Friday, February 10, 2012

Persuasion- written a little while ago

Well, I can tick another book off my list, I just finished persuasion. If that's not on the book list then I will just give up completely. There are spoilers , obviously.

I liked persuasion but far less than I liked pride and prejudice and northanger abbey. Its strange that northanger abbey is often left out or not read when i think its far more interesting than persuasion. Do you know what happens in persuasion? People get persuaded. Although I don't think any more persuaded than all the other books, its just, this time it happens to the main character so it gets the name. The main characters name is Anne. Plain old Anne. She is nice, reasonably attractive, able to get along with everybody and has a good set of principals. But I would never go for here. She is the kind of girl that is your best friend but in terms of love you always saw her as a bit asexual. I just want to shake her and say "get excited!! Fight for the attention of the one you love and have a bitch with your girlfriends about men." But noo, she is all about concealing her emotions with strategic head dips and walks to the piano on the other side of the room. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, I certainly wouldn't want to hang ut with her though, I'd probably knock her over and she would never get a word in edgeways, which I would feel guilty about. So that's Anne. She has a sister called Mary. I'm going to hazard a guess and say that there was someone in Jane austins acquaintance that she didn't like very much named Mary. Mary in pride and prejudice is an antisocial bore and Mary in persuasion is a pain in the arse. She is really jealous and precious and woe is me-ish. And she thinks she is so fricken entitled! And a hypocrite! My goodness she pissed me off, and her husband was such a great guy, I felt pretty bad for him. See, he actually proposed to Anne but she refused him I'll explain why in a sec, and so then he married Mary much to the chagrin of his sisters and mother who all like Anne much more than Mary.

So, when Anne was 19 she fell in love and got engaged to this spunk called frederick who was by all definitions a top bloke trying to make his way in the world of sailing. Her mother like figure (a robyn, if you will,) strongly advised her against the marriage because she would be marrying lower and there was no gaurantee of his becoming rich. Did I mention that her whole family, spare her, were proud, haughty and had a strong sense of self importance? So she was 19 and persuaded out of this marriage. He went away to mend his broken heart and get rich at sea while she 'got over' him, but mysteriously refused other marriage proposals for no good reason. Fast forward eight years- Anne is well and truly over the hill when captain Wentworth (spunky Fred) returns to town with all his spunkiness in search of a wife. I know what your thinking, they fall in love again. WRONG! He really doesn't seem that interested in her anymore and shows no signs of angsty silence that so afflicted Mr darcy ( and Edward Cullen) when in love. Him and Louise, one of Anne's mates and her sisters sister in law, hit it off and it seems on the brink of engagement when a bit of larrikining goes too far and Louise gives herself  a brain injury. Don't worry, she recovers. Anyway, I'm getting too bogged down in story telling. So Wentworth realises he loves Anne when Louise falls in love with someone else and he doesn't care (its more complex but I'll spare you) and then he goes to bath, where all the action happens, and has to vy with Mr Elliot, who has Anne's family's approval, for her love. Wentworth wins and they live happily ever after. So they did end up together After all.
I don't know, it was a tad boring for my liking and i thought a lot of really important aspects were brushed over while other stuff was over talked about. I tell you what though, I did not see Louise's fall coming at all. One minute everyone is having fun and the next minute Louise is lifeless on the concrete. For a good half a page I kept expecting her to open her eyes with wicked michief and say 'lol jks, you though I was dead.' She is the type to do it. So bravo Jane, a well thrown curve all. You should bowl for india, then Clarke might have actually gone out.
OK I've started talking about cricket- a sure sign that this book review ought to end now.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

This book was ridiculously tedious, uninteresting and incredibly difficult to wade through!
Had it been any longer I would probably have given up! However I became determined not to be beaten by a children's book*!
The character of Toad is horribly unsympathetic. The 'hijinks', such as they are, are unrealistic** and not overly engaging. Perhaps Toad was meant to be written as a duffer and a slimy character; but Rat is also condescending to Mole, not listening to him and presuming he knows more - much in the vein of Toad's behaviour. Even Badger is quite harsh to Toad. Perhaps that is what they believe Toad needs but being mean, lecturing and eventually imprisoning someone is hardly good manners.
In the case of Toad it is clear that he is not interested in changing his ways, so the others are really wasting time and energy.

Until half-way through, the book doesn't even suffer from the smurfette trope because there are no women at all. When we finally meet some, they are unfavourable caricatures of the worst traits of women (as perceived by men). The gaoler's daughter is stereotypical mother figure; caring for Toad's every need.

Her aunt is money-hungry and unrealistically willing risk her job to help a prisoner escape. 
The barge washer-woman entraps Toad into looking like a fool (how dare she!).
Notice that none of these women have names? Now, to be fair, none of the human characters have names and the animals are all named by their species. But seriously? No women animals? Otter, who has children, is not even mentioned to have a wife; let alone her having a part in the story.

Lastly, the animals eat chicken, ham, bacon and tongue. How is this okay? The first horse is mentioned to have a personality, despite being a beast of burden, but later Toad steals and sells a horse, a process throughout which the horse never offers an opinion - even when a price for him*** is being negotiated.

My recommendation is that no one ever read this book again. It isn't worth it.


*This may have been karma, on account of I was (am) trying to cheat by reading all the easy books, so that I will have read more than Emmeline, it would have taken less time to read a 'hard' book I'm sure!
** For example Toad receives a sentence of one year for stealing a car, three for 'furious driving' and 15 years for giving cheek to the police. All of which gets rounded up to 20 years. What? In what universe is 'giving cheek' 5x worse than reckless driving and 15x worse than stealing a car?? Also would Toad really be allowed to return to his house after escaping from a 20 year sentence - did the police not think to check there for the escaped prisoner?
***  I'm going to assume the horse was male - everyone else was