Folks who enjoy reading about everyday characters going through years of their uneventful lives, who even through the rare exciting events, learn nothing, may enjoy this book.
Stop building characters and let them have something exciting happen to them. By the way, I greatly enjoyed the level of description Tolstoy employed, and his style of writing--there was just far too much of it without anything of note happening...at all. And I am a bibliophile. I enjoyed the historical context Tolstoy put at the beginning of the books and at key sections. Did not enjoy the constant drivel about men having no significant role in history, that great men were merely objects moved by the hand of God, blah, blah, blah. I am a very religious person, but this became more than tedious to listen to.
Very good characterizations, and knowledge of Russian pronunciations. Excellent dramatization of key emotional parts. Mr. Jason was one of the key reasons I pushed through to the end.
Pierre's foray into Stone Masonry was completely useless to the development of his character, other than to show that he was searching for truth. No spoiler because this plot element was utterly pointless.
Spoiler Alert. Tons of potential. The love story between Andre' and Natasha was heartbreaking. When Pierre began to fall in love with her, I was almost screaming at the book:
It depends on the friend. The great moments of humor and enlightenment were punctuations on a much more mundane text. I felt there was too much character development for some, and not enough to others.
Griffin did great, though I couldn't tell the Irish accented characters apart. A lot of emotion, and he pulled off timing on the comic parts perfectly.
Tom is probably like most people--easily influenced by passion yet putting on airs about being full of honor, trust, and dignity.
The story and its weaving back and forth through time was incredible. Loved Vonnegut's ability to re-hit themes over and over. I even found myself surprised at times when he would say, "and so it goes" even though I knew it was coming.
The water in the glass was dead...so it goes.
Stop whispering! Gah! You are Ethan freaking Hawke--be a man.
Definitely on my top ten list! Though I can't imagine reading it again.
The adventures and the humor. I was running during the (Spoiler!) scene when Quejada drank the tonic and threw up in Sancho's mouth. Had to stop because I was laughing so hard at the very calm, literary way Cervantes handled the situation. Loved the absurdity and how folks continuously exploited the protagonist for their own benefit. His naivete became absolutely lovable.
Yes, though many of them would give up because of the sheer length of the thing.
No way. Didn't have a week to spend.
The ending was disappointing, because I wanted it to be like Man of La Mancha. In retrospect, however, the ending was fitting to what Don Quixote had endured. Reasonable at last--cured of adventure. Sad, but pretty darned good ending.
I wanted to like it, even though I knew I disagreed with Upton Sinclair on just about everything. Halfway through the book I was amazed at how much I liked some of the protagonist's actions and beliefs. I was stunned by Sinclair's narrative--others find it unreadable and juvenile, but I really got a kick out of his literary skills. The constant diabolus ex machina (devil in the machine) that put unbelievable circumstances in Jorgis' path so he could fail, time and time again, to make the right choices, became formulaic. Then Deus Ex Machina, as socialism rides in to save the day, and to show Jorgis that salvation is possible despite his lack of accountability.
MAJOR SPOILERS! The ending. I am as pro-capitalist as a man gets, so I was excited at the damage Sinclair did to the socialist cause. The man who resonates the most with the socialist speaker is the man (Jorgis) who consistently makes poor, uninformed decisions (despite the fact he has the capacity and resources around him to educate himself), and does not seem capable to ever admit that those choices might have been a proximal cause of his sorrow. Jorgis is a man sans accountability. He is abusive, physically and emotionally, to his family members, and solves issues with others like a brutish teenager. Additionally, he learns the system well enough to participate in organized crime, but is not smart enough to exploit that system himself, either by rising through the ranks and building a skillset, or by enhancing his roles within the crime syndicate, or by asking the syndicate to help him take care of his interpersonal issues with Connor (which would have kept him from his final trouble).
I liked the performance, but the narrator changed for a couple of chapters. I hate this, as it is hard to get used to another narrator.
Loved the descriptions at the beginning. The level of character development was spot-on (could have used more about Ona). And I am sure the description of Chicago's business realm, where politicians, businessmen, and criminals were incredibly intertwined, had a great grain of truth. But it became too much.
Sinclair had a ton of potential that, in my opinion, he wasted on a really bad ending.
I hate books or philosophies that refer to business owners as idle men who reap the benefits of the working class after doing nothing. Private ownership of the means of production means that a man can own a business; but to keep it and to avoid being overrun by competitors who offer the same service or products at lower prices, the man has to work harder than any man on the killing beds. Jorgis had an immense potential to raise himself up; nothing kept him from this except for his own choices. Honestly, when your buddy says,
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