Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Moonstone

By: Wilkie Collins 2.5/5

The Short Version:

First I was disappointed by this book for many reasons. First and foremost it was long, so long, especially after having read “The Woman in White”.  I also had this book as an audio book  and it was downloaded off of librivox.org which is a non-profit with many readers. One reader didn’t speak English so she couldn’t read and kept stumbling on the words, another reader, possibly the same one, had cars and horns in the background recording. Having this in the background is very distracting considering the book was taking place in 1848!

The book dragged on and on and for a change of pace, dragged on some more. There where a thousand different characters. This is how I characterize them:
-Beteridge – Grumpy self concerned old man, that looks down on women as silly and frivolous. He is the narrator for the better part of the story.
-Ms. Cluck who apparently is a hag, ugly, and only concerned with her crazy notions of religion, which is what she preoccupies herself and her time with. She is so unwilling to back down she forces religion and her religion down the throats of main characters.
-Rosanna is apparently homely conniving thief, who can’t get it in her head where her place in the house is…. She is crestfallen to the point of obsession over a man who could car more for a paint brush than her as a human being.
-Franklin Blake is obsessed with Rachel, the Miss of the house, and would do anything like a puppy dog in love for her.
-Rachel, the Miss of the house who always gets her way no matter what, isn’t amazingly pretty but dresses well so it gives her status. She can’t seem to know what it is she wants and has the “fickle mind” that Beteridge accuses women of.
-Gottfried Applewhite is a smooth talker, and a pimp who is  pretender of philanthropic needs. He is the pimp of today that weasels his way into matters of importance.
-Sgt. Cuff the main policeman is self absorbed and knows he is a legend.  

And the list goes on with many many characters that are added and their histories and lives talked about for what purpose. The story is the story of an object, the Moonstone, and its travel. Who stole it and how? It is sad to say you won’t find out until the antepenultimate chapter when you have been taken up and down with pages and pages of narrative from all these different characters. Mr. Collins could have made the book more fun had he got to the point. There was too much going on. Maybe being in the 21st Century, I wouldn’t understand a book like this, whose suspense is built throughout weeks as the story is published a few pages at a time. I am a person who likes immediate satisfaction.  Though my biggest grudge against this book is why its considered A CLASSIC?!?!  Does have to be written a bajillion years ago to make it be important? And conclusively what was so important about this book? The building of characters… no thanks. I prefer our good adventure novels of today’s time! 

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