Saturday, March 14, 2009
Book Review-Adam Bede
Title: Adam Bede by George Eliot
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This was Mary Evans' first published novel under the pseudonym George Eliot. An amazing first novel I might add. She has an uncanny ability to paint beautiful pictures with her words as she brings characters to life on the pages. The story is packed with morality and religion, which doesn't sound very exciting, but she somehow makes the book difficult to put down. The only thing that slowed be down was the dialect, but I can't fault her for that. At the time the book was written in 1859, there weren't many novels that used this technique, which made the novel even more groundbreaking.
The story centers around Adam Bede, the hard working moral carpenter; Arthur Donnithorne, the Squire's grandson who will inherit all of his holdings; Hetty Sorrel, beautiful but vain and immature; and Dinah Morris, the Methodist minister who is full of grace and love for others. These four are placed in the center of many other characters in a small country community.
Some of my favorite lines (and there were many):
"...throwing a question over his shoulder as if he meant to run away from the answer...."
"...it is too painful to think that she is woman, with a woman's destiny before her - a woman spinning in young ignorance a light web of folly and vain hopes which may one day close round her and press upon her, a rancorous poisoned garment, changing all at once her fluttering, trivial butterfly sensations into a life of deep human anguish."
"...he was like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow."
"There again you partly deceive yourself, Adam. There is no sort of wrong deed of which a man can bear the punishment alone: you can't isolate yourself, and say that the evil which is in you shall not spread. Men's lives are as thoroughly blended with each other as the air they breathe: evil spreads as necessarily as disease."
Moral dilemmas, love, family, religion, forgiveness, grace...The story is not sugar coated with happiness and wonderful endings. It is a very real picture of choices and the consequences of those choices which ripple out and engulf so many others.