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The Magnificent Ambersons

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.

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The Other Author

New Year’s is the time for setting goals and trying new things, so when JJ told me about the lists of books he had found and planned on reading I decided to take the challenge with him. JJ and I are totally different people so it’ll be interesting to see how our opinions differ. I also thought it’d be nice to give a girl’s perspective on all the books. I’m a little nervous though because I don’t usually like sharing my opinions with the whole world, but there’s a first time for everything right? Anyways…I’m excited about reading all of these books and can’t wait to see where they’ll take me.

Also, I’d just like to say that your opinions are welcome too! If you disagree with me, please tell me why. I love hearing other people’s opinions so don’t hold back!

-CR

Note from JJ:

So now there are two, and we begin around Thursday. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS is up first, and apparently isn’t good enough for our public library, or our high school library… So I’ll be reading it through Project Gutenberg, and since I am reading it through this amazing program, I decided to note on the review of each which ones are available through Project Gutenberg.

Can’t wait to begin, and we’ll see how it goes.

The Beginning

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.

JJ

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