Lisa's Reviews > Outlander

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
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Jun 29, 07

bookshelves: trashy_trashy
Read in July, 2007

Contains SPOILERS ---
I was lying in a hospital bed with my leg broken, and once the library trolley came for a round of 'books, anyone?', my hand was in the air in no time.
Too late did the librarian notice the foreign literature on my bedside table and with a distraught expression try to recover 'Outlander';I said firmly: 'Oh no, Madam, I'll read that.'. Just enough time left for her to make up with a tome of controversial French literature on the genocide in Ruanda...
But as I'd said: my first mission was 'Outlander'.
Anyway, it could not be that bad, since I'd seen it sold by the local bookclub before.
Ah yes, it could. After some forty pages, my jaw dropped in disbelief, after some hundred pages the case was as good as closed. But then, to tell the truth, Ms Gabaldon's warped morals kept me going.
Because this brave woman has achieved what I never thought could be done: she has fabricated some catholically correct porn.
Let me point that out:
Claire, pretty much a Mary Jane (on the first few pages her lovely -we know it is, curly and unruly, though she claims it is 'not'- hair is described at length, and - did you know she can heal people? Oh yes, and - Did you know she has a spitfire personality, but everybody likes her in spite of that, well not the women, but then, they're either jealous or uptight or both...?) is by some zing of the time-space continuum catapulted back to the Scotland of yore, without her husband (goodlooking, sensitive, a savant), but never mind, she finds some replacement in her husband's *evil* ancestor (looks just like him), who's just as much into Claire, but unfortunately lacks the morals to please and guts to take it up with Ms. Spitfire.
This proves to be helpful in forgetting husband#1, handy, since soon Claire arouses the ardour of a young, proud and good-looking Scotsman, Jamie, who, if a bit on the simple side, is as true as gold, not to mention built like....well yes... and just one twist of fate later, they find themselves exchanging vows.
Note: The *good* never have extra-marital sex in this book, that's for the evil and sluggish.
Surprise upon surprise, actually Jamie is a virgin on their wedding night, but with a few leads, quickly gets into his role: 'Matrimony turns into a sacrament what would otherwise be a sin', or so it goes.
In the following, this sacrament is bestowed upon darling Claire with unnerving frequency, about every two pages, but it only gets really colourful if preceded by conjugal beating - Claire did something bad, Claire has to be punished, yes, she herself aknowledges this in the end, or attempts of strangers (or *evil* husband) to rape her.
Yes, and of course, after Jamie has de facto been raped and tortured by *evil* husband. He's so desolate. Evil husband forced Jamie into actually enjoying the experience. This is not right, Jamie is straight, Jamie is disgusted by himself. But Claire does some sexual healing and re-enactment and 'pouf'! To top this off, in the end Claire learns from a monk that de facto both her marriages are considered valid by the church, since the one with Jamie precedes the one back in the 20th century.
Most distasteful because of the 'wifebeating' episode and the fact that homosexuality is shown as an evil trait adherent to the *evil* guy (some young kid with a bible hung himself because of this, strange enough, female victims of rape are not half as suicidal in this book).
So we repeat:
-No sex without marriage.
-Woman has to obey man. Otherwise she gets into trouble, and he has to punish her.
-Homosexuals among the evil only.
Any questions? had there been the possibility to bestow 0 stars on this concoction..., ah well.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 81) (81 new)


message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 07, 2007 09:46AM) (new)

Wow. What a self-aggrandizing review. Funny. I love it when people think they're too smart to be entertained. Whatever happened to the willing suspension of disbelief? I've always found that it's more fun, while in hospital, to forget all about "real life" (let alone genocide...). Ah, well. To each her own.

Hope your leg feels better.


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

Lisa Wow. What an insulting comment. Funny. I love it when people criticize criticism without pointing out how it's factually wrong, but merely by attacking the author personally. Ah, well. To each her own.

Thanks for the kind wishes.


Emily As a matter of fact, I have about a million gay friends and have been unable to kick my overwhelming bitterness towards the Christian religion as a whole and yet I LOVE this series. I have ready every book multiple times, and can't get enough. I try to think of it that she's not against homosexuals but rather sadists. John Grey is not an unsympathetic character.


message 4: by Lisa (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa I give you that you may have 'a milion' gay friends, still this will not automatically make this book pro-gay. Ever gave it to one of them?

And then, everybody is free to like this book, and just the same I'm free not to.
And in my opinion it seems like a HUGE coincidence that the main evil guy should just HAPPEN to be gay.
John Grey (hey, his part in Traveler is so huge, I actually completely forgot about him and had to google, since I am not really keen on a multiple reading) may not be unsympathetic, but having read Traveler I'd rather not read about the strange things Diana Gabaldon has dreamt up for a closeted guy making the grand tour of the brothels to investigate a murder case.

And, EmilyS Darling, in case this is still you, better think of a better incognito.


Emily Nope not her, I guess multiple Emilys must like this book. John Grey actually features much more prominently in the later books of the series, I forgot you wouldn't know him if you had only read the first one. He even has his own spin off series but I haven't read that one yet. I guess that's the brothels/murder case thing you're referring to?
I admit, I haven't give this to any of my gay friends. I don't know what they would think, I'd imagine each one would have their own individual opinion on the story. (I also didn't say the book was "pro" gay just that it's not inherently homophobic either.)


message 6: by K (new) - rated it 5 stars

K Hi,

I was surfing on goodreads and found your review. Although I admit to having enjoyed this book, I liked your scathing review even better! You were quite apt in pointing out certain cliches (beautiful curly hair, spitfire, capable yet feminine heroine), not to mention humorous.

I think it's interesting that Emily had such a strong personal reaction to your review. I've had the experience in book clubs when I've been a bit ...vocal, that people who liked the books better than I did seemed to react as if they were personally offended by my disliking the book, or by the way I expressed my views.

It interests me that what should be an honest intellectual exchange sometimes turns into people feeling hurt and needing to be mollified. Can't people have differing opinions of a book, and can't they express them honestly? Why can't someone say, "I didn't like this book" without people taking it as, "If you liked this book, you must be stupid"? I've often had the experience of others feeling more critical than I did of a given book. I find that stimulating and provocative, not offensive.


Amber I don't think the fact that Jack was gay made him evil, I think it was more his delight in inflicting pain and how it coincided with his sexual pleasure. Which would have been just as evil if he did it to a woman. He called Jamie 'Alex' during it indicating that the roots of his taste and anger seem to stem from a past event. Also making him a more interesting character. Plus you have to take into account the time period. It was an unusual lifestyle choice. The joke about the Duke and his advances and do not see him as evil. As for the beating which I thought was quite barbaric, it was fitting to the times.
The virginity of Jamie I think only showed more of the morals his father past to him, to be responsible for your seed not so much to stay virginal for sake of God. He was also raised in a monastery for some time.


message 8: by Candy (new) - added it

Candy I have heard so much about this book. I bought it but never read it but after reading all of your comments, my curiosity is piqued. I want to know what all of the fuss is about.


Savannah While you do bring up some interesting points, here are my issues:
1) Black Jack being gay has nothing to do with him being evil, in fact if you had bothered to continue reading you would discover another homosexual character emerge and be the complete opposite. She is not taking a stand against homosexuality at all, it was just the traits of that particular character
2) Jamie beating claire is a point made by the author about how different both times were. After all this is 18th century Scotland contrasting to the 1940s's. Gaboldon makes it known that it is unacceptable in the aftermath, nothing at all indicated that that behavior was alright. If you do recall Claire held her own. Gaboldon was trying to convey the marital differences of each time period.
3) Jamie never told Claire she had to obey him. It is made obvious throughout the book that she is of her own free will, and he likes it that way. So, I don't know where you got that from.
4) The "sexual healing" you're talking about sets up a pre-curser for the medical talent that she shows later in the books.
5) Her marriages would not be conflicting since Frank is not even born yet
6) I don't know where you're going with some of these arguments, like the young man who hung himself because he was raped... It wasn't just being raped, it was everything Randall did in the process. The point trying to be made is that Randall "broke" the young man. In every single way. He had no defenses left.
7) You may want to learn the names of the Characters next time you try and make an argument, and you also may want to look deeper than what's in front of you. I'm not saying you have to like it, I'm simply saying that it wouldn't hurt to be polite about it.


message 10: by Mary (new) - added it

Mary You did read that part that this was suppose to be 18th Century Scotland? That applying today's "morality" wouldn't really fit? To me, this book made me thankful to live in the "here" and "now". I appreciated the author's writing... it made me really hate some of the stuff that was going.


message 11: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann LOL Emily. I was wondering if this reviewer understood half of what she read let alone what she, herself said.




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

Lisa Ann wrote: "LOL Emily. I was wondering if this reviewer understood half of what she read let alone what she, herself said.

"


Oh No! I had an opinion, and now people are being mean. On the Internet.




message 13: by ~M~ (new) - rated it 5 stars

~M~ bwaaaahahahahaaa! I loved your description of Claire! Stellar!

You know in REAL life Claire would not be called a spitfire. She'd be called what she is -- a bitch. And that is wrong. Must. Not. Be. a Bitch.


Savannah For the sake of curiosity, and I do suppose I will come to regret this inquiry, why do you feel Claire's character could be classified as a "bitch"?


message 15: by ~M~ (new) - rated it 5 stars

~M~ Goes back to that old axiom about how the definition of "bitch" is any woman who says or does anything that qualifies her as "not a doormat."


Karen Mary wrote: "You did read that part that this was suppose to be 18th Century Scotland? That applying today's "morality" wouldn't really fit? To me, this book made me thankful to live in the "here" and "now". ..."

Just what I was going to say. You expect 2010 morality in a fictional story set in 1743?!

Oh dear, the author defines the main character at the start of the book?

Only one twist of fate bringing Claire and Jamie together in 200 pages? Or were they stuck together in your book?

Note: Did you read the part where its set in 1743? Of course only the bad have premarital sex.

Being a country lad around lots of farm animals I'd imagine Jamie would have an idea of how it all works. Once the species-specific details are clarified for him.

Oh dear, Jamie is raped and has to deal with the consequences of it (like some feeling of enjoyment) like, um, *every* *other* *rape* *victim*?


Roshio I do understand it being set in 1743 so obviously thats how things were done etc. but as regards the wifebeating episode, I thought Clare, being a woman from the future would have been appalled at Jamie's behaviour and told him where to go, instead she accepts it in the end. I don't see how you can really excuse that.


Christie Anderson I like your ability to write a review, but seriously question your comprehension and even wonder if you were simply skimming. Claire does struggle with her "beating" as you put it and does stick up for herself. I'm not sure where you get that gay=evil in this book, because that's not the case at all as several characters in the series enjoy productive lives while bring so. Claire is a nurse with a profound knowledge of herbs ( mentioned in the first 15 pages, and she is never described as Jesus-like. Perhaps you were not in the best frame of mind when you read it, but I can tell you that your review is dead wrong and misinforming others that may use your review in their decision, which is unfortunate. Also, this is not "being mean on the Internet" as you put it, it is me trying to put right a very misinformed review that was entertaining, but far from fact.


message 19: by Bluegravity (new) - added it

Bluegravity Holey-crappony... Gotta love your take on this book. The number of stars and the furvor to which you explain the book is most definitely in Juxtaposition. You make it sound like a good-read, and yet the stars you give speak otherwise! XD XD XD


Hillary I think what angered me when I read this inaccurate review is how you said Diana depicted "gay being evil." This is an untruth because what she depicted was Jack Randall as a sadist. And as for Claire being beat, yes, it made women cringe, but that's because she is a writer and did her job by evoking our emotions. This was 18th century Scotland and things like this did happen. Rape. Beatings. Cruel treatment to women. But if you read on, Jamie learned never to lift a hand to Claire again. I respect when someone dislikes a book but when it is slandering the author, that's a different story. And yes, Lisa, you did slander Diana Gabaldon. I find it disgusting that you think you can rightfully state that she made "gay as evil."


message 21: by Lisa (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa Even though I do think I undestand the argument you try to make, I think it is hardly valid: You claim that in 18th century Scotland (by the way, I do not assume Diana Gabaldon to attempt- in all earnest- an accurate depiction of 18th century Scotland) rape and violence somehow "did happen", so they were the norm, and therefore if a character who is gay and does evil things this does not mean that the author means to convey that gay people are bad: On the other hand: There are people who behave decently in that book, and they are not gay. I think it is dicey business to introduce one gay characted (and I will give the other commenters that there is another, but we don't know that yet), and have him do a majority of the evil deeds-dicey business at best. Therefore, I find it sad that you find me disgusting, but I find it hard to feel that way myself. Maybe you should just write your own review.


message 22: by Tara (new) - rated it 1 star

Tara well, I for one hated this book!! I mean, putting all other issues aside, this book was just so boring!! There was nothing remotely romantic or even interesting about Jaime and Claire's budding relationship and the story just dragged. I gave up after 300 pages.


message 23: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Rwanda is spelled with a W.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoyed your review immensely as sometimes I got the feeling that I read a different book from everyone else. I thought this book was sick. Trashy trashy is exactly the right shelf to put it on. Thanks so much for your excellent review.


message 25: by Lisa (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa Sarah wrote: "Rwanda is spelled with a W."

Not in Germany :-)


Alyson I agree with so many of the comments here. This book is the first in the series, and the development of the story and the characters continues. I found myself very upset with the treatment of women and the attitude of men towards women in this book, but as many have said it is 18th century Scotland and times were tough and very very difficult for women in those times. Thank goodness I did not live then. But I love the books, I love the romance and I love to escape into this crazy elaborate fantastical world Diana Gabaldon has created. It is not simple, she studies and researches for years before she finishes her books.


message 27: by Lisa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa I haven't read the book yet (despite numerous people informing me that it should be illegal to have not read it) But I just love this review. I have a funny feeling I may end up liking the book, but seriously: wicked review :)


Mrsbooks Although I didn't like *everything* that happened in the book, I did think the characters were depicted in an historically accurate way.

Jamie beating Clare didn't ruffle my feathers like it seems to have many people because it was the way people were. It was practically expected.

Clare very quickly let herself be absorbed into their culture which I thought showed her strength of character. Any other person who sails back 200 years in time would be screaming and thought insane lol.


fifi boo Thank you! Finally someone that shared the same opinion as me. Thsi book was just another, more "civilized" version of porn. And to top it off a teacher advised me to read it. Ugh and the old powerless female role was a hard blow through out this book. Plowing through ever chapter and every page.

The Jamie-gay-rape snip in this book was kinda unnecessary. Yes. Aw, poor jamie. I guess this would be okay for you to rape and beat claire now. And, Claire, darling, get mad all you want but dont you do anything about it! Atta girl. Take it like a man.

This book was bullshit, I couldn't finish it. Great review by the way! Thanks!


Kelly Hodges I see your point, I really do, but it wasnt all that bad. I mean, that is how it was back in that day. Had she written about people in that time treating their wives as equalls, and homosexuality as okay, then it would not have been historically accurate.


Cheryl I have read every book in the outlander series. They were fantastic. Praise for Diana Gabaldon I can't wait for the next book in the series.


Kayla Hensley It takes a whole lot of love to combat a whole lot of hate and apparently vice versa. I get it, you don't like it. But lots of us do. Now, to business... Lisa, you claimed that Gabaldon didn't have a grasp on the time period she was writing about. What makes you an expert? I for one think her details were very well done and painted a clear picture for my mind's eye. As for Claire being a cliche spitfire, I prefer a spitfire to a whiny do nothing- which has become the favorite trend of today's popular literature. As for Black Jack Randall, during that time period homosexuality was rare but punishable by lashings, titles being stripped, reputations being ruined... So he was in the closet- which in turn prompted him into becoming a monster. The same thing has happened to closeted priests and college football coaches in the real world. I can believe it of a fictional character. Back then the Church was a real influence in the lives and attitudes of people. Morality and piety were enforced by society, so good people were faithful in their marriages and did appreciate virginity. How awful! My point is a work of fiction- especially historical fiction is not going to be PC just to placate modern sensibilities. The narrative sucked me in and I'm sad it didn't do the same for you. And if all of us Internet people are too mean- you expressed a strong opinion and got an opposite but equal response...


Mrsbooks Serena wrote: "Kelly, why did Diana choose to make Jamie turned on by beating Claire? You can say beating women was cool back then and everyone did it (I’m going to guess the more civilized considerate men didn’..."

Was Jamie turned on by beating Clare? I guess I would have to go back and read it again to make sure but I was under the impression he was turned on simply because her rear-end was exposed lol.


Mandy Sherman I enjoyed your spot on review very much. It offends me that so many people see this book as historical fiction. It is a tawdry romance novel. When an author repeatedly writes, "her thighs were sticky with semen," it's hard to take the writing seriously.


Kelley Dykes IT kills me to read this review.....the only thing I will comment on as to not get too upset is if you read into the further books, one of the most beloved charachters is a gay man...so no, there aren't just evil homosexuals in the book, just one. And holy crap, how you could not have enjoyed it is beyond me.


Eva Rose I have thought of picking up this book but I would probably not like it because of all the abuse. I find it beyond unacceptable for there to be violence in a relationship no matter the time period.

I am also afraid that when I dislike it it and rated one star like you I will get mobbed but the book fans and told I read it wrong. You are so brave for posting and sticking up for your review.


message 37: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea The inability of people accepting a review that differs from their personal taste is alarming. I've seen this with plenty of other popular books when it gets a bad review, their fans come in hordes to offend the reviewer. I didn't know it was a rule for everyone to like the same thing.


Michele It's not the homosexuality that is condemned in the books, it is the sadism. And if you can't see that then you aren't as learned as you think you are.


message 39: by Barbara (new) - added it

Barbara Pierce-ewert Love the book can't wait for the series on Starz thank goodness not everyone shares the same opinions...that would just be boring!...sorry you didn't like it, and I can only imagine the hours it took you to write that review. It wasna verra nice.


Susan Strobel Apparently, she doesn't understand what she reads.


Renee it is just a book- i am quite amazed by some of the reviews on this particular book. i guess those that posted nasty reviews are perfect devote Christians whom can throw stones


message 42: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea If "it's just a book" why are you people so bothered by a review?


Susan Strobel Because it's unfair and sounds ignorant.


message 44: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea Unfair and ignorant is yours and some others' comments. A review is a person's personal opinion. It doesn't reflect anything else BUT the person's personal view on it. I'm sure there are plenty of books you hated but other people loved. Does that make your view on it right?


Susan Strobel It's not just a book to me.


Michele Andrea wrote: "Unfair and ignorant is yours and some others' comments. A review is a person's personal opinion. It doesn't reflect anything else BUT the person's personal view on it. I'm sure there are plenty of ..."

Had the reviewer not attacked Ms. Gabaldon's morals in the first 20% of the review, and then gone on to make point after point about things where they clearly MISSED THE POINT of the book, I could handle a negative review. Folks are entitled to their opinions, after all, even if I think said opinion is misguided.


message 47: by Neeka (new) - rated it 1 star

Neeka I am painfully trying to get through this book... so many people have stated that this book is amazing. I don't see it... understand that I haven't finished it yet but if she goes back in time marries another guy wouldn't that change history and possibly change an entire line of ancestors? maybe this is addressed later and I haven't got to it but seriously... and what a way to be able to cheat on your husband and it being ok. I will finish the book and see if anything is answered and if I like it but I don't get why this is such a hype. The writing style isn't really something that draws me in. And I guess so far my hang up is if you go back in time you change history...


message 48: by Mrsbooks (last edited Jan 15, 2014 05:59AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mrsbooks Clare doesn't cheat on Frank. You can't cheat on someone who is dead, or not living at the time. Frank is not alive and she has no idea if she'll ever return to her time. It's not cheating in any shape or form.

@Neeka How far are you into the book?

Personally, I like reading bad reviews on books. Many make me laugh but some make me doubt people's intelligence. There were many things in this main review that were hilarious. But when you take something serious like saying homosexuality is shown as an evil trait is not only ignorant but stupid. It's easy to attack an opinion like that. We might as well claim the writer is against homosexuality because her bad guy is one. Some other book might have a bad black guy and we can say the book is against African American's.

It's really difficult not to speak out when you hear (or in this case read) something stupid. But the older I get the leason learned is "You can't fix stupid." So I get why people have a hard time not saying anything but really there is no point to trying.

Also the opinions in this review are largely based upon someone who did not understand what was going on. That makes people want to explain. At the same time I think the story was pretty self explanatory and if the reviewer didn't get it then, nothing we say will make them get it now.


message 49: by Sara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara I would just like to say how do you feel qualified to write a review on a book you haven't even read in it's entirety? Just saying...


message 50: by Renee (last edited Jan 21, 2014 05:52AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renee Neeka wrote: "I am painfully trying to get through this book... so many people have stated that this book is amazing. I don't see it... understand that I haven't finished it yet but if she goes back in time mar..."

when you get to the end you will see that her going back in time will not change anything really (major) anyway. this genre may just not be for you. i like for the history, sci-fi aspect (time travel) and a little romance. also being of Scottish heritage and having visited Scotland just brings the book to life for me


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