Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Portrait Of A Reader

I'm feeling like a very bad reader right now.

I have spent a month on Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady, and I am just barely halfway through.

I am just...not feeling it. I usually eat up Victorian literature like blueberry mini-scones, but I cannot...am I supposed to like any of these people? I don't trust them. I haven't gotten to know them very well, and I just don't trust them. Osmond in particular creeps me the hell out. I am sure that his relationship to his daughter is supposed to be "affectionate" and "loving", but all I see is "manipulative" and a "pervy". When he refers to her as his "little convent flower" my skin crawls. Something just does not seem right there. And who the hell names their kid Pansy?

What is Madame Merle's deal? Is Ralph in love with his own cousin? Is Isabel actually looking for independence? I don't know, I don't care, and for the life of me I don't know why. How did things get to this point? This is like being in a boring but stable relationship: you know something's not quite there, but you don't know what it is. How did I end up in this relationship? Are things ever going to change? Jesus Christ, The Portrait Of A Lady, we're drowning here, don't you see that? Don't pretend like everything's fine. I don't even know who you are anymore! THIS RELATIONSHIP IS SUFFOCATING ME!

Maybe The Portrait of a Lady is just not a good subway book.

Am I the only one who feels this way about this novel? If anyone out there has read The Portrait of a Lady, tell me: should I stick this out, or move on to other books? Does it get better? More interesting? Less passive-aggressively pervy? I hear Moll Flanders is pretty hot. Is she available?

What if I read The Portrait Of A Lady Monday through Friday and see other books on the weekend? Will that make me "that book whore"? I am in such a moral conundrum...much like in Victorian literature.

Damn this book.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Kat said...

Books, like men, either grab my interest or they don't. While some don't necessarily get me hooked in the first 5 pages, I never have the patience to wait until I'm halfway done. Go ahead and be a book whore. Your satisfaction is really all that counts! ;-)

10:42 PM  
Blogger yellowdog granny said...

sometimes I will read a book because some one reccomended it to me..and I will slog through it chapter after chapter, thinking they know me, they wouldn't steer me wrong...but not all books are all to each reader..toss it and go to something else..then a year from now..try it again..I did that for years with Ulysses...I still haven't gotten past page 19...

11:06 PM  

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