Clare Palmatier's Reviews > How Green Was My Valley

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
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Apr 06, 2010

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Read on January 01, 1999 , read count: 2

I enjoyed this book more than I admired some of the main characters. It started for me when the mother makes a six year old responsible for guiding her up and down a mountain she doesn't know, while in labor. When, predictably, she runs into trouble, the poor little boy almost gets drowned trying to save her and what does she get for this series of catastrophic decisions?......... she gets all new furniture and something resembling a parade (wtf?) Then, after seeing neighbors and family members die all her life in mining related disasters, you would think she'd be thrilled that one of her sons has an opportunity at an advanced education. But no, it seemed to me she was more jealous than anything else...."What's this decimal Hugh has downstairs? Does the Queen know about it?". And such a sense of satisfaction she seemed to have when he finally left the classroom and went down into the mines with everyone else. More than that though, I didn't like the halo he put on his sister in law Bronwen. As a young mother of two, Bronwen loses her husband, but she dearly loved her husband and doesn't want to marry anyone else. Generally speaking though, she would have had to enter another marriage, even a loveless one, in order to support her children. Hugh saves her from all this by moving in and giving her his pay instead of building any kind of life for himself. Bronwen is very vain and very selfish. She resents any attention Hugh's younger sister gets when they go into town. She loves to hint around at Hugh that she knows he loves her, then makes a big procedure of prancing into her room and locking the door. (like she has to worry about Hugh) and he even says how much it troubled him. All this time Bronwen knows that Hugh's one time girlfriend got pregnant (by him) and even the reader knows that poor girl was sent away by her family. Its implied they made her marry someone else. Imagine what happened to her. Imagine what kind of life her baby had with a resentful step father. Didn't Hugh have more responsibility to them than he did to Bronwen? Of course, and she knew he did. So what does she do? She waits about fifteen years while she benefits by never having to enter a loveless marriage and while her two children benefit from Hugh's presence and pay. Meanwhile, his only child and the child's mother are basically screwed. Then, after all those years are over, she turns around and basically says "Well, you had sex once so you should have just assumed that you were a father." She wasn't even honest enough to admit to everything she got out of him in the meantime. Hugh struck me as one of those people who are book smart but have no common sense at all. He also has the best of intentions but trusts others to tell him what to do. I'm anxious to hear what others think.
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message 1: by Irfan (new)

Irfan Hyder You missed the entire substance of the book. Lost in the maze of the logic of the events, you are unable to feel the emotions being portrayed. The book is about relationships and feelings and nostalgia. Not about a detached, cold, calculating logic of a rational automaton.

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