Rebecca's Reviews > Sophie's Choice

Sophie's Choice by William Styron
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's review
Jul 01, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: book-club, unfinished, made-into-movies
Read from July 01 to 06, 2012 , read count: 1

I just...I tried, y'all. I tried so hard, but I couldn't do it. I made it about a third of the way through before everyone else in the book club started rethinking our decision, which gave me permission to voice my desperate plea that we pick something else--anything else--please. We picked another book.

I have deeply mixed feelings about this. The writing style was beautiful, I have to give him that--lyrical and flowing, although it flowed into needless digression more often than not. It was so-o-o-o slow; when I gave up 200 pages in, I still had no idea what Sophie's choice was going to be or had been. That's a lot of ink to cover without having any idea what the plot is about.

Also, I felt like Styron was needlessly focused on sex. I get it, he's young and male and he's going to think about sex. Men have sex, men like sex, men think about sex, I get it. But the narrator goes on for pages at a time about his increasingly outlandish sexual fantasies, and it just didn't further the plot. I don't exactly faint and clutch my pearls at a sex scene, but it really needs to do something for the plot. Most of Styron's lustful musing do nothing for the plot, such as it is. I finally wikipedia'd the book's page (I'm so embarrassed) to see if it was worth slogging through the remaining 400 pages, and I almost threw something when I saw where the book was going. If I had lost the next however-many hours of my life to that, there would not have been enough alcohol in the world to make it okay.

To be clear: I don't say Styron is a bad writer, because the writing really was beautiful. And it was interesting enough that I kept slogging on much longer than I normally would have, because the spell he wove successfully pulled me in at least enough to go that far.

Also, I have no issue with holocaust books. In fact, for those seeking a less drawn out work on man's inhumanity to man, I have some suggestions. In fiction, I still believe nothing beats Schindler's List. Elie Wiesel's Night is still one of the seminal accounts, as, of course, is Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place. And the definitive work will probably always be Martin Gilbert's aptly named The Holocaust.

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11/08/2016 marked as: read

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