Friday, August 1, 2008
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
Recommendation: YES! I enjoyed this book. I recommend it.
What I liked: I couldn't put this down! Really, it isn't a fast read, so I had to stop reading two nights, acknowledging that I couldn't finish it even if I stayed up later.
I was totally drawn into this story. I think something that I liked was that even the characters you are rooting for have faults. I think they are realistic heroes. I liked that maybe Helen's aunt was right. So often in books and movies the adults, well-meaning or not, are wrong. I liked when Helen was giving advice to Esther, she is talking about not marrying for money, a title, etc, but then she says something like love isn't enough either. I don't think the mistakes made in the book were entirely the fault of the characters. It's probably pretty realistic.
I don't think the book is too predictable. Some little parts you can figure out but in a nice way. Like--oh of course they will get married. I always like those tidy endings anyway. Even more I like when they actually happen in real life! SO rare.
What I didn't like: Well, it was hard for me to get into this bookat the start. I think the descriptions are a little much, but very typical of the time period. I felt like skimming parts, but tried hard to actually read it all. Once I was into the story, probably 6 or 7 chapters, then I was totally hooked.
A funny quote:
Talking about who to marry, Gilbert is saying "I shall expect to find more pleasure in making my wife happy and comfortable, than in being made so by her." His mom, (whose advice to Helen is horrible!) responds with this:
"You'll do your business, and she, if she's worthy of you, will do her's but it's your business to please yourself, and her's to please you." Then talking about her own husband, "he was steady and punctual, seldom found fault without a reason, always did justice to my good dinners, and hardly ever spoiled my cookery by delay--and that's as much as any woman can expect of any man."
In Gilbert's defence, his reaction to his friend is, "Is it so, Halford? Is that the extent of your domestic virtues; and does your happy wife exact nor more?"
I think an obvious theme in the book is how boys were raised at the time. Gilbert's mom says really stupid things to Helen about raising her son. It is so obvious to the reader even before her journal, as to why she would raise him that way. But Gilbert himself is so spoiled by his mom. As is Mr. Hargrave.
I probably should try to read Wuthering Heights--I haven't ever, and Jane Eyre--its been years, but I'll probably take a break first! It would be good to compare the sister's writings.
I do recommend this book, especially if you like this time period and style. And if not, give it a try anyway! If you do, PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF IT!!!