WOUld have loved to have joined in but am only on page 105 or something. FOund it v. hard to get into (doesn't help being 10 weeks post-birth). More into it now but agree with not a lot happening but am interested enough to keep reading I think to see what happens (does anything happen ???).
Evening everyone, kicking off a bit early as we might wrap up a bit earlier this time (half term tiredness is already felling me) - and it looks like we might not be that long over this one....
I feel a bit sheepish. I started off with excitement (cf my last post), took the first 50 pages happily, slowed down for the next 50 and then wondered if I could possibly go and read last Saturday's Guardian Weekend magazine instead.
Just like everyone else, I found not a lot happening. And at the start, I didn't mind about that at all - the writing was good, and the intrigue was there to a degree. What had Jack done and would he make up with his father etc.
But I think it needed a change of pace, a change of scene, something to change. It all got too repetitive, and then l couldn't care about these three people. I felt that I was ploughing through a meal that was good for me but just not very tasty.
I still haven't finished it (am about 3/4 of the way through, skim read the last 1/4 just to get what happened) and I'm not sure I really mind. I've never done that with a bookclub book before.
Where is everyone at now - and did you find your opinions changing whilst reading it?
I'm just so glad I'm not alone in finding this book a bit repetitive. I also haven't finished it yet and I'm not sure I will, although I hate leaving a book unfinished.
I think one of the main issues for me was that I often found I had to re-read certain passages in order to ascertain exactly which character was being written about. Although I think the author intended the reader to take things slowly and learn to understand these characters, and perhaps take things at the slow pace of life they were currently living, I just found this a bit tedious.
I do agree that these characters feel very real and I think that the author really encourages you to think about the nature of family relationships, which, as we all know, are not black and white.
These are things that would have appealed to me when I was an English teacher - i.e. plenty to write about in an essay - but in my current situation, I want something a bit more fast-paced that I can easily get into, even if only for five minutes at a time!! I like to be given something to think about, but this just didn't press the right buttons!! Last month, as I was reading 'Middlesex' I just kept thinking of things I wanted to say on here and things I wanted to ask about, but with this one, I just keep thinking about next month's book!
That's right, there were complex issues and religious metaphors and subtle dialogue: all sorts of meaty things to put in your Eng Lit exam. And there's no doubt that the writing is excellent.
Interestingly many of the most glowing reviews I read were written by highly academic journalists who analyse each sentence with increasingly obscure references. They give the impression that if you feel its not gripping you, then you're a philistine with dubious taste and no distinction.
I wonder now if it DOES make a difference being a sequel. A friend has read Gilead and talked about Reverend Ames - I think Jack's interaction with him in the novel is very opaque and mystifying if you haven't read the first book.
Geraldine, I don't think you've lost the plot, I think maybe you found it where the rest of us gave up...
I find parts very moving too, especially the aspect of coming home and finding it not the Eden you remember.
This was a quote I found from one of the reviews:
Behind all of Robinsons work lies an abiding interest in the question of heavenly restoration. HOME ponders the question of return. The Boughton children come home to a strange, old-fashioned Iowa town, but the return is hardly the balm it promises to be, for home is too personal, too remembered, too disappointing. Eden is exile, not Heaven:
The other part I found deeply moving was this bit from the book:
You see something beautiful in a child, and you almost live for it, you feel as though you would die for it, but it isnt yours to keep or to protect. And if the child becomes a man who has no respect for himself, its just destroyed till you can hardly remember what it was.
The book made me think, it had strong points to make. I think it is my own demands on what a book must do to keep me awake in the evenings that are to blame.
I do think you perhaps need to read Gilead with it, and then sit down with a good few hours to really immerse yourself in the whole family saga.
I wondered if Jack having another child with Della was meant to be a redemption for the dead child? Sounds rather facile when I put it like that, but there were so many references to good and evil, saint and sinner, and it seemed as if the second child was his resurrection.