Lynne King's Reviews > The Awakening

The Awakening by Kate Chopin
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it was amazing
bookshelves: definitely-to-read, 2017-books-to-be-read


This is a work about a rather unusual woman, Edna Montpellier who lives in New Orleans with her husband Léonce, a rather successful businessman, and their two children, Etienne and Raoul. Part of the book is also based on their vacation in Grand Isle on the Gulf of Mexico.

The scene is soon set as Edna is beginning to feel unsettled after six years of a rather bland marriage to an older man and feels that there is something lacking in her life. An incident then occurs that soon sets her on a course that cannot be changed. She doesn’t know what it is but she’s determined to find out.

Now this doesn’t sound a very interesting book you may ask, and perhaps somewhat pedestrian, but this is where you will be proved wrong. The reason being, it was published in 1899, a period when a woman was meant to believe and to maintain that her place was purely in the home, having children and taking care of her husband. As was the case with Edna but one day she went unexpectedly completely against the establishment when to her own amazement friendship, love and desire plunged into the arena. Her whole personality changed but I believe this really came about when she learned to swim for she discovered a strength within herself that she had never known existed. I’m not a feminist as such but I could indeed empathize with Edna when she casts off some of her shackles and leaps with élan into the unknown, without a thought for whatever the outcome.

I also began to sense the similarities of behavior with Emma Bovary.

Set for the majority of the time by the sea, water will turn out to be the catalyst in this remarkable work. Edna discovered water and then she…. But it’s up to you to read this little literary gem!


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Reading Progress

March 31, 2013 – Shelved
March 31, 2013 – Shelved as: definitely-to-read
January 10, 2017 – Started Reading
January 10, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
January 10, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
January 22, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017-books-to-be-read
January 22, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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message 1: by Kalliope (new)

Kalliope Inviting comparison with Mme Bovary... I have reacted similarly to J-P.


message 2: by Margitte (new)

Margitte Engrossing review, Lynne! Mmmm... I hope I can find time to read it.


message 3: by Violet (new)

Violet wells Always been curious about this, Lynne. Inspiring to encounter your enthusiasm.


Merna When you make yourself acquainted with the history of 1890s U.S, you can really appreciate the book far more. A lot people don't think this is a feminist work. I strongly disagree. And it not only focuses on inequality based on sex, it also manages to subtly focus on race. The norton critical edition is very helpful.


Lynne King Jean-Paul wrote: "Delightful review, Lynne and I'm intrigued by the reference to Emma Bovary and the water... Thank you for sharing!"

You should read the book Jean-Paul and you will soon find out!


message 6: by Himanshu (new)

Himanshu Your enthusiasm always rubs off wonderfully in your reviews, Lynne, and this one is not exception. Wonderful write-up. I have this one already in my radar.


message 7: by Henry (new)

Henry Avila NICE REVIEW,not the type I would normally read, though, Lynne.


Lynne King Himanshu wrote: "Your enthusiasm always rubs off wonderfully in your reviews, Lynne, and this one is not exception. Wonderful write-up. I have this one already in my radar."

Himanshu, do try and bring this one closer to you! I'm sure you will love it. I was quite surprised by my interest as initially the book didn't seem at all exciting but gradually I was taken over by some kind of magical spell and couldn't put the book down until I finished it. That happens to me very rarely!


Lynne King Kalliope wrote: "Inviting comparison with Mme Bovary... I have reacted similarly to J-P."

How interesting Kall that both you and Jean-Paul picked on the same thing. You must think alike. The water was so important. I didn't realise this until the middle of the night when I suddenly woke up thinking about it!


Lynne King Margitte wrote: "Engrossing review, Lynne! Mmmm... I hope I can find time to read it."

Thanks for that Margitte. It is indeed a gem to read.


Lynne King Violet wrote: "Always been curious about this, Lynne. Inspiring to encounter your enthusiasm."

Enthusiasm is a wonderful thing Violet. The day I lose it, I will indeed shoot myself!


Lynne King Merna wrote: "When you make yourself acquainted with the history of 1890s U.S, you can really appreciate the book far more. A lot people don't think this is a feminist work. I strongly disagree. And it not only ..."

This is indeed a feminist work Merna but I'm intrigued why you are bringing race into the equation?


Lynne King Jean-Paul wrote: "Lynne wrote: "Jean-Paul wrote: "Delightful review, Lynne and I'm intrigued by the reference to Emma Bovary and the water... Thank you for sharing!"

You should read the book Jean-Paul and you will ..."


Thank you Jean-Paul!


Lynne King Henry wrote: "NICE REVIEW,not the type I would normally read, though, Lynne."

I agree with you Henry, not my type of book either, but a gut feeling (which I regrettably follow and can sometimes be horribly wrong!) told me to read this book!


message 15: by Lynne (last edited Jan 23, 2017 07:24AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynne King Oh Jean-Paul they are absolutely wonderful. I read them last night. I'm a trifle concerned about the interpretations: there are many colourful motifs referring to red, black and white and yet Yair Mazor doesn't seem to think that these 75 poems all relate to the holocaust and I believe they do. I thought about these poems all last night. But what a tragic figure Fogel was - constantly wandering just like the wandering jew. I'm going to write a review as this is a very special person but I need to do some research. Thank you immensely Jean-Paul for introducing me to Fogel. So serendipitous!


Councillor Amazing review, Lynne! I read this book at about this time of the year in 2016 and sadly didn't find it very memorable, which is why I couldn't give it a higher rating personally, but I was also intrigued by the themes and developments you mentioned in your review. Happy to see that you gave Chopin's novel all the stars! :)


message 17: by Lynne (last edited Jan 23, 2017 11:06AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynne King Well Fabian we all read and react to books differently. The world would be very boring if we all liked the same books. I must confess for myself that I was also surprised I loved it so much! The book kind of crept up on me unawares and I couldn't stop thinking about it. Strange really - very much like love. The same comparison.


message 18: by Seemita (new) - added it

Seemita I am totally with you in this, Lynne; it is not the plot but the treatment of it that makes a work rise from the mediocre and cement its place. I am aware of this book's good reputation and thus, your enthusiasm only seals it good. Glad it worked!


Lynne King What a lovely comment Seemita.

I've been very bad getting to reading reviews but hope to get that sorted out shortly!


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