Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Room With A View - Book Club Meeting and Movie Day

A Room With A View

E.M. Forster, 1908

Hello there Lovelies!

This post has been a long time in the making, but honestly, I just couldn't get excited about it.  Overall, Bridget and I have been very lucky in The Vintage Project Book Club picks.  The only exceptions have been The Alchemist and now A Room with a View...

I'm really not sure why A Room with a View is considered a classic because I liked the idea of this novel far more than I liked the novel itself.  Perhaps the novel gained some notoriety for the fact that the main character bucks the societal conventions of repressed Edwardian society.  Kind of.  While Lucy holds some pretty radical ideas for her time, she doesn't really stray from the expectations that people have of her and, personally, I didn't like her.  Or any of the other characters (aside from the unconventional Mr. Emerson).  I'm not sure if I can completely blame the elitist, self-righteousness that seemed to permeate the fabric of the upper class or if these characters are ALL terrible people.  That's truly a difficult decision.

I won't really get into the novel too much, and if you enjoy characters that say things like, "Stop a minute, let those two people go on or I shall have to speak to them.  I do detest conventional intercourse," then maybe this IS the book for you.  To back me up even further, Bridget couldn't even finish it, and this was HER selection!  I'll admit that the last quarter of the story was somewhat engaging, but it took too long to get there and it couldn't make up for everything that came before it.

Seeing as how I'm not selling the novel....because I'm not going to advocate you subjecting yourself to it, if you must know the story, perhaps you'll watch the film like we did.

watch the trailer
In 1985, Merchant Ivory Productions (which evidently means a lot to Anglophiles) released the film adaptation of the novel.  The film has an extraordinary cast, including a VERY young Helena Bonham Carter in her breakout role.  While the film tells a much better story than the actual story itself, I feel the need to warn you that it is a bit slow and surprisingly long.  Oh, and there's A LOT of penis in it.  Frankly I was surprised by that aspect, but it managed to make an Edwardian story that was incredibly difficult to finish much more interesting!

I mentioned the cast - Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy, Maggie Smith as Charlotte, and Judi Dench as Miss Lavish were amazing.  I may not have liked their characters, but they brought so much to the flat, irritating characters that were found on the page.  But far and away, my favorite portrayal in the film was Cecil, played by a COMPLETELY unrecognizable Daniel Day-Lewis!  Now, I know that his 'thing' is to immerse himself in a character and alter his appearance, but this was spectacular!  So spectacular, in fact, that while I knew it was him, I kept looking at him and still wasn't able to see Daniel Day-Lewis.  Can you tell that it's him?  You can?  Liar.

photo credit

My two cents?  Watch the movie.  Skip the novel.  There are so many other great reads out there, no need to waste your time with this one.  Hey, our selections can't all be winners....  So, we'll just call this a Book Club Fail and move on - here's hoping that we all enjoy the next one!

Have you been following along at home?  If so, I do apologize for this one and I hope it doesn't scare you off.  Perhaps if a few more of you join in on the fun and let me know, we will have more motivation to actually stick to our Book Club schedule.  We're using May to play a little catch up, but new selections are just around the corner!

Happy Reading!

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