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Claudius, Emperor Nerd

Here it is the review that I have not been able to put down on paper.  Heather did a great job of the synopsis of the story in her post, I cannot surpass her.  (Heather’s Post)  So instead I will simple talk about my impressions and thoughts about this book.  I enjoyed this book, intrigued even, and found myself seeking it out to read.  I really wanted to know where Claudius’ life would wander despite the strong, domineering people in his life. As the story begins, the reader is introduced to the Emperor Claudius while the tale implies that there is a backdrop to this history one must know.  How in the world does the dork of the family become the Emperor?  A nerd ruling the empire, you have my attention.  I think I empathized a bit with Claudius.  As I have proclaimed, I am a nerd and proud to be one – now.  In high school being a nerd is not easy.  I never fit in, never belonged to “the group” just like Claudius.  He loved books and history, whether from necessity or passion, it doesn’t matter, he was a nerd.  He was ridiculed and persecuted to a point that his family did not bother about him.  He was invisible.  He was unimportant. He was able to pursue his passions since no one gave one thought to him. (Something that most Romans were not able to do)

I love the underdog, I love a good basketball game when the spread is 20 points.  A that magic moment when the team that could never possibly win, digs deep whether by skill, luck or fate, wins!  There is not a better feeling to cheer on a team to victory in this situation.  The thrill!  I found that I was cheering for Claudius, I was routing for the underdog.  I had high expectations of the nerd.  One nerd to rule them all! During the reign of Caligula, I found myself changing my opinion and being a bit disappointed in Ol’ Claudius’ behavior.  I was not surprised by the games and intrigue of the Roman court… I grew up in the Washington, DC area where politics reign supreme.  In fact, every organization has politics and really to survive is to conform to the organizational norms or find another job.  Yet should you conform when the norms are abnormal? The Roman court was a bit extreme, I will concede.  Death is a bit harsh for non-conformance.  Yet when we get to Caligula’s reign we encounter an insane emperor with no controls, no inhibitions, no morals.  Here is where I wanted Claudius, as Caligula’s uncle, to intervene somehow.  Claudius went with the winds of change and stayed ‘faithful’ to Caligula mostly.  He would indulge Caligula in his fanatical ramblings.  It made me think of the times when people, good people, stand by and let a bad thing happen.  Is it the survival instinct?  Do all I can to survive and hope upon hope the bad phase goes away?  A turtle instinct, to tuck into your shell and protect yourself and damn the others?  I think Claudius was doing this… his nephew was so heinous it was inconceivable to a normal human mind the perversity of his actions. His uncle went into survivor mode – conform and live.  Survivor denial.  I wanted him to be stronger, the true underdog – yet he did not live up to my expectations.  He was simply a survivor, not a hero.  A weak, smart, ordinary guy who accidentally falls into ruling an empire.  Read the book and find out how Claudius become emperor and fulfills numerous prophecies.  It was interesting!  The ME’s rating? I give it a…

 Make this one a bedtime book. It’s a great read, but I can close it, turn off the light, and zzzz….

Make this one a bedtime book. It’s a great read, but I can close it, turn off the light, and zzzz….

GRAB a book, any book and READ!

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One response to “Claudius, Emperor Nerd

  1. Love it – you worked in sports and turtles – Go Terps!

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