Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Pearl - Final Review

The Pearl, Joh Steinbeck, 1945

Plot: Overall, predictable. But, as this is more like a fable, that is to be expected. This story (originally published in "Woman's Home Companion" in case that's interesting to anyone) reads very much like some Native American legend that I would have read in middle school. It has a good, though familiar, message; happiness can't be bought, as well as perhaps that one should accept one's station in life - aspirations are dangerous! Throw in something about not counting chickens and you've got the idea. It would follow then, that the ending wouldn't be a pleasant one and now I'm stuck. I have set a precedent of grading these books purely on story and not on the point behind them, however clear or vague that might be. But in this case I can't separate them. On the one hand, depressing. On the other I know it wouldn't make sense not to be. So...uh...6/10? Sometimes I hate the numbers.

Style: Super easy to read and beautiful. Seriously beautiful. I know I rave about Jane Austen because she is my favorite, but I would never describe her writing as beautiful. This guy knows how to get you in your soul. His descriptions are unique enough to really make me try to imagine the scene. Woven throughout the book is the theme of song. I can't do it justice so I won't try, all I'll say is that it has made me listen for music that I've never heard. I know that sounds really lame, just trust me. The book is super short. Read it and you'll know what I mean.

Hotness of the main character: Well Kino is a tanned, hard-working island man, so lots of points for that. But he also goes kind of crazy and develops a bit of a temper, so...5/10.

The character who I would most like to be: no thanks.

Re-readability: Rarely. It is short and easy to read, so that is in it's favor here, but it's also depressing. But it's beautiful.

Final decision: I can't decide. I think that I'll Shelf It, just because of the music.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sense and Sensibility - Final Review

Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen, 1811

I can't help by prefacing this review with a statement: I love love love Jane Austen. I fully admit it. Prior to this one, I had only read P&P by her, and had heard from many sources that it was by far her best work, which none of her other novels came close to matching. So though I was predisposed to like this book (having already enjoyed the movie as well), I wasn't as biased as you might think. That being said, I absolutely ate this book up. I have more reading time now that I'm riding the bus to work and I really couldn't wait to get on the bus and crack this book open. Loved it. Now, onto the official review:

Plot: I would say predictable, but I've seen the movie a couple of times so I'm not really sure. It definitely was a great narrative; it had tragic love, conflict, and above all, an exceedingly happy ending. Nothing too surprising goes on, but it is completely satisfying. 9.5/10

Style: The more comfortable I get with Austen, the more I love her style. Her use of sarcasm, both in describing the characters and in the words of the characters themselves, is funny and even potentially underused. She describes some conversations in great detail and leaves others to the reader's imagination, yet I never felt slighted by the details left out. There is no time wasted in superfluous description, which bores me to no end. She shows all of the traits of each character, whether flattering or not. There are even a few instances in which you change your opinion of a character just as Elinor or Marianne go through the same change of mind. 10/10

Hotness of the main character: Well the main characters are female, so I will defer on this point. And Austen knows exactly how hot she wishes each of the main male characters to be at different stages throughout the story, and tells you so, so this isn't really a question of opinion anyway.

The character who I would most like to be: I don't think there's any question to this one. Elinor is the older sister who basically holds her crazy family together. And she gets to marry Hugh Grant...er...I mean Edward. :)

Re-readability: is daily an option? Seriously though, I could read this every year.

Final decision: SHELF IT, DUH.

Last thought: I wish people in real life would act like these characters in one respect: when someone realized they were wrong, all of them would instantly go to the offended party and beg for forgiveness. If someone criticized the actions of another, an instant apology would follow for the offense. It seems like "difficult" conversations would be just so much easier to have. So people: act like you're in a Jane Austen novel. :)