Monday, December 31, 2012

Classic Double Challenge...Just In The Nick Of Time


My friend Melissa started this challenge just this year and I decided I really needed to join. I chose to just read one classic and a retelling. It's a dang good thing I didn't try to do more than that because I barely managed to read the two books for it! I decided at some point this last summer to read The Scarlet Letter and the retelling, When She Woke. When She Woke took me like maybe a week to read. The Scarlet Letter took me four freaking months! Argh! Anywho, here we go.


Title The Scarlet Letter
By Nathaniel Hawthorne
Genre Classic
Pages 247
Recommended by Me

First Sentence A throng of bearded men, in sad-coloured garments and grey steeple-crowned hats, inter-mixed with women, some wearing hoods, others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooded edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes.

Synopsis
Hester Pryne has been sentenced with the crime of adultery....does anyone NOT know what this one's about? Really???


Title When She Woke
By Hillary Jordan
Genre
Pages 344
Recommended by Kaye

First Sentence When she woke, she was red.


Synopsis
Hannah lives in a world where a person's crime is told by the color of their skin. She has been turned red. Her crime: abortion. Released after time in prison, Hannah must learn to live as she is. Haunted by her choices she begins a journey to discover who she truly is and what she really believes.


What it has going for it 
TSL
Um, well, it's a classic. That's something, right? Everyone and their dog and their neighbor's best friend's dog was forced had the pleasure of reading this one in high school. That has to mean it's an amazing book. I know people say there's all this symbolism and crap but really all I saw and took away from the book was... and shall here for be called "good ol' Puritan guilt". I was so freaking shocked at how guilty everyone felt! For heaven's sake! Quit living in the past, Hester, Reverend Dimmesdale! Sheesh! Your choices were made now deal with it and move on. So, yeah, I at least felt I took a little something away from the book. Let's not all walk around with are hand pressed to our chest feeling so guilty that we actually, physically make ourselves sick and die!

WSW
Sadly I read this one a good four five months ago and I don't remember every little detail. What I did enjoy about this one was Hannah's journey away from all that "good ol' Puritan guilt" to a new life with self acceptance. I also really liked that it slapped you in the face with every single thing in this world that makes people judge and called you out on it. It was eye opening, I tells ya! The world that was created in this one was very well put together and thought out. Nothing was fudged over or didn't make sense. Very important in a dystopian, am I right? Can I get an amen?! Alright it's late, I'm tired just ignore me. ;)

What's lacking
TSL
Oh boy, I'm really not sure why this one is required reading in high school. It's so ridiculously pretentious! The writing, I mean. The whole story could have been told in 25 pages...50 tops. But all that fluffy, snooty writing? So not necessary. I really despised all the characters too. Their guilt being the biggest reason. Reverend Dimmesdale was so freaking annoying! I mean, yeah, we're none of us perfect, but come on! What a pansy! I sure as hell wouldn't have fell for him. Hester would have been fine but her inner feelings about her only child being some devil spawn were awful. If guilt is making you feel that way towards your own kids, it's REALLY time to stop.

WSW
The only real complaint I had with this one was the whole lesbian thing. And not because of THAT reason. I just thought it came out of nowhere and was only thrown in to have one more thing in the story to remind us not to judge. That's fine but it didn't fit...at all.

Favorite moment
TSL
When the good Reverend FINALLY owned up and then died! Huzzah!

WSW
When Hannah finally stormed out of that "women's center". R E S P E C T find out what it means to me! You go girl!

Yea or Nay
TSC    If you weren't tied down to a chair in high school with your eyes taped open and forced to read this one, consider yourself lucky to have escaped THAT misery, and move on.
WSW  I would recommend this one. And just try not to judge anything that the author shoves in your face. I dare you!

18 comments:

  1. At one point, I wanted to read The Starlet Letter because I liked the idea of a scandalous novel. But it sounds like it would be way too annoying for me, and when I read a classic, I want it to keep me interested, not make me punch people. I think I'll stick with the ones I have in mind for 2013 and skip over TSL... I'm not sure if When She Woke appeals to me or not though. In any case, glad you enjoyed that one. :)

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    1. There are so many better classics out there. Try one of them.

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  2. Yay! I'm so happy you finished The Scarlet Letter and just in the nick of time. I'm not going to finish my second book for the challenge. Oops. Oh well.

    And, yes, I agree that the story could've been told in 25-50 pages. I feel that way about a lot of the older books/classics. It was one of the books I did read in high school (shocking, I know!) and I did like the story, but I had a hard time getting through it. I had to use Cliff Notes to help me because the writing is SO pretentious like you say.

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    1. Now that you've read other classics can't you see how awful it really was? I sure can. ;-)

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  3. Your reviews always make me laugh. I'm sorry that you didn't like THE SCARLET LETTER. I liked it when I read it in high school, but I'm not sure how it would hold up for me all these years later. And maybe I'll have to try WHEN SHE WOKE.

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    1. Oh, I would never read it again. Never!

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  4. That is such a great idea for a challenge! I think I'm going to have to do it in 2013! I personally hated The Scarlett Letter when I read it though :P Maybe I'll look for a retelling of Great Expectations since I'm slowly pushing my way through it now.... Loved how you tore the two books apart though haha!

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    1. Isn't it awful?! I just don't get it.

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  5. I think you have to give 19th century literature a little slack. Styles, ways of speaking, expectations. Everything is different than it is now. It's not so much pretentious as it is simply 19th century. Anyway, Happy New Year from the other side of the planet.

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    1. Oh, I've read plenty of classics written in the 19th century and none were that bad. But, yes, they talked so much different than we do.

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  6. I remember liking The Scarlet Letter in high school. I don't remember too much about it though, and it's not a book I have any desire to reread. I may someday read When She Woke but I'm not in a hurry to get to it.

    I like the double review! Very nice!

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    1. Yeah, it seems like plenty of people liked it in high school. I think it would have bugged me even more then.

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  7. I was thinking of rereading this one and now maybe I won't.

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    1. Yeah, there's so many great books out there more worthy of re-reading. Stick with them.

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  8. Will you be doing this one again. I am for sure!

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    1. Definitely! I might even finish early this time. ;-)

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  9. Ha! So glad you sneaked this one in just in time. Too bad you loathed TSL so much. I definitely loved it in high school and really enjoyed reading everything Hawthorne wrote. But, I can definitely see how it would annoy the heck out of you. When She Woke sounds very interesting, though. Funny thing, I have TSL on my TBR for this challenge next year. :) I might have to rethink it though.

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    1. I can't help but wonder what I would have thought of this one in high school. I should have read this one first before When She Woke. It might have helped.

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