It's probably been at least five years since I last read this book, so I decided to revisit (on kindle this time; I gave away my giant hardbacks). I fIt's probably been at least five years since I last read this book, so I decided to revisit (on kindle this time; I gave away my giant hardbacks). I feel a little envious of everyone who first read this as a preteen. It's just such a special series and I know I would have loved it when I was 10. But it was great at 16 and still magical at 32. I debated 5 stars, but this isn't my favorite of the series....more
I decided I needed to read this again before the movie comes out and this seemed to be perfect timing: close enough to its release that I will remembeI decided I needed to read this again before the movie comes out and this seemed to be perfect timing: close enough to its release that I will remember the general story; not close enough for me to remember specific details and nitpick.
There are two things that I think made a huge difference in my enjoyment of this book:
1) I first read it as a kid or teen (can't remember which, but it's been at least 10 years and probably more), so there's a bit of nostalgia involved. I'm not sure I would have liked this if I read it first as an adult. It's the kind of book that I think is perfect for reading with an older child. But then, what do I know? I brought my 10th graders the original "Parent Trap" as an after-TAKS treat and they acted like I was forcing them to watch Charlie Rose. It's possible they might have actually preferred Charlie Rose. It was clearly unreasonable to expect them to enjoy something created before they were born, especially since it was not the version with Lindsay Lohan. Obviously I have not let this go.
Anyway, there are some juvenile aspects (lots of talking animals) and the bad guys are scary in a sort of goofy way. I found the writing style similar to that in The Wizard of Oz. I hope they ramp up the evil for the movie. Speaking of which...
2) I loved the Lord of the Rings movies. Peter Jackson's middle earth is much more exciting and dark than anything I remember picking up on when I read the books. This is because he has a better imagination than I do and Howard Shore at his disposal. So when I read this book I was picturing the scenery from the movie. It helps that the new movie(s) has been cast and now I see Martin Freeman as Bilbo while I read. The fact that he is dressed as his character from Sherlock Holmes doesn't detract from the experience. Reading The Hobbit this time around was like having a little movie playing in my head while I speculated on what Peter Jackson and co. was going to do with the material. For instance, I hope to see Gandalf's meeting with the other wizards and how they destroy the Necromancer. Sounds like a big deal, but it got about 2 sentences in the book.
Overall, a solid 4 stars from me. It might have been a 5, but the story was a bit simplistic (it's not exactly an epic quest like destroying the one ring) and there were a few parts where I got a bit bored. ...more
I think I first read this book in high school. I've been meaning to reread it for ages, and have had it on my shelves for a long time, but I put it ofI think I first read this book in high school. I've been meaning to reread it for ages, and have had it on my shelves for a long time, but I put it off because I was really hoping they would release a kindle version. Apparently I have become one of Those People whose wrists are suddenly too weak to lift a paper book.
Anyway, I finally pulled it down and I loved it just as much as I remembered. I can't even put my finger on what I enjoy so much about this book. It's pretty depressing, but written in a way that's almost detached, so it's not a tear-jerker.
I'm not sure why this book affects me so much. I think I've read it three or four times now and each time I enjoy it just as much as the time before,I'm not sure why this book affects me so much. I think I've read it three or four times now and each time I enjoy it just as much as the time before, if not more. On the surface, I don't relate to any of the women in the book. I get along really well with my mother, my marriage isn't falling apart, and I'm not currently in any frenemy type relationships. Maybe it's just the contrast of the mother's stories and how they see themselves with the stories of the daughters and their view of their mothers. I suppose on some level most of us don't give too much thought to our mother's lives before we were born. I know lots of stories, but it's difficult to connect them with my mother as I know her today. ...more
I listened to the audio version of this book after reading this article by Steven King. Frank McCourt's reading of his book was wonderful and I thinkI listened to the audio version of this book after reading this article by Steven King. Frank McCourt's reading of his book was wonderful and I think I finished it over the course of two or three days. Later I picked up the print version and read a bit. I found it difficult to read, so I'm glad I started with the audio.
The story was really depressing and funny at the same time. Maybe some things were exaggerated, I don't know, but I really loved this book. ...more
Before the movie came out, we passed a copy of this around work since several employees were really enthusiastic about it. It was a little too graphicBefore the movie came out, we passed a copy of this around work since several employees were really enthusiastic about it. It was a little too graphic for me. I did a bit of skimming and flipping ahead. I thought the story was interesting and I did really enjoy the text bits between the illustrated parts, but the Cold War aspect felt a little dated (understandably--I don't blame the book). ...more
I just reread this after coming across the Puffin Classics version which had a cover I could not resist. The last time I read it I was probably 12 soI just reread this after coming across the Puffin Classics version which had a cover I could not resist. The last time I read it I was probably 12 so it was fun to rediscover this book.
The first part of the book was surprisingly gothic. Gothic-lite, I guess, for the younger crowd. There's a mysterious mansion with hundreds of shut-up rooms, strange cries in the night, a moody and reclusive hunchback pining his life away, and the wind is always "wuthering." It doesn't last, of course, since this is really a very sweet story, but it's fun.
One thing I do specifically remember from reading this book as a child is the constant reference to the moors. I've had kind of a romantic view of them ever since, though whenever I dream of putting on some boots and hiking around on them for hours my more practical side always whispers, "allergies." ...more
**spoiler alert** Lovely book. I enjoyed it thoroughly, though I have to say that I liked the first half more than the second.
Whether or not Sebastie**spoiler alert** Lovely book. I enjoyed it thoroughly, though I have to say that I liked the first half more than the second.
Whether or not Sebastien and Charles were lovers was left a little vague, though if this book is at least partly autobiographical, as I've read, they probably were. One review I read of the miniseries (I can't remember where) said that "Sebastien is gay and Charles is straight, but willing to bend." That's kind of how I felt about it. Other characters in the book are very obviously and openly gay, but there is not a big deal made of it, which I thought was interesting. Sebastien's family was very, very devoutly Catholic, but they never seemed to give Sebastien's homosexuality a second thought, while worrying about his drinking and making a huge fuss over Julia marrying a divorced man.
I felt a sort of disconnect between the two halves of the book that was slightly resolved for me when I watched the adaptation. Skipping so many years and Charles suddenly having a wife and children was a little bit disorienting. I would have liked at least a little more background. However, in my reading I didn't catch that Celia was Mulcaster's sister and just that tiny bit of information kind of filled in a bit of the story for me. I also felt like the vague references to Celia's prior adultery were just thrown in right before Charles embarked on his affair with Julia so that he would remain a sympathetic character. Unfortunately, I always sort of thought Charles was a bit of a jerk and when he picked staying with Julia over seeing his children (one of whom he had never even seen!) it just made me hate him more. The children had even made a welcome home banner!
I only found 3 characters to be very likeable: Sebastien (especially in the adaptation), Cordelia, and Rex. The scenes where Rex is attempting to convert to Catholicism are some of the funniest in the book. The scenes with Charles' father are also wonderful. Everyone else I just find irritating for one reason or another. They have every privilege, but they go around behaving horribly and making various excuses for it. Normally this makes books hard for me to read, but this one is so beautifully written that I didn't mind so much.
Some of the reviews I've read have called the ending a bit of a cop-out. Julia succumbs to Catholic guilt and chooses God over Charles. I suppose that if you didn't grow up very religious it would be a let-down, but I did understand that. The book makes me think about and appreciate my own religion in new ways.
After reading this book I watched the (11 hour!) miniseries with Jeremy Irons. It was extremely faithful to the book and there were a couple of things it made me think about that the book did not. One is just the sheer amount of drinking going on. Cocktails, cocktails all the time. More drinks after dinner for the men. Drop by to see someone for a few minutes? Have a drink! No wonder Sebastien succumbed to alcoholism.
Another subject was the extreme class differences. Charles had a manservant at his rooms at Oxford, where no one seemed in any real hurry to get an actual education. It was just something you did, I guess. The Flytes lived in an ENORMOUS "house" with a fleet of servants. When Lord Marchmain wanted the Queen's bed moved into the Chinese drawing room the "estate carpenters" were summoned. The amount of wealth is just mind-boggling. And no one ever does anything for themselves. If they want something they summon a servant to get it while they sit on the sofa doing nothing. The book is a portrait of time past and I'm so glad it's gone. ...more