Hope's Reviews > The 39 Steps

The 39 Steps by John Buchan
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's review
Jun 01, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: classics, british, thrillers, 2011-reads, reviewed

"Contrary to general belief, I was not a murderer, but I had become an unholy liar, a shameless imposter, and a highwayman with a marked taste for expensive motor-cars."

Richard Hannay's life is boring. At the beginning of this novel, the hero of this story is "pretty well disgusted with life" and wishes for any kind of excitement to get him out of the humdrum "ditch" he feels he's currently stuck in. Enter a man named Scudder, an American (yay!) journalist, who's gathered a little too much information and staged his own death to get the villains off his back. Unfortunately, the bad guys figure it out and he gets killed off anyway. But not, of course, before leaving Hannay with a vague idea of what's going on and a pocketbook with all his secrets encoded in it.

(I gotta admit, I absolutely loved the whole pessimistic, dismal outlook Hannay has in the first chapter. After Scudder dies, he loses a little of this because he's so busy running from the law and trying to catch the bad guys, etc.)

Hannay, like all spy/action heroes, is extremely smart. Some of my favorite parts of the story were when he'd change to a new "character." He did it so fast, and so smoothly. He never really disguised himself, just maybe slipped on a different coat, or got a little dirt on his face.
There was an observation on acting a part which I thought was rather interesting...

"A fool tries to look different: a clever man looks the same and is different."

Anyway, it's a nice little novella to read in your spare time. I give it an actual rating of 3.5 stars because it's simply a fun read, nothing deep at all and there's no time for character growth or a feeling of closeness with the characters.

All the same, I enjoyed it very much. :)


Saw the movie over a year ago...


Forgot about the fact that it was based on a book.


But then, I found it at the library this afternoon!


Twas a joyous occasion, indeed.
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Reading Progress

June 1, 2011 – Shelved
June 1, 2011 – Shelved as: classics
June 2, 2011 – Shelved as: british
June 3, 2011 – Started Reading
June 3, 2011 – Shelved as: thrillers
June 16, 2011 –
page 96
50.0% "Why is Richard constantly running into random, long-winded people? Isn't there anybody who has nothing to say? I would like to know."
June 18, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011-reads
June 18, 2011 – Shelved as: reviewed
June 18, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy xD image?

Hope You have to click on "see review" for some reason. Goodreads is being lame for me today. :P

message 3: by Trudi (new) - added it

Trudi lol xD I love the last smiley face! "Twas a joyous occasion, indeed." xD Yeah, you looked pretty excited when you found it in the library ;)

message 4: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy How's that book going for you?

Vikalp i just finished reading it today its fantastic

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