Misfit's Reviews > The African Queen

The African Queen by C.S. Forester
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's review
Jan 24, 11

bookshelves: get-it-from-the-library
Read in January, 2011

The basic set up:

Missionary Rose Sayer is left high and dry after the Germans kill the villagers and her brother Samuel. Cockney boat owner Charley Allnut lets her ride along with him on his creaky old boat and Rose gets the brilliant idea to use the explosives on the boat to torpedo the Königin Luise and convinces Allnut to go along with it. Why he goes along with this is any one's best guess (I was sure scratching my head over it). But to get to that point, they must travel the river, avoiding the Germans and their guns, shoot rapids that no one has ever shot before to reach the lake where they will find their target.

Shooting dangerous rapids in a creaky boat, being fired upon by evil German soldiers and risking all to strike a blow for freedom and Britain. Wow, that should be even better as a book, right? Not. Boring, boring, boring.

I just never bought into the relationship that develops between Rose and Charlie, nor could I fathom why he'd merrily follow along on her cockamamie plan to blow up the Germans. How a sheltered on-the-shelf missionary managed to learn how to hold the tiller and guide them through rapids like no one has done before them really stretched the credulity meter, but even worse is how it all ends once they reach the lake and the Königin Luise. I won't spoil, but if you're expecting a big bang like in the movie, think again - it's a snoozer, albeit a mercifully short one. This was so dull it almost put me to sleep on the treadmill, and I only finished as it was I needed an Africa book for a reading challenge. Not recommended.
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Reading Progress

01/19/2011 page 45
33.0% 2 comments
01/21/2011 page 99
32.0% "*Yawn*" 6 comments
01/23/2011 page 268
87.0% "Tomorrow's cardio should finish this off. Can't be soon enough."
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Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Bettie☯ One of those rare instances where the film far outstrips the book. Marvellous.

Misfit I will watch the film afterwards. I know I've seen it, but it has been so long ago.

message 3: by Jemidar (new)

Jemidar I enjoyed both, but agree that the movie is better. How could it not be with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in it?

Misfit My pal at Paperbackswap who is reading it is beginning to feel the same, she is NOT enjoying the book.

message 5: by Jemidar (new)

Jemidar I think C.S. Forrester might be an acquired taste. I did like it when I read it, but if you go in thinking it's going to be as light and fluffy as the movie you'll definitely be disappointed.

Misfit Thanks for that. I remember so little of the movie I might be ok.

message 7: by Jemidar (new)

Jemidar The book is sort of a cross between a boys own adventure story and a Victorian morality tale. You know, that Heart of Darkness type thing, where it's thought scandalous that people out in deepest Africa go native.

Misfit Eh, I was eyeing it for the Africa setting, as there's an around the world challenge at Paperbackswap. I think I'll stick with Plan A.

message 9: by Jemidar (new)

Jemidar Plan A? Which was?

Misfit Jemidar wrote: "Plan A? Which was?"

I have this that I won at GR and has been sorely neglected,

The Mistress of Abha by William Newton

message 11: by Jemidar (new)

Jemidar Yep, I would advise going with plan A.

Misfit Appreciate the advice.

Misfit Early days yet, but I think I'll be feeling the same as this reviewer (love it), http://www.amazon.com/African-Queen-C...

message 14: by Jemidar (new)

Jemidar I don't remember it being quite that bad, but it is a loooooong time since I read it.

They are right though, you WILL be disappointed if you expect it to be the same as the movie and the movie IS better, although how could it not be with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in it?!!

Misfit Every once in the blue moon the movie is better than the book. Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve was another one like that. Book was so dull and dreary.

message 16: by Jemidar (new)

Jemidar Loved that movie! Never read the book though.

Another one where the movie is better than the book that springs to mind is The Prestige with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. Loved it, but the book was a little ordinary.

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