Christina (Reading Thru The Night)'s Reviews > Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
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** spoiler alert ** Perhaps I should have (a) taken notes while reading Atlas Shrugged or (b) wrote the review closely after finishing the novel or better yet BOTH (a) and (b). But I didn't and such is life.

Here's the thing...this book is purposeful, if merely for the fact that most people have very STRONG OPINIONS about Rand's magnum opus. In fact, I have yet to meet one person who has been all "meh" about the whole shenanigan. And it's not because the story itself is unique or brilliant, but rather the philosophy behind the story. (Although I was partially entertained figuring out who John Galt was and definitely dug Dagny on many occasions).

S'okay. I cannot guarantee that this review will not have spoilers. Sorry folks. But how I see it, it's a tomb of a piece of literature so you're either going to read it or not and its hardly going to be based on my review. 'Cuz if you're on the fence AT ALL, I would just suggest to bite it and read it.

And because it's 1200 pages, I'm just going to bullet some of my thoughts. Randomly. It's easier that way. Probably for you too.

The Book

Dagny is a pretty smart lady. I appreciate that most of the story was told from her point of view. I think if it had been told from another one of the character's I might not have enjoyed it as much.
Hank Reardon took sometime to grow on me, but definitely by the mid point I was a fan of his.
I cheered both of them on when they stuck to their guns about keeping their business's running.
Francisco seemed like SUCH a soap opera character. Truly. And for some reason I could picture him oiling a long mustache, even though there was no indication given that he had a mustache to begin with.
Dagny's brother is a major chump. How many out there just wanted to punch him a few times? Oh god, and when he married that little poor waif. Really? *rolls eyes*
John Galt, the mighty. I don't know, but once I figured out his back story he sorta seemed like the Wizard of Oz. No longer this great omnipotent being.
I was totally turned off by how quickly Dagny could fall for one man after the next, even though I know Rand was illustrating her philosophy (opinions about that coming soon).
The ending was also a bit over top and felt as though she were quickly trying to pull everything together.
Oh, and I was pretty touched by the scene of the men holding lanterns to light the railway when there was no power.
The utopian existence within their world was another aspect that I felt was a just a wee bit TOO much.
I liked the idea of MINDS and THOUGHTS going on strike rather than people. Don't understand? Read the book.
Overall, the book is rather in your face. You don't have to be bright to figure out her philosophical notions. Hell, you barely have to read a page without being assaulted with her beliefs. That was slightly annoying. More annoying in some situations than others.
When John Galt FINALLY speaks I felt lied to. Not because of what he was saying but because someone said it was 20 pages long. LIARS. His rant/sermon/diatribe lasted over 50 pages in my book.

The Philosophy

The idea of being "selfish" is not that extremed as I think most people try to make it out to be in this book or within Objectivism.
I associate it more so the catch phrase where you must take care of yourself first in order to be of any use to anyone else. Plus, it is important to understand that even when we do things benevolent, they are hardly ever unselfish. We often FEEL GOOD when we do things for others. We continue to do them because we continue to FEEL GOOD.
The whole, logic is everything leaves me a little "eh, not so much". I can't help it. I'm an INFJ (Myers-Briggs anyone?)(1). I rely on my intuition, can be impulsive, and believe that my heart can take me places that my mind cannot.
Okay, the relationships is another aspect that I have serious doubts with. Sure, yes, it is a lovely idea to think if you love someone dearly and they fall out of love with you that you will be all: it's all right babe, I love you and loving you is enough and I just want you to be happy. Right. I've yet to see that happen with such LOGICAL CALMNESS. 'Cuz you know, we gots these things called emotions that sometimes make us (re)act all wonky. It's okay. I'm glad we do. If we didn't I wouldn't have been able to study MFT. (2)
It was perfectly okay for Rand to point out that sex should be pleasurable and it's okay to have sex for pleasure.
BALANCE people, it's what's tattooed on my neck(3). It's something that would make a lot of people happier. Rand's philosophy strikes me as nothing more than a major backlash to what she experienced in Communist Russia. And sure, it's a pretty big backlash and doesn't paint any prettier of a picture. Can we just agree that extremes in anything is not so good?


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(1) INFJ = Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. I love this stuff. Let me know yours.
(2) MFT = Marriage and Family Therapy. I have actually a duel masters in that and MHC, Mental Health Counseling
(3) Really! I do. It's written in Japanese, but it does just say: Balance on the back of my neck. It's a constant reminder to myself.
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