Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review of 'A Room with a View'


I mentioned a couple posts ago that I had read A Room with a View. So now here is my review of it. I hope y'all enjoy. :)

A Room with a View is a well known book, I believe it is even considered a classic.... and for good reason. I remember picking this book up last summer and stopping midway. I can't imagine why.

I saw it at the library and decided to give it a go. I am happy I did. What I thought would be a short, nice little romance turned out to be much more than that.

Along with the romance came a little satirical critique on society. Lucy Honeychurch is a young lady on a tour around Europe with her guardian, her older cousin. I found Charlotte Bartlett to be extremely bothersome. "Whatever you want Lucy..... I am indebted to your mother for sending me on this trip.... I know my company must be dull for a young girl....." Ugh. Very fake and pitiable.

I could greatly sympathize with Lucy. It is difficult to feel one thing and have to do another. To do as expected instead of what one wants. To worry always how it will seem to other people; what they think, want, do.....
And to be young enough you speak freely when in "society" it simply isn't done.

Along with Lucy I wondered over George's intentions. He is unusual and crude, but I thought he would not be a cad, as Charlotte tried to make him seem. And I was quite justified, for though he is rather odd, he turned out rather well.

I believe the minister Mr. Beebe was very wise without knowing it when he talked of  Lucy living her life with as much gusto as she plays the piano. For piano is what made her happiest and that is how she ultimately ended up living her life.

I felt rather upset with Lucy near the end of the book when she tries to run from all her problems and to lie to everyone, even herself, about her true feelings. Luckily Mr. Emerson sets her straight. Mr. Emerson says what he is thinking, and though I certainly didn't agree with all he said, I found it refreshing.

Eleanor Lavish was as awful as Charlotte but in a different way. She tried to be too different, too against society. She was not real.  She seemed very fake and shallow. That is why even though she and Charlotte are very different, they end up being friends. They are both molded by "society" and not very relatable. (Autocorrect is saying that is spelled wrong... but it gives no good suggestion... hmm, oh well.)

Cecil, Lucy's fiance, was a bore. He was fine, but nothing special, nothing real. With George on the scene, he was sad in comparison. He was boorish. He thought he was much better than Lucy. He thought of Lucy as a work of art. The women must be protected at all times. (from what?) 'Lucy must find me immensely fascinating... why don't I drone on and insult everyone and everything in my fiancee's "country" village?"

Ick.

I liked her brother Freddy. He was jolly and was still young and uncouth enough to say what he thought as well. Mrs. Honeychurch was nice, but a little timid, a little too full of society. She loved Lucy and Freddy though so it was quite alright. I was disappointed that she and Freddy were so horrified at Lucy's latter choice of fiance. It is not that surprising, she did not "run off'"  with him, and they were respectably married. Ah well, I'm sure they will come to grips with it later.

Many things in the book made me think. Though it was a critique of early 1900s society, many of Forster's ideas struck me as true today. While I do not think we should all go as far as Mr. Emerson, maybe we should worry less about what society will think of us and more about what we think of ourselves. Do not be tied down to rules that do not seem right. Do the right thing, but not for the wrong reasons. These are some of the things I came up with as I was reading A Room with a View. I think it would be interesting if we all lived this way (myself included.)

Have you read A Room with a View? If so, what did you think of it? Were Lucy and George right? What are your thoughts on Forster's critiques of society?

3 comments:

  1. I first read this about a year ago, and fell so in love with it that I re-read it only a few weeks later. It gets even better with a re-read! You know what Lucy and George say about Charlotte at the end (trying to avoid spoilers for other readers)? You can watch for that through the whole book, and it totally works.

    And yes, I love the message, that it's not wrong to do as you're told, but it's wrong to do things you believe to be wrong just because it's what you're expected to do. Kind of goes back to that line in Hamlet: "This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

    I'm so glad you liked this book!

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    1. A wonderful quote from Hamlet that fits right in to what I was trying to say. I will have to see about that reread. I hope I could do that sooner than later. :)

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  2. Hi Maddie Rose!

    I nominated you for the Beautiful Blog Award at my blog, if you're interested. You can find the details here: http://allthingsbonnyandbeautiful.blogspot.com/2014/03/beautiful-blog-award.html

    ~Emma

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