Sunday, August 7, 2011

Book Review - The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

Well. Didn't I stuff this one up! As a result of the fact that I counted a book that I actually have read in my list of books I needed to, I am now ahead of the game, which frees me up considerably to do some pre-work for my next book by reading Mansfield Park (the next book I plan to read is Murder at Mansfield Park, and I want to remind myself of the actual storyline and characters before I go reading a spoof of it. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it is much of the same ilk as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and others - classic (usually) Victorian books re-written to make them cool for the kids of today by adding blood and guts and zombies. I love the trend. Some call it bastardisation of classic literature, but some people thought 10 Things I Hate About You was a bastardisation of Shakespeare. It wasn't. It was just a creative film adaptation.)

Aaaaanyway, the book I read was The Awakening, by Kate Chopin. I realised about three pages in that I'd read it before, flipped to the last page to confirm my suspicion, then closed the book. It's not that I don't want to read it again; it's that there are other books that I have a more pressing need to read. I'll get back to it one day. I think I **thought** I hadn't read it, because it was one of the books I bought for a uni subject that I never took (as several of the books for #65 are, including Homer's Odyssey), and I had read that particular book over summer before realising I wouldn't take the course, and so I have read it once but not studied it intently.

Apparently it was super-memorable!

My personal recollection of the book is that it is set in the South (of America) and there are a whole bunch of people with French names, so presumably they hang about in the French Quarter of New Orleans (and if I'd re-read it properly I'd be able to give you a definitive answer on that) when they're not swanning about at this resort island for the upper-middle class in the Caribbean.

PLOT: Wife neglected by absent husband and unfulfilled by the whole no life outside caring for the children and home thing; handsome, charming, attentive younger man on the resort island; hubby goes back to the mainland for business thus facilitating a flirtatious and slightly inappropriate (for the day) friendship between his wife and her would-be lover; shenanigans take place (although my recollection is that there aren't any actual shenanigans, but, rather, unfaithful thoughts and a fair bit of unrequited lust. I think she visits him alone in his home which was completely improper and scandalous for the day, and the young man kisses the married lady at which point she wigs out a bit when she realises what a mess she's gotten herself into, but I don't remember it being a full-blown affair); wife realises that she is completely unfulfilled by her life and is in an impossible situation and will never be happy but has no way out; wife... oh heck, I'll tell you and ruin the story - she drowns herself at the end.

The more I think about it, the more I recall it was a fairly light and fluffy summer read - think a Jodi Picoult novel for the complexity of relationships, crossed with a bit of Mills & Boon intrigue, and yet absolutely nothing like either of those!

I haz wikkid book reviewing skillz.

I wouldn't suggest you rush out and buy it, but if you ever see it lying about in a youth hostel or doctor's surgery then give it a go.

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