Author Archives: AroundtheML
I have finally finished THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS by Booth Tarkington
It is available through Project Gutenberg, and there have been three movie versions. One in 1925, titled Pampered Youth, one in 1942 directed by Orson Welles, and a made for TV movie in 2002.
So CR actually finished before me but hasn’t gotten to writing the review.
Basically the whole plot of the the novel, is that there is a spoiled rich kid in the post-civil war and early 20th century, George Amberson Minafer, who is from the Old Rich, and he loves Lucy Morgan, a girl whose father loved George’s mother. As industry gets bigger, and urbanization begins to happen, the Ambersons’ wealth begins to go, and Lucy Morgan’s father’s car company begins to take off. The rest of the book is about his relationship with Lucy, and his reactions to everything that happens around him. I obviously don’t want to ruin the end, but the book sets up the end throughout, and by the time it happens you knew something like it would happen, at least I did.
Alright, I had mixed emotions on this book. I am mad about having to read it on my phone, but I’ll try to ignore that. It was pretty easy to read, but yet you could still feel the weight of the book. It’s pretty short, yet it tells the story of George throughout his life perfectly. He is not a likable character to me, however, and I have no idea how Lucy likes him throughout the book. Having read THE GREAT GATSBY before, I have had to study a lot about the Nouveau Riche vs the Old South, so I definitely got all of the implied tension between Lucy and George in that sense. My main problem with the book is that Isabel, George’s mom, is just so unbelievably enamored with George, and it kind of made me think that she is too over the top. I know there are plenty of spoiled rich kids (Especially at my school, don’t get me started) but I don’t think any parent could put up with what George puts everybody through. He’s obviously extremely stubborn, as he refuses to accept that the automobile will ever be popular, and that his horse was much more trustworthy. Somehow, he seemed, at times, way worse than Scarlett O’Hara could ever be, and then at times, much more likable. If you’ve ever read The Chronicles of Narnia series, especially that books after Prince Caspian, you know who Eustace is. I would say that George is just like Eustace until he goes into the cave and finds the treasure and he becomes, well, I don’t want to ruin it for you.
The funny thing is, I think his dual natures are kind of a part of the genius in the character development. Every character is just so human, that you can’t help but not like the book in some ways, just because all the characters have a flaw you can’t like. The plot seems really simple, and maybe too much like real life in some ways, but I can’t help but have loved this book, despite how many problems I had with it. The other main problem I noticed, especially after reading through http://www.edrants.com/the-magnificent-ambersons-modern-library-100/ review of it, is that Tarkington is extremely racist, and that really rubbed me the wrong way.
Overall, this book is great, and the character development is amazing, and I truly enjoyed the book, no matter how mad I got at the racism, and the format of it on my phone. It’s many different things put together, a moral tale against pride, a story of the Old vs New south, and a turn of the (20th) century novel, plus much more, but it’s all wrapped up into one decently short package well.
I guess I’m going to do a rating, as I feel like that will help me remember if I liked the book or not in the future, but I hate 1-10 just because how limited it is. People always end up doing .5’s or such, and if they have to do that, what was the point of saying it was 1-10. Sorry for the rant, I guess I’ll do it out of 176. Okay, that would be ridiculous, let’s go with out of 20.
I’d say 17/20 since it was really interesting, and I loved it for the most part, but the racism, and George and Isabel’s over the top craziness makes me a little off of it being perfect.
Next up is THE GINGER MAN by J.P. Donleavy, which I will probably have to buy, so at least that’s better than on my phone.
Sorry for the delay on THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS. CR is done because she has had more time the past week, but also because she was reading it on a Kindle, and I was reading it on my phone. At my school eReaders are allowed, but obviously phones aren’t, so I haven’t been able to read in school. I should have it done by next week at the latest, and hopefully I’ll have a physical copy. Can’t wait to actually have out reviews up, and I should be done rather soon.
As soon as I finish my extra credit assignment for AP literature I will begin THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, which CR is already more than 40% in to due to the fact that she did not have to read LIGHT IN AUGUST for school. Good story, good messages, awful read. The parts with Joe Christmas were extremely long, and very rambling. I’ll read it again, and express my distaste for Joe Christmas’s sections again in more detail.
My extra credit assignment was to do a book card (Basically analyzing the entire book’s setting, themes, plot summary, literary devices, critical reviews, etc.) and I got to pick a book from the AP literature reading list. I picked Candide by Voltaire, and let me say, it is hilarious. That was the second book ever I have laughed audibly, more than once or twice. It’s short, and hilarious, and awesome. Go read it, as it will only take a couple of hours at most. If you don’t find it funny, then I’m pretty sure you aren’t human…
I’ll update this once I start.
Update: I’ve now begun the book, but I may have a very irritated review since I have to read it on my iPhone… Despite the fact that paper versions are about 230 pages, the iBook app has it at something like 1500, so I have to flip the “page” around 6 times more per real page. Yes I actually did math on my reading site, that is your daily math lesson.
So today, a commenter on my about page pointed out that there were three doubles I missed, so the list is now 176. I hope that no one is too upset at my mistake 🙂
I’m reading LIGHT IN AUGUST for AP literature right now, and I was thinking about not reading it again, but it gets really good in the middle, so I will probably do it again.
Thanks for all the encouragement, I hope it lives up to it!
I plan on starting next Thursday, because midterms will be over by then. I may have a friend also doing it with me and contributing to the blog. She can add a female perspective to the, admittedly very dead, old, white man-ish, list. I can’t confirm for sure, however she seemed pretty set on doing it with me.
The first book is THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS by Booth Tarkington, and as true with many of the books on the list, I have no idea what to expect. I’ve read 5 of the books on the Modern Library’s list, and around 13 on the Radcliffe list, so I will be going into most of these blind.
I am extremely excited to start, and I will get started as soon as possible. Hopefully the first novel isn’t too hard of a read, so I can get my first review in.
On a random note, I plan noting whether or not each book has a movie each review because I’m interested in seeing how many of the so-called greatest novels ever have warranted a film version.
So, this is my last post as a sane human being (if it could ever be said I was sane). I will be undertaking my 176 book journey after midterms next week starting with THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS by Booth Tarkington. In case you couldn’t tell I will be putting book titles in caps, since they are quite obviously the only important part of this undertaking.
I will not be talking about the author, other than their name, unless there is some direct correlation in the book such as it being semi-autobiographal. The reason for this is that the books should speak for themselves. No one should ever have to know about the author to understand the book (however I do believe that the author’s background is important, just not necessary, and why include unnecessary information?).
My own rules that I have set up for myself are all somewhere within my about page, and my first post.
Other than my posts on the books, I will write random updates on my reading, especially the long ones (I’m especially dreading GONE WITH THE WIND, because I saw the movie, and I detest Scarlett O’Hara, and it’s excruciatingly long). I may post random personal posts sometimes, like my overflowing joy when summer comes, or some college stuff next year when I’m a senior. Between Books, Updates, and Personal expect 2 or 3 posts a week.
I’ll see you when the insanity of midterms end, and the insanity of this journey begins.