Brown.carolyn's Reviews > American Pastoral

American Pastoral by Philip Roth
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's review
Dec 12, 11

I think this book is one of the best that I have ever read. Yes, I was put off by the details, the pages that were filled with what seemed like unimportant things, the tangents. But I think a lot of people missed out on what this book is really about. This book isn't about the characters (who Roth made me care about), or the town, or the country. The characters could be anyone, the town anywhere, the country and country. Well, no, actually, it was decidedly American. What this book was about was much more philosophical than its surface. Their is an underling current in this book that can easily be missed by those not paying attention or just reading the book to get through it.
We all present face to this world, and we all try to be "good people," but does this matter? Does the face we present matter, and what is our true face? What causes people to do the things they do if they are not "good?" Is it their childhood? And what good does it do to live ones life without expressing how you really feel, constantly not stepping on toes? How do perceptions of people's memories change the way we see things?
These are just a few of the questions Roth brings up in his book. I feel like, in reading ome of the reviews, people have missed these important things. The book isn't really about race itself, or money, or ownership, but about individuals and what the world means to them, and how so many people are so convinced they are right. They go around assuming everyone else is wrong just because they don't share certain beliefs, or they float through life politely nodding their head without ever exressing their true selves. And what is a true self.

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I loved the depth of this book, I think it should be taught in philosophy as well as literature. His strong characters force the reader too lok at things deeply, if they are able to, and if they are able to see past their own hang-ups about what a book should be.
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