Brooke's Reviews > Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
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Apr 25, 08

Read in January, 2000

I know, I know, it's a monumental artifact in American history, and the catalyst to the spread of the abolitionist movement to the masses. I totally appreciate the historical and cultural significance of this book. No question.

But seriously, y'all? This book SUCKS as a piece of literature. For real. I just can't get past how bad the writing is--the reason why I'm such a voracious reader is simple: I read books for aesthetic pleasure. That's it. I really don't give a shit about anything beyond entertainment when I read. If I can be enlightened, challenged, whatever at the same time? Fantastic. But if your writing sucks, I frankly don't want to waste my time with your crappy-ass book. And Harriet Beecher Stowe exceeded my limit for melodramatic turns of phrase by page 3.

Preferencing the book itself over what the book represents is an unpopular view in a literary culture obsessed with shattering the canon (ironic, considering that UTC is as canonical as it gets in American literature), but that's why I'm in the corporate world and not writing my disseration right now. Hence, I'm typing this review instead of beating my head against the keyboard while trying to make a connection between Heidegger's "question of being" and some random 17th century poem my committee chair discovered while on sabbatical in Bolivia. I win.
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Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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Lisa Better writing from you would be appreciated!


Brooke Lisa wrote: "Better writing from you would be appreciated!"

Say what? Are you telling me to write a better book than Uncle Tom's Cabin, or are you telling me to write a better review? Either way: IRRELEVANT. 'Cause I don't know you from Adam or give a crap about what you think. Weirdo.




Lisa It just struck me as ironic that you slammed the writing in Uncle Tom's Cabin--yet your profanity and devil may care attitude jumped right out at me. "Profanity is the attempt of a simple mind to express itself forcefully."


message 4: by Brooke (last edited Dec 20, 2009 07:58PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Brooke Lisa wrote: "It just struck me as ironic that you slammed the writing in Uncle Tom's Cabin--yet your profanity and devil may care attitude jumped right out at me. "Profanity is the attempt of a simple mind to e..."

So sorry to offend your delicate sensibilities. I'll remember to double-check with you next time I write down my opinion to make sure you approve. (Lemme guess: "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.") Get a hobby other than commenting on strangers' year-old reviews of books.


Ruth Ann This book was written during the Victorian era, when wordiness ruled. The next time you pick up a book from another era--say 100+ years ago--try to put yourself in that time.

Remember, Stowe was trampling over a largely apathetic readership. She had to go overboard. That's why there are those endless preachy parts and pseudo-philosophy. Still she was amazingly successful at it, in part because she knew how to speak to a mid-19th century audience. I thought it was interesting how she goaded the do-nothing Christians into real activism.


Brooke Um, yeah. I have a Master's degree in Victorian literature--but thanks for the tip, Ruth. On the scale of Victorian Wordiness, "good" being Dickens and "bad" being Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Beecher Stowe is Harriet Beecher Stowe.


Sharon Brooke wrote: "Um, yeah. I have a Master's degree in Victorian literature--but thanks for the tip, Ruth. On the scale of Victorian Wordiness, "good" being Dickens and "bad" being Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Be..."

Of course you do, Brooke ... which is why you stated that you read solely for entertainment. If you really had a master's degree in Victorian literature, you would know that Stowe's writing is stylistically typical of the period.


Brooke "Read"=present tense. Also, just like today, there were both crappy writers and good writers back in the Victorian period. (Shocker!) When it comes to melodramatic prose, both in print and online, familiarity most definitely breeds contempt. Much like I don't give a crap whether someone agrees with my opinion on a book, I give even less of a crap whether said person doubts the veracity of my degree.


Ruth Ann Brooke wrote: "Um, yeah. I have a Master's degree in Victorian literature--but thanks for the tip, Ruth. On the scale of Victorian Wordiness, "good" being Dickens and "bad" being Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Be..."

Sharon, Brooke is a troll. I was a little surprised to see trolling on a book readers' site but there you have it.


message 10: by Brooke (last edited Mar 22, 2010 12:42PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Brooke HAHAHA. Yes, I am a troll. I created a freaking GoodReads account and posted honest reviews in an admittedly irreverent style, for the sole purpose of raising the ire of random strangers and forcing them to post indignant comments disagreeing with me on my own review. 'Cause God knows it's impossible for someone to both have a different reaction than yours to a book and be ambivalent about that difference of opinion without being morally or mentally deficient.

You like Uncle Tom's Cabin. Congratulations. I don't, and could not possibly care less that you like it and also don't care that you don't like that I don't like it. Therefore, I am a troll.

Good Lord, people.


message 11: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Cowan Ruth, I love how you are calling Brooke a troll when you are here commenting on HER review.

You be the troll, snatch face.


message 12: by Ruth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruth Ann Trolling is attempting to use shock value and that is what's going on here. I thought this was a site for serious readers not adolescents trying for shock value. Had enough here.


message 13: by Brooke (last edited Mar 22, 2010 03:55PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Brooke Ruth wrote: "Trolling is attempting to use shock value and that is what's going on here. I thought this was a site for serious readers not adolescents trying for shock value. Had enough here."

Are you freaking serious? This review SHOCKS you?! That is the funniest thing I've ever heard. "Serious readers" does not have to equal boring people who write boring reviews. If you don't like it, don't read it.

And also, I encourage you to brush up on your internet lingo. "Trolling": I do not think it means what you think it means.


message 14: by Beth (last edited Mar 25, 2010 02:54PM) (new)

Beth Fred I don't think she was attempting shock value. I, too, hold an English degree and I really don't like this book! I tried very hard to make myself like this book because I knew it was a classic and to be dignified I should enjoy reading such things, but I REALLY don't like this book. I've been reading it for two months am only half way through it and in the mean time have read six other books. I appreciate the cultural value, but I don't like the style and this will be the first book I haven't finished in years! I think you should respect the reviewer's opinion, and in the NET era SUCKS is not profanity!
You attack the reviwer on her merits, but academic dialogue requires us to freely exchange ideas. No one book is going to be loved by everyone and those who don't like it should be able to voice that and why. It's how literature, (or society in general) improves.


message 15: by ♥angela♥ (new)

♥angela♥ unfortunately, as we have discovered, society hasn't improved much lol


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

Sara I thought avid readers would be much more aware that opinion is objective and, being so, cannot be changed by simply belittling and badgering reviewers. Really now, calm yourselves.


Danyul "I knew it was a classic and to be dignified I should enjoy reading such things, but I REALLY don't like this book. I've been reading it for two months am only half way through it and in the mean time have read six other books."

i'm glad i'm not the only one. it's really hard to get through this book. although i understand its importance at the time and probably even still today, it is just really difficult to finish.


message 18: by Beth (new)

Beth Fred Well, one thing is it was originally published in weekly installments and when you clump it all together like this, it's so repetitive!


Danyul for sure. it's easy to forget that! you have to remember things like that when reading such an old novel.


message 20: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol Giles Yes Brooke, you are a troll. But, there's deliberately baiting people to get a reaction because you think it's funny, and then, there's being downright rude. You attend the latter perfectly. Grow up.


Stephen Dutton I really enjoyed the cat fight girls! It was all so well written too. Tops! Just tops! Seriously I loved it!


message 22: by Tigress (new)

Tigress Osborn Your profanity and devil-may-care attitude jumped right out at me, too. My kinda carrying on! Please include more f-bombs next time. And now to look up your reviews of other crappy classics!


message 23: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol Giles Why don't you all get a life? It's a book for heavens sake! Read it, enjoy it, or don't!


Maddalena This is fun. Dialogue! This is what society needs.


message 25: by Kari (new)

Kari Odenath This feed is far more entertaining than the actual book, in my opinion. I also wanted to read this for its historical significance, and found I could not get through it. Ah, well...I don't hold a masters degree in literature.


Chris Lee Absolutely loved every bit of this review and comments.


message 27: by Paul (new)

Paul Man, Brooke seems like a delight!


Lynsey I agree with Kari and Chris, too funny. I get where this reviewer is coming from. The story IS melodramatic much of the time (Eva...who gives a hoot?), but unlike the reviewer, I do, at times, frame my reading of a text based on historical significance. Fact is, it does matter to me that Abraham Lincoln called it the book that started the Civil War, or something. Can we just agree that everyone reads with a different perspective? I appreciate the reviewer's honest in sharing hers.


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