Thursday, April 8, 2010

Final Review - Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, 1936

Plot: ohmywordthisbookissolong! So that's the first word I can use to describe the plot...LONG. I believe it spans about 11 years, including the entirety of the Civil War and the majority of the Restoration that followed it. As you can imagine, a person goes through many many experiences in this length of time, and changes a great deal. So there was a lot to get through. I don't even know how to give it a score. It was a good story, and if you don't know the famous line (though just slightly different from the book) that ends the movie, it's not my fault. But you should know it doesn't exactly go the happily-ever-after route. Which is disappointing to me, because I learn more and more what a hopeless romantic I really am. But since this is my blog and I make the rules, I have decided to refuse to post a score on this fictional biography's plot.

Style: I'm not sure if this fits under style, per se, but holy cow I feel like I learned a ton about the Civil War and particularly the South reading this book. I recognize that this is historical fiction, but it was super interesting coming from a "Yankee" raised in our amazing public school system to recognize Lincoln as a hero for freeing the slaves. Which, of course slavery = bad, obviously, I hope that would go without saying, but everything else that played into it and the treatment of the South after the war was crazy! Very very informative on a cultural level for me. Overall I think it was good stylistically. Easy to read, easy to follow. Interestingly written. For example, when describing our main character, Scarlett O'Hara, Mitchell used descriptions that Scarlett would have thought of herself. And when dealing with that particular character, Mitchell would only write about things that Scarlett knew or felt. When she would occasionally write a part of the story that Scarlett was not present for, you would start to get a real idea of other peoples' emotions and motivations and learn how misguided Scarlett was. Good. 8/10

Rereadablilty: Rarely if ever. It was good, but it was just so LONG!

Final Decision: Shelf it

Friday, February 5, 2010

Final Review - Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte, 1847

It took me a very long time to post this, partly because of lack of motivation (you can help! just comment once in a while...) and partly because I was super eager to read a Christmas gift I got called "King Leopold's Ghost" which frankly, blew my mind. It was an excellent read about the colonial history of the Congo (wow, that sounds boring, but I swear, it's amazing). So I'm a book and a good month or so removed from Jane Eyre, which I'm sure will color this review. So keep that in mind.

Plot: Super good. So good that I was tempted to flip through the last few pages just to see if things were going to go the way that I really wanted them to. (I did. I didn't really read anything, just looked for a certain name.) In case you don't know, Jane is an orphan who has a rough go of it, becomes a governess, falls in love, runs away, etc. Good drama, not all predictable stuff at all either, which was fun. 9/10

Style: Hands down the most romantic book I've ever read. Other well written books about love often tell you what characters think and do to get you to understand their feelings. Bronte did an excellent job of describing the feelings to you, so much so that I felt like I knew exactly what Jane was going through at times. I was impressed that the language used 150+ years ago could still make so much sense. 9/10

Hotness of the main character: Not Jane, of course, we'll talk about Mr. Rochester. The guy was old, not at all attractive, and prone to hiding the truth. But points for the battle of wits he frequently had with Jane, and for how much he loved her. 4/10

Re-readability: Occasionally

Final decision: Shelf it.