Alex's Reviews > Pamela. Or, Virtue Rewarded

Pamela. Or, Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson
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's review
Jun 22, 11

bookshelves: 2011, favorite-reviews, reading-through-history, unreliable-narrators
Read from January 22 to 25, 2011

When I read classics, it's not all about just reading them. I'm also really trying to discover what's made them classics. I want to know why people like them so much. And I can usually figure something out; that's why I end up with so many five star reviews. But this? This piece of shit escapes me.

The first half is entertaining enough, as the vaguely-named Mr. B---- kidnaps a servant and tries to steal her titular virtue. There are dastardly schemes and narrow escapes, and he makes a good villain, as does the vile Mrs. Jewkes, his accomplice.

Around halfway through, as plots and threats have failed to pierce Pamela's iron hymen, he changes his strategy: the carrot instead of the stick, so to speak. And Richardson has laid enough clues to make us suspect the wolf can't change his ways, so there's some suspense as we wait to see what new depths he's sunk to, and whether Pamela will escape with her virtue intact. (Not that the title leaves us much in doubt.) But then...

(view spoiler)

Do not read this book.
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Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Ruby (new)

Ruby Hollyberry I recall that the Professor in The Haunting of Hill House has Pamela, among others, in his room for the purpose of inducing sleep, if he has any trouble. :)

message 2: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex Ha! I'm about a third of the way through, and I actually like it better than I thought I would. Pamela's a pretty good character: a heroine not only for women's rights, but for literature. She goes through almost as much trouble to save her secret pen-and-paper stash as she does for her virginity.

message 3: by Ruby (new)

Ruby Hollyberry hahahaha! That does sound fun. Possibly Shirley Jackson is rolling her eyes...

message 4: by Alasse (new)

Alasse But it's over! Yay!!

message 5: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex Hey Ruby: about what I said about liking it better than I thought I would? Never mind.

I wish there were a way I could drink so much I could retroactively black out the last day or so, so I could forget having read this terrible, terrible book.

message 6: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex Do roofies do that? Does anyone know where I can get roofies?

message 7: by Ruby (new)

Ruby Hollyberry There are a few books I wish I could reach into my skull with tweezers and remove. Imajica comes to mind.

message 8: by Madeline (new)

Madeline Hmm I think roofies might only succeed in blacking out today... You might forget you finished the book and read the second half again. hehe

message 9: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex Ha! The worst of all possible worlds.

message 10: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Ruby wrote: "I recall that the Professor in The Haunting of Hill House has Pamela, among others, in his room for the purpose of inducing sleep, if he has any trouble. :)"

I'm reading Haunting of Hill House right now and thought I'd come by to mention just this! Too funny!

Here's the quote:
" my age, an hour's reading before bedtime is essential, and I wisely brought Pamela with me. If any of you has trouble sleeping, I will read aloud to you. I never yet knew anyone who could not fall asleep with Richardson being read aloud to him."

message 11: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex Shirley Jackson, you're my hero.

message 12: by Laura (new) - rated it 1 star

Laura Clap clap clap clap clap. "Pamela's iron hymen" especially made me laugh. Man, that was a terrible book. just terrible.

Jessica You nailed it my friend. Bravo! This novel is the 18th Century equivalent of Twilight.

Jessica Perfect Review. My Sentiments Exactly.

Arukiyomi spot on mate... spot on

message 16: by Beth (new) - rated it 1 star

Beth Laughed at "iron hymen."
Reading it for a class. Damn, at least "Twilight" is amusing in its horribleness.
(heh, "Atlas Shrugged" is tied with "Sandman" and "The Lord of the Rings" as my favorite book. It's not THAT difficult. Certainly not Pamela levels of dull, aside from perhaps Galt's three year speech near the end)

message 17: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex Oh, I don't mean to suggest that Atlas Shrugged is difficult. Excepting that Galt speech, which to my knowledge no one - probably including Rand - has ever bothered to read anyway, it's not difficult. It's just bad.

(Sorry to dis on one of your favorite books. To each her own, even if her own is totally lame.)

Lauren I like your question about classics. It's something I wonder all the time. I wouldn't say that people read this in college because it's a classic. They read it because it gives you a great sense of the time period and its values (awful values by today's standards). It's more of a history lesson than a novel at this point.

message 19: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex Fair enough - and much as I hate this book, I find myself citing it fairly often. Like, its influence on Jane Austen is pretty clear; I feel like it enhances my understanding of Austen to know she liked this.

Lauren I hated it too, believe me. That's a really interesting observation about Austen. I've only read P&P, so I can't make a general opinion about all her books. :)

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