters, remember?) But I liked the style. And I am going to seek out more of ol' Vladimir's writing.
Referring back to the movie, at the time I walked away thinking that poor Humbert had been entrapped by Lolita. But reading the book, I see this totally is not the case. Yes, Dolly would have lasted about a week in my house with much of her behavior. But this was a completely messed up dude. And I don't think Nabokov was glorifying HH and his issues. It was an interesting read. Glad I stuck with it.(less)
I have lived nearly 30 years with a hatred for "The Great Gatsby" that is almost palpable. In recent years, I have started to feel a bit guilty about...moreI have lived nearly 30 years with a hatred for "The Great Gatsby" that is almost palpable. In recent years, I have started to feel a bit guilty about this. Every time someone has shared how much they loved this book, that it is an all time favorite of theirs, after the heebie jeebies die down, the guilt hits me.
I had to read Gatsby. It was assigned in an English class my freshman year in college in the fall of 1984. I despised this book with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.
But I couldn't tell you why.
I didn't always understand it, mainly because the professor had these elements of themes and objects that clearly represented one thing or another. I felt like this was some weird dream analysis--this object always represents this this one thing and only that one thing. I ended up feeling like I didn't have the magic manual that I could look up "green light on dock" and see that clearly was representational of some psychological thingamajigger. Because clearly a cigar is never just a cigar.
I felt at the time there was this higher intellect that I did not possess that kept me from fully understanding and appreciating this book.
Wow. Writing the above down really brings home why I felt such vitriol. The Great Gatsby was like this secret club and I didn't know the secret handshake. I felt stupid and lacking.
But with all the broohaha about the up coming movie, I thought maybe I should re-visit this book and see if I appreciate it more nearly 3 decades later.
Well, I don't.
I did find I appreciated Fitzgerald's prose. There were times when I really appreciated the cadence.
But I still don't like any of the characters and I can't get past that. I think it is possible to get past that. For instance, reading Gillian Flynn this year it was been simmering on the back burner that I really didn't like any of the characters but I still really cared about how it turned out.
I don't know that I ended up caring at all in this book. And it was heavy and depressing. I couldn't wait for it to end, not so I would be reminded of what happened, but so I could move on to a better book.
I am moving my star rating from one star to two. I did appreciate the writing. But not the story. It was kind of like going out to a restaurant and saying, "Wow! This chef clearly has great knife skills. Too bad the food tastes like crap." I guess this just isn't my cup of tea. I own that.(less)