Yulia's Reviews > The Emperor's Children

The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud
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Feb 05, 08

bookshelves: writers-on-writing
Read in January, 2006

This is my generation, what can I say? Educated in the best of institutions, overburdened by self-analysis, underemployed, wondering what it will all lead to after our parents have cut the umbilical cord finally. How could it not resonate?
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David 5 stars, Yulia? Really? You weren't tempted to deduct one for, oh I don't know, her incredible laziness about winding up the details of the plot? The ridiculous cipher-like quality of several of the characters? The guy from Australia? The idiotic shoeless oaf? These seemed like credible people to you, as opposed to lazy plot devices?

Just as I was admiring your willingness not to be as profligate about plastering stars all over your shelves as most goodreads reviewers, you give 5 stars to this effort. Surprising.

Obviously, I disagree. I thought it was eminently readable and very bad.


message 2: by Yulia (last edited May 01, 2008 07:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Yulia The Australian was a caricature, but what narcissist isn't a caricature of him or herself? The plot needn't be tied up all prettily: I'm sure you love many books that don't end that way. Just because I didn't care for every aspect of a book doesn't mean I can't rate it 5-stars for resonating with me. (I went to private school in NY but as a scholarship student and read Emperor's Children after having graduated summa cum laude from Harvard, knowing I'd never be able to hold a normal job due to my health.) So for whatever that says about me, each of the main characters that everyone seems to hate did speak to aspects of myself. What I can't believe is that it surprised or disappointed you to find a balloon of mine to pop.


David I hope you know that any balloon-popping is done in a spirit of fun. And absolute admiration.


message 4: by Yulia (last edited May 03, 2008 05:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Yulia Sorry I take criticism of my taste in books so personally. I really thought you'd come to detest my opinions.


message 5: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Yulia: David NEVER gives 5 stars...and he believes just about all of us on GR hand them out way too freely...
p.s. haven't read the novel, would like to, so can't weigh in on it yet...


Yulia Ah, like a teacher who never hands out A+s. I understand, but I'm critical of so much of what I read nowadays, I treasure the few occasions when I can be enthusiastic about a work, even if it's not perfect.


message 7: by Jessica (last edited May 03, 2008 07:03PM) (new)

Jessica I agree. And sometimes when I really like something, when it so far surpasses my lowish expectations, I feel so pleased, so happy, that 4 or 5 stars seems just right.
And David: I just read, was very pleased to read, your spirited defense of 'Wuthering Heights,' but then Abigail pointed out that you only gave it 3 stars. What gives?


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