Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Portrait of a Lady

I will make this short and direct: I did finish this book (late) and it left me so unsatisfied. It's a book about a figurative train wreck and it's not until quite close to the end that the band-aid gets ripped off and you feel some relief for the main character, Isabel. If I can take you back to the beginning of the book you might understand why someone would stick with Henry James' work. Isabel Archer is a character I wanted to associate with Elizabeth Bennett, Jo March, or some other intelligent, free-spirited 1800s woman. Isabel is these things but she surrounds herself with terrible people and marries the wrong person by about half-way through. I was waiting for redemption or resolve to this character's drama for hundreds of pages which James' only gives a slight taste of at the end but it's not enough to handle the heavy regret and the consequences of being female in Victorian Europe.

I love a good classic novel and I go through periods where I devour them. This one (with it's ridiculous sentence structures--I hope Michelle posts her sentence diagram) was not a joy and was what most people hate about classic novels. So there.

I'm currently reading something completely different. It's a quick read so far and a good distraction from all of the craziness of life (my life involves a lot of wallpaper removal and a baby in my belly who just won't stop kicking). I plan on picking up a few other books before getting to dig into Franny and Zooey at the close of this month. I love Franny and Zooey and can't wait to revisit their never ending conversations.

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