John's Reviews > The Old Wives' Tale

The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett
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's review
Nov 29, 11

it was ok
Read from March 16, 2010 to November 29, 2011

I have finally finished this thing. So relieved. I really need to quit subjecting myself to the nauseum that is Victorian novels. Absolutely nothing happens in this book with the exception of the sections dealing with the youngest Baines daughter, Sophia.

Sophia is the only one in the family that actually lived. She left the tiny town of Bursley for, in my opinion, stupid reasons, but she left. And she lived a life worthy of talking about. Constance, the elder sister, sat around, got fat and complained about her sciatica. I think she needed a backiotomy.

Considering this book is old and if you read the introduction (at least the introduction in my copy) there is no such thing as a spoiler, so here comes a spoiler.

Arnold Bennett is a stone cold killer. Of all the characters given ample page time, they all die. And they don't die interesting deaths, they die boring old age deaths.

Here is the problem I have with Victorian novels. They all center around women. Kidding, there's more to it. They all center around women that are supposed to be bucking the societal trends for women of the time. Either they want to marry for love and not wealth (although they always marry for wealth, love just happens to be a convenience) or they are living the feminist lifestyle and can do anything that men can do aside from peeing standing up without making a big mess.

This was Sophia, she fell in love and left Bursley against her family's wishes and mine. She traveled and experienced the world, fell out of love, because it turned out her worthless cad of a husband was indeed, a worthless cad of a husband. He admitted to marrying her just so he could get inside her girdle. Thank god those times are past, have to get married just to get some nookie (right, Fred?). Now, all of that stuff happens on the second date. Intercourse happens on the second date, right?

Going on, Sophia's marriage falls apart, she becomes a successful business lady, moves back home to be with her ailing sister. Finds out that her husband, whom she hasn't seen in 36 years is ill. Travels to see his idle body, then gets sick on the ride home and dies. WTF! She was the only interesting aspect of this book. Then you go and kill her, Arnold. I hate you so much.

Anyway, I'm putting off these crappy books for awhile. Gonna read some self-help stuff that my mom gave me instead. I can already tell you that they won't help. I'm a wreck.

*As an aside, anyone else sick of coworkers not grasping the concept of the reply and reply all buttons? What's the deal? Am I right or am I right?
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Reading Progress

03/16/2010 page 263
45.66% "This book is fiercely terrible right now and I have 200+ pages to go."
06/30/2010 page 326
57.0% "This book is actually 497 pages. I don't know where the 576 comes from."
07/12/2010 page 326
57.0% "My dog ate it. Well, he tore the front and back covers off and probably the first 100 pages or so. He, despite being illiterate, also does not like this book."
08/28/2011 page 326
57.0% "I was wrong. The dog ate the last 100 pages or so. It pains me that I might have to purchase this book again just to finish it."
11/22/2011 page 326
57.0% "Found it on Kindle for free. No need to replace the copy the dog ate. Just need to find out where I left off."
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