Category Archives: Books/Reading

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Disturbingly Familiar, Ms. Wolfe

This tome was an interesting one and I believe Heather and I will differ on this one.  We do talk about the books outside of this blog believe it or not.  And we don’t text, although we love the written word, we do old school phone conversations. And yes, I use hands free and talk during the trek home from work.  Using my time as wisely as I can!!

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolfe is a story about relationships.  Divided into three sections, in a time continuum.  The first section is written from various points of view through a window.  We are introduced to all the chato-the-lighthouse-coverracters as they look through the window.  I enjoyed this section mainly because it is from the view origin of the mother while reading a book to her youngest son.  The story develops each of the characters in an unique way whether a thoughtful stare, a glance or a pointed look through the window.

Section 2 is a time warp through to the future.  An interesting way to pass time in a literary piece.  The section is fragments of time as if describing a photo album through the years but better.  I did not like this section because the big events in the family, good or bad, were inserted via italicized sentences.  Oh by the way the women you became attached to in the first section oh she died.  Moving on..

Section 3 is finally getting to go to the lighthouse.  This section is when the father finally takes the kids, as young adults, begrudgingly to the lighthouse.

This book resonated with me because of the relationships through the book, in particular those between women and men.  Wolfe delves into each type of relationship, mother/son, husband/wife, lovers, and acquaintances.  I enjoyed reading about them all.  Some of them were disturbingly familiar to friends and family relationships I observed over the years.  I would expand on this notion but in the off chance any one is reading this blog, I may offend.

The tortured relationship between the husband and wife based on love was a wonderful tale of many couples.  Not perfect.  They knew each other extremely well and loved each other for all the imperfections and faults.  The children’s misunderstanding of their parents marriage develops through the story.  Each interpreting glances, phrases and body language differently.  Some of these kids will need therapy, I am sure!!  Their father is a tough character to explain.  He is not the kindest nor the most loving father, this is for sure.  He is a lost soul, in my opinion, in a life that he does not feel is as he planned.  Father is a melancholy, dreamer seeking to hold on to his diminishing prestige.  Mother is, as all mothers through time, trying to hold life for her family together.  Then she dies.  (See, isn’t that awful to just throw it out there? Shiver.)

 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….

I liked this tome and give it an EMM… I almost gave it an EMME but the Time Warp section did me in.  I am behind Heather but trying to catch up!  Half way through An American Tragedy.  (I know it won’t be a happy ending just by the title)

Grab a book, any book and READ!!

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You Can’t Handle the Truth – An American Tragedy

An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser is a gripping novel that tells the story of Clyde Griffiths, who is being raised by his devoutly religious missionary parents. They are poor and he is poorly educated due to their vagabond lifestyle. The narrative continues to focus on Clyde as he gets his first job outside the family mission as a bellhop in a swanky Kansas City hotel. There we meet the cast of characters who will drive the first part of the book and who will influence Clyde greatly in his formative years.

AnAmericanTragedy

After an incident that is fully detailed in the course of his Kansas City escapades, Clyde moves to Chicago and meets his father’s brother, the wealthy Samuel Griffiths, who invites Clyde to work in his shirt collar factory, but does not invite him into the wealthier social circles to which Samuel belongs. Here Clyde enters into a forbidden relationship with innocent farm girl Roberta, and into a forbidden relationship (for entirely different reasons) with popular socialite Sondra.

It’s difficult to sketch out all the plot points without spoiling some of the essentials, but suffice it to say the book was absolutely riveting, even with its hefty 800-plus-page count. Reading the novel is basically watching someone’s life unfold, and observing the consequences of actions and decisions continually made throughout that lifetime. Clyde is a social climber, so many of his decisions are based on the whims of what he thinks he’ll gain by each choice set before him. It’s actually an excellent tome on peer pressure, not only with his decisions, but also with others’ choices, and reasoning for those choices, as well.

One of the best parts of the novel is a masterfully written court case, which keeps the reader’s interest by varying the distance to which we participate in the events – sometimes we viewed it with actual dialogue and cross examination, sometimes we viewed it from a summary of the events, sometimes we viewed it through newspaper reports, etc. It was gripping, and was similar in tone to the movie A Few Good Men.

I loved this novel – just as I was thinking it would transfer well to film, I discovered that it has been adapted for film, television, stage, and Opera thus far. In fact, A Place in the Sun, which won six Academy Awards and the first ever Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture, is based on this novel.

Eventually I’ll get something done, but I can’t put this book down!!

from me!

Onwards we go – Keep Reading! Review of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter coming soon…