Friday, December 28, 2012

Catching Up, Final

Good Reads!

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
I loved the movie but had never read the book, so I finally did. The problem with reading a book after seeing it on the big screen is that the characters and voices are already formed in your mind, even if they don't exactly match the book description. With this book, that was okay. The movie actually followed the book pretty closely, with a few additions and subtractions, but didn't change the overall message. It's worth reading even if you've already seen the movie, and if not, read it first.

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
House of Mirth is a commentary on the lives of the rich in 1900's NY society. At the age of 29, Lily Bart is unmarried and in dire financial straights. She is feeling pressure from her friends and her finances to get that done in a hurry, before she loses her beauty. Her goal is to "marry well." Although she has deep feelings for Mr. Selden, marrying him would eliminate her from the upper crust of society with whom she has forged all her relationships. Unfortunately, those eligible men who could maintain her desirable lifestyle are unappealing and unacceptable to her. She soon gets herself into a conundrum, when she takes a favor from her friend's husband and her intentions are misunderstood.
The book presents a number of contrasts (rich/poor, beauty/ugliness, popularity/outcasts), asks some valid questions even for today (Who are your friends? Is it better to have love w/o money or money w/o love?) and criticizes our tendency to judge people by their occupation, their address and their wealth. A great classic novel reminiscent of Jane Eyre. 

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