I say: It took me a while to get into Eliot’s language and what initially seemed like rather tedious town life and annoying opinions from the narrator. Once I got further into the story of Dorothea and her marriage I started liking it, but then we were introduced to the other townspeople, and I had to struggle my way through their lives. I generally don’t like books where we follow a lot of different families that intermingle in a town full of gossip and other such nuisances.
To be honest, all of the characters in this book annoyed me.
So then why am I giving this a 4 out of 5?
Well, mostly because Eliot does a rather great job of describing life in 1830’s England. The way she details just how little power, choice and say women had in their own lives; first pleasing their parents and later their husbands. I also liked how she portrayed the issue of class without having it come across as though she had some sort of agenda. Although a lot of the problems and issues that were addressed in this novel were presented, in my opinion, rather unremarkably, I have the utmost respect for Eliot for writing this novel, and I am glad that I struggled through it.
If I were able to remove all the annoying comments from the narrator this would have been so much more to my satisfaction (not to mention the quotes at the beginning of each chapter). Things like this:
“We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time; keep back the tears and look a little pale about the lips, and in answer to inquires say, ‘Oh, nothing!’ Pride helps us; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our own hurts – not to hurt others.” – p 57
It just irks me.
So yeah, another one of my 100 Classics Challenge read that I never would have touched if not for that challenge.
So thanks, I guess.