It’s time for our February update! The Classics Challenge is hosted by You, Me and a Cup of Tea.
Our February theme was to read a classic you have been dreading. I think it’s safe to say that Cocktail Phoenix and I were definitely dreading our picks, but I’ll let the reviews speak for themselves!
Cocktail Phoenix: So I figured, I should just strap on a pair and dive into a Charles Dickens book since he is, as previously mentioned, a dreaded author and that is the theme of the month after all. After some contemplation and a little bit of help from the Book Charmers ladies, I finally decided to go with A Christmas Carol due to its short length.
I can tell you right away, I won’t change my opinion about Dickens, much, but I will say this: the book wasn’t completely terrible either. And no, it wasn’t (only) because it was short.
It took me almost the entire first chapter to get into the swing of things and most of all the writing. Dickens has a knack for repetitive exclamations by characters, and it was driving me nuts.
What I would have liked to see more, what Dickens is fairly renowned for: the description of the working class people’s lives. While it was incorporated into the various homes at Christmas, it wasn’t quite as detailed as I had hoped.
The moral of the story was a valid one however, and one that is definitely just as important today as it was in the 1800s.
Nevertheless, it isn’t a story I would read to my children on Christmas Day.
In the end, I decided to award the book 2 1/2 charms.
Serenity: Sigh, one of the hardest parts of reviewing Rebecca is how do I say ANYTHING without spoiling the entire book?
I was interested in this book based on the synopsis on Goodreads (found here), and especially the fact that they draw on Jane Eyre as a comparison. I love Jane Eyre, but I do not love gothic stories. That little conundrum has been why Rebecca is on my list, but also a classic that I dread. And it is gothic to it’s core. Last month, I read (and loved!) Frankenstein, which is admittedly gothic in style, but this month I think I’m just over it. It’s winter, I’m cold, and I want something cheerful. Not these dreary stories where you are forever trying to overcome the “other woman”.
The novel itself is well written and easy to read. I did find the first 60 or so pages very frustrating as I felt I was thrust into the middle of this story without much explanation as to what was really going on. Honestly, this is a plot device, because that is exactly how our mousy little narrator feels as well. And it is well done, I’ll admit that. We are shown throughout the book how over and over again the narrator is overshadowed by the presence of the dead Rebecca.
Eventually, I learned to roll with it and was satisfied to learn things as they came. As the mystery was unraveled, I was more intrigued despite myself, and then when the plot twist came I was completely not expecting it! So brava, du Maurier, for surprising me with that one!
Overall, though, this book was just not for me. Was it a good book and an interesting read? Yes. It would be lovely to read with friends in a book club. Is it something I would just sit down and read again for pleasure? Not likely.
Curious to know what our intrepid Classics Readers are reading for March? Check back March 3rd to find out!