29 January 2010

Can You Forgive Her?

I thought Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope was going to be my 101st book from the 1001 list, thereby pushing me to 10% read. Unfortunately, i'm still at 9.99999999% read. So close! This review may be a little spoilery so you're warned!

Alice Vavasor is a young woman who is engaged to a man really too good to be true, John Grey. Several years before Alice had "an understanding" with her cousin George (really her cousin, their fathers were brothers) but she broke off with him because he was still too wild. Alice takes a vacation with George and his sister Kate, during which she decides John is too good for her and she cannot make him happy, so she breaks up with him. Alice definitely suffers from some self-esteem problems.

At one point Alice gives her cousin George money to run for Parliament, about 1000 pounds. Various characters go on about how much money that amount is and i decided to look it up the conversion to today's dollars. I felt it was going to be about 10, maybe 15 thousand US dollars today. I was quite surprised when i discovered Alice gave George about $250,000! No wonder her father was so upset.

There are two other women who's lives we follow, Alice's Aunt Greenow, who married a very rich older man who rapidly made her a very rich widow, and Alice's other cousin Lady Glencora, a very young, rich heiress who's relatives influenced her to not marry her love, a rake Burgo Fitzgerald, and instead to marry Plantagenet Palliser, a stolid politician. I actually liked both of their stories better than Alice's. The choices available to women were so restricted, so prescribed, is it any wonder that Kate stays unmarried and independent?

A 5 from me. It was long but overall i did enjoy it. Next week I'll be starting Phineas Finn by Trollope for the same classics group and that one will for sure count on the 1001 list!

changing topics now, sorry! here's an article i completely agree with. Looting is when a conquering army takes stuff they don't need from the conquered people. An example: as much as i love the Band Of Brother series, they do a lot of looting in those last couple episodes. in an emergency situation, taking food, water, or other basic supplies is scavenging, or being resourceful, or commandeering. it isn't stealing and it isn't wrong. If there's some sort of mass disaster i'm not going to give a damn about my mp3 player or my cute shoes. if i'm dead or gone i'd be perfectly fine with someone raiding my apartment for canned goods and blankets, spare cash and candles. if it's cold let them burn all my books. Human lives are more important than things. why are governments able to get guys with guns into an area to protect things when they can't get water, food, and rescuers into the same areas?

2 comments:

  1. My husband was very upset to see people shot by Haitian police for taking bags of rice from a destroyed food store. He made the point that scavenging food that would have been bulldozed under anyway when you're starving is not thievery. We would never steal anything but I have to agree. Your final point is so on the mark-the rules should be more flexible in a situation like that.

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  2. It's always a good idea to convert money into what it would be worth toady. I always do that when I read vintage whodunnits by Ross MacDonald or Earle Stanley Garnder.

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