Chaybyrd's Reviews > Gilead

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
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's review
Nov 23, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: kindle-read, borrrrrring, read-in-2012, so-bad-it-made-me-mad

I am devastated by how much I despised this novel. It was one of the most uninspired stories about Christianity, forgiveness and familial bonds I have ever read.

I can't help but wonder if this is the first plotless novel to win a Pulitzer. I'll be on the look out. The framework of the "story" is a dying minister writing in his diary presumably for his now 7 year old son to read after his death. The first person father writing to his son narrative was horrid. I felt like the entire book was one run-on sentence - not because the sentences were lengthy - but rather because it was written as rambling musings of an old man I neither cared about nor related to.

Plus, the sentences were a clunky patchwork of memories and present day reflections that did not connect smoothly. If the story was more linear, the "journal" style mechanism that Marilynne Robinson used could possibly make the novel enjoyable. Or readable.

Unlike the majority, I did not find the old man's reflections insightful - at all. The stories, memories, regrets, doctrine, in essence every single subject broached was so flippin, tear my hair out, boring. Call me ageist, but the stream of consciousness of a 77 year old comes across as senility not sentimentality. I can only assume Robinson was going for the latter. Don't be fooled.
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Reading Progress

November 23, 2011 – Shelved
November 23, 2011 – Shelved as: kindle-read
March 6, 2012 – Started Reading
March 6, 2012 –
March 10, 2012 –
12.0% "Very unimpressed so far. Waiting for this to unfold. Seems quite...ordinary"
March 12, 2012 –
March 15, 2012 –
18.0% "I just read 3 phenomenal books back to back so in comparison, this one is a bore. Not that into this preachers diatribe, but who knows maybe it'll get actually interesting."
March 15, 2012 –
23.0% "I feel like I'm reading one long run-on sentence. *yawn* so not impressed"
March 18, 2012 –
26.0% "I think I may hate this book."
March 18, 2012 –
32.0% "Dullest book on the face of the earth"
March 19, 2012 –
56.0% "Yup. I hate this plotless dribble"
March 19, 2012 – Shelved as: read-in-2012
March 19, 2012 – Shelved as: borrrrrring
March 19, 2012 – Shelved as: so-bad-it-made-me-mad
March 20, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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message 1: by Shovelmonkey1 (new)

Shovelmonkey1 also like your "so bad it made me mad" bookshelf!

Chaybyrd Shovelmonkey1 wrote: "also like your "so bad it made me mad" bookshelf!"

Haha! Thanks Girlie! :)

Linda I sort of appreciated the empty baptism first in babyhood followed by a bedevilled life until in the end the old reverend put his heart into a blessing for the adult godson but I agree with you that it was a pretty boring journey....

Helen Flynn I really tried to like this book. There were moments but no cohesion, no story....very disjointed. I had a hard time finishing but my book club is ready it. Otherwise I would have tossed it.

Terry 45 more pages to go and I am struggling. I want to throw it but feel i need to finish just to say I did. How can this be a Pulitzer prize-winning novel? I need to read the qualifications for that award...

Chaybyrd Totally agree! It doesn't get better!

Janice I felt like I could never say anything negative about this book since there were so many that loved it? I thought there was a literary off switch I turned on. At least you recall something of the book, I remember nothing.

Jason Sometimes one reads a review with which one substantively disagrees -- but it is written in such a way that the critic's intellect and acumen are revealed as keen and perceptive. We can disagree with the verdict even as we admire the map of thought that circled and settled upon that verdict. And then one finds a review like this -- where even the first paragraph alone feels so confoundingly off-the-mark, one thinks, at first, the review must have been written in a spirit of tongue-in-cheek irony. And then you realize: no, no, the reviewer actually means what he or she is saying. And you're dumbfounded that anyone could miss the boat as utterly as has this reviewer. And then you just sigh...

Chaybyrd Don't troll me Jason. Move on.

message 10: by Julie (new)

Julie I really wanted to like this book. There were snippets of great prose, but mostly just continuous dribble. Made it almost halfway, but I. Just. Can't. Go. On !

Chaybyrd I have felt your pain Julie!

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

Margo Boring!!! Awful! Listened to audio book and kept falling asleep, it reminded me of the ramblings of Mark Twain in Roughing It!!!!! I didn't finish it.

message 13: by Linda (new)

Linda Wall At least you finished it. So boring I could only manage the first quarter.

Jessica Linda, you and me both. I started it today, got 50 pages in before giving up.

Holly Bridges Why would you use "despised"? It didn't happen to be your cup of tea at a particular moment in your life. Harsh and faux criticism.

Chaybyrd Holly, I guess since it's my review and I am free to say how I felt at that moment in my life.

message 17: by Jenny (new) - rated it 1 star

Jenny Wade I have tried to read this book three times. I just can't do it. Passing it to the thrift store - I rarely stop reading a book.

Stacey This is totally how I'm feeling right now. Reading reviews to see if I should stick with it (I'm 40% in) and I'm bummed to hear that there never is a plot. I don't mind the snippets of wisdom and the writing is lovely, but MAN. I'm sleepy.

message 19: by Frances (new)

Frances Cummings I’m about 25 pages in and stopped to see if anyone else felt the way I did about this book. And I found that Chaybyrd did. It’s a book club book and I’m going to try to finish it but I keep dozing off!

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