Re-read this in februar/ march, 2013. Definitely better for me the second time around.
The beginning was slow and didn't really hold my interest, but ab...moreRe-read this in februar/ march, 2013. Definitely better for me the second time around.
The beginning was slow and didn't really hold my interest, but about halfway through it picked up and I started liking it more and more. This is around the same time when the plot falls more into place and it is revealed what Gatsbys agenda is.
The writing is amazing at points, decent at others, and ok for the most part. (less)
I see what this book is trying to do, and I very much consider the debate about and dynamics of civilization,humanity,fears, power, leadership, surviv...more I see what this book is trying to do, and I very much consider the debate about and dynamics of civilization,humanity,fears, power, leadership, survival and kinship important and interesting topics. That was why i had high expectations going into this book and why I was ultimately led down and didn't think this book fulfilled it's own potential.
The writing was often confusing, as to where things took place and who said what. It might've been a deliberate intent not to attach names to several statements but have them all jumbled like that to try to hint a the confusion and nameless statements surfacing in the group. For me that just didn't work and came off more as bad writing. I would have preferred another way to have confusion and group dynamics shown if that was the aim. I don't think lose sentences and dialogue is the way to do that, and I would have liked for a more careful selection of writing tools in that instance.
Also the descriptions, especially of nature and the island and of the hunting games and the assemblies and of the... There was too much of it, where nothing essential happened, and where I found myself wanting to skip forward. Again, often I think this served as an attempt of being metaphorical and to give the reader a 'sense' of the island, but if I'm bored enough that the result is I'm skipping ahead, then I might miss stuff thought to be important by the author, which again suggests to me the author should have probably been more careful both with the pacing and with his writing tools choices, like when and how much to use description, dialogue and action, as well as when to be indirect and when to be more direct, and generally how to build the story.
Instead of spending the first 2/3's of the book on kids quarreling, hunting, bathing and walking around an island I'd much rather the author had spent more time on a few selected characters and the premise of the story. Why were the kids there again? So there was an airplane accident(loosely hinted at)? But where we're they going, what was their relationship to each other, how did these few manage to survive? And what did they go through, emotionally and physically (how come none of these were badly hurt after the accident??) being stranded in the middle of nowhere without any relatives, maybe never to be found? The kids seem strangely indifferent to the whole situation, easily shrugging off having lost the connection to the surrounding world and plans of rescue (except Ralph and piggy of course). That seems very unlikely to me. Unless they all led terribly scary and horrible lives before and that doesn't seems likely either, does it? The reason the story doesn't go deeper into the background and the premise is because it is more concerned with where the story is going. But that to me was the first writing mistake of the book, because that means I just don't believe it very much, and isn't as invested in the characters, because they don't see very real. And so I am not as saddened by their deaths because these are the deaths of characters, not of people. What I wold also have liked to see more of, when the book does indeed pick up speed and it comes to a battle between opposing wills and lifestyles, is Jacks (the antagonist) reasoning and psychological journey. What makes him so barbaric? Why is he not more interested in being rescued? What crushed his empathy ? What kind of person is and was he and what kind of life did he lead? So he's the bad guy, he's rough, barbaric, egocentric, power loving and ruthless, I get it. But how did he become that way? How does he feel about his acts and how does he justify them to himself? And what goes on in the minds and hearts of the followers? They are scared of him, yes, but with the brutal force he is showing why are more not trying to flee? Especially when there IS another leading figure to flee to? Now that's a story I'd like to read! (and thought I was going to, hence, the dissappointment).
The decent into cruelty, the hate between groups and the warlike nature to ensure survival is surely a very real thing that can be observed throughout the world and throughout human history. It is sadly not new, and we still have not found the means in ourselves to stop it from enfolding. Which is exactly why I'm much more interested in the dynamics and reasonings and psychological stirrings that created this than in just observing the madness, the cruelty, the downfall and the destruction unfold. I learned nothing new from Lord of the flies (even the title was a letdown) because all I have to do is turn on the tv or open a newspaper to see it. And the fates I will be seeing or reading about there will be real fates, real lives, real people.
Goulding didn't give me any of the missing pieces to the puzzle, or answer any of the questions I have about humanity's inability (so far. Consider me an optimist) to live peacefully, side by side, with respect and room for all. And that is ultimately the answer I am looking for, when I go searching in the dark, sharp corners of the human soul, in books as well as in life. But rest assured, I will continue my searching, elsewhere.(less)
Never have I been so torn on how to rate a book. I have difficulties even shelving it!
After finishing it I’ve been debating whether or not to land o...moreNever have I been so torn on how to rate a book. I have difficulties even shelving it!
After finishing it I’ve been debating whether or not to land on a 2 or a 3, going back and forth, back and forth. Writing this review I am still undecided!
While reading it there were 1 star parts to me, where I was just getting annoyed and super bored with the whole thing, 2 star parts were I wasn’t really interested but not entirely put off either, 3 star parts where I was actually enjoying myself and a few 4 star parts where I thought ‘yes, that is how it’s done! Now we’re getting somewhere –and OMG it’s so late I should totally go to sleep! … Right when I’ve finished this chapter…. ;)’
So you see my dilemma?
In the end I decided to go with a 2, by reason that out of all the pages, I’m pretty sure the bigger half consisted of 1 or 2 star parts, deserving the lower rating. And even if there were some really good scenes that really drew me in, I still hadn’t forgotten about the looong, boring, uninteresting way to get there, that just felt like such a waste of time and pages.
With the final rating off the table, let me (try to) tell you more of what went in what box or rating category and why.
The bad, the boring and a whole lot of fluffyness : These parts majorly belonged in the first half of the book, when they were children/young women, but a few 2 star moments crept in at the latter half of the book too. It was just all so cute, and proper and happy, and fluffy, and preaching, and goodheartedly wonderful even in the face of ‘trouble’, which was always either small trivial matters or the war, which was also glossed over by goodnaturedness, lectures, trivialities and play. Even when one of the girls fall ill, and everybody (except me, the reader) fears the big bad Death, it never really comes a-knocking, and instead father and mother returns and all is well again in the little house! O bliss o joy! Maybe it’s because I didn’t read this when I was a girl, and so would have enjoyed the protected bubble of innocence more, but knowing the girl I was (and the woman I turned out to be), I have always been excited for the trials and hardships people endure, that disrupts paradise, which they must overcome and learn from, before they come out changed, as people worthy of receiving their fairytale ending. Those are the elements that in my opinion and knowledge moves a good story forward, that connects characters with their audiences and draws them in, forgetting their own world for a moment. And the first part of this book really had none of that to me. At it’s best it had me not falling asleep.
The ‘okay’ parts were the characters. I liked them. How could I not? They sure were such amiable people! And the descriptions of them and their different traits and passions were well-done, but also, in my opinion, overdone. All the little scenes and descriptions just sort of fell flat for me, when the story seemed to be going nowhere, and I didn’t really care much for any of the characters yet. Because as nice as they might be, the angelic nature of them all, also made them seem a touch unreal. I know this was written at a different time and a different context (as little chapters in a paper) for a different audience, but either way, that doesn’t really change the fact that it needed some essential ingredients for me to care and like a book. And it just dragged on and on and on, until I was honestly at the point of giving up. Something I rarely ever do, but was seriously considering, because I felt like I was just wasting time. Since this book didn’t excite me, teach me, move me, entertain me or even provoke me! But somehow, in between commercial breaks, in want of better books, I managed to get past all that and then, finally, things started happening!
The good, the great and the growth of characters: In this latter part of the book things started changing up a bit and the book actually managed to deliver both 3 and 4 star moments for me. After the beginning of this book, imagine my surprise! Suddenly romantic ideas was blossoming for our characters, which I have a soft spot for, but it also changed the dynamic between the characters. An honest proposal from a young, passionate loyal heart in love was rejected; the brokenhearted going abroad to mend, or dull?, the pain, ending up meeting another sister and forming a new friendship and igniting a different kind of love. Another sister went away and fell unexpectedly, unknowingly, slowly in love, with someone, only to part and not realize this love for several years after. A death happened. Beautiful and sad, leaving everyone affected and a little changed, but still living on in spirit. Feelings were bared, hurt and hearts and minds were changed by life and experience, and not so much by moral lectures or set-ups. No these issues were handled so well and beautifully and with such care and depth that I found myself surprised they were written by the same author, in only a year apart. And even if I knew these things were coming I had expected them to happen in the same dull, bland, cliché way everything else had happened, with no sense of real emotion, but quickly glossed over to get to the ‘happy’ or ‘moral’ part. And then they didn’t. In the end Louisa May Alcott decided to be brave and throw some difficulties at her characters and have them figure it out anyway, in a more realistic less fluffily merrily way. And Thank God for that.
I was given what I had been hoping for, asking for, in the same book I had been ready to cast aside, but as pleased as I was, in the end it was just a little too little and a little too late, to move it anywhere, ratingwise. Instead it earned itself a place on my bookshelf instead of being tossed out or sent away. That counts for something, right? (less)
I must admit, I haven't actually 'read' this book, since I couldnt get past the first couple of pages. So i quit, which is something I rarely ever do....moreI must admit, I haven't actually 'read' this book, since I couldnt get past the first couple of pages. So i quit, which is something I rarely ever do. But by then I was already put off by the whole thing, the language, the story, and found that the chance that this book would grow on me was slim. I might have been wrong, and I might get back to reading it one day, probably not though.(less)