Friday, October 10, 2014

"The Blue Castle" book review

This book is odd.  Not in a bad way, necessarily, but still odd.  When I first bought it, I skimmed through it and didn't find it that interesting.  But a while ago, being sick and rather bored, I picked it up again and discovered that it's a perfect sick-day read.

Which is strange, since it's not a very happy story, and not even one of my favorites at that.  Definitely the grimmest L.M. Montgomery story premise I've read, the novel starts out "drab and colorless," with the account of Valancy Stirling's woes.  

Now, frankly, I wasn't crazy about Valancy.  I felt she wallowed in self-pity too much and was downright rude when she decided to "break free."  Admittedly, her family was oppressive and clearly messed up in many ways, but that didn't excuse some of her remarks.  I mean, honestly, telling an aunt that you can give her the address of a beauty parlor that could reduce the number of her chins?  That's just cruel.  And yes, her family had been unkind to her as well, but it didn't seem like they were trying to be wantonly cruel, which Valancy certainly was.  Aside from that, she held grudges in the most appalling manner.  But on the other hand, Valancy was a good protagonist because she reminds me of how I can be myself.  To paraphrase someone I heard somewhere, we have loads of patience for ourselves and our shortcomings, but we have precious little for the same shortcomings in someone else.  So, no, I didn't like Valancy very much, but she is a very human character.  She's also somewhat inspiring, because, if you tone back a LOT on her choices, she can encourage you to not be constantly worrying what people will think of you if you're honest with them.  Which can be good.  So, yeah... :)

Now, as to her family...truthfully, I rather enjoyed them;)  They were just funny!  Hideously messed up and priggish, but funny.  "'Let us be calm...let us be perfectly calm.'"

Moving on to Barney.  He wasehh.  Didn't hate him, didn't love him.  He seemed tooI don't recall.  Self-centered?  Careless?  Whatever;)

While there were cons to the books, there were also some major pros.  Even though I didn't care for the characters very much, the storyline was original and interesting.  And then, of course, there was L. M. Montgomery's signature style of writing, with her passionate and romantic descriptions of nature, as usual.  

So, in a nutshell review, not my favorite book, but extremely interesting, and very well-written:D


7 comments:

  1. WHAT!?! You didn't really enjoy this book! You don't like Valancy! You don't love Barney!!!!!?!

    Ahem. I must compose myself. Tis just that I adore this book to pieces. I read it more than just once a year. But yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

    But still, HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE BARNEY. He is just so funny and loveable!

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  2. Haha okay, I have to say that no, I'm not huge on Valancy (though her name is awesome), but I did really enjoy this book. I mean, I read the entire thing in a day, and even though it's a short book, I have to be EXTREMELY intrigued to do that;)

    Barney...hmm. Well I did read this a while ago, so maybe when I next read it I will love him:) It usually takes me a few reads (or watches) to really figure out whether I love a book (or movie).

    Thanks for commenting!

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  3. I'm going to read this one! People have been telling me & telling me to try it. Hopefully I'll like it. I do like a grim tale when it's written well. :) Anne of Green Gables is the only Montgomery book I've read, but I LOVED it.

    Nice to meet you!!

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    1. I do recommend it, Jillian! It's just not my personal favorite, but it was extremely well-written:)

      You, as well! Thanks so much for "returning" the comment!:D

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  4. Hey, Olivia--I know this is rayther late :) But I'm so happy to find your review of this book! And, to be perfectly honest, I'm quite relieved to find somebody else (besides Rosie) who shares my opinion of it. I tried skimming it the other day when I needed a break from school, and . . . I didn't like the characters that much. Or the story. So yeah.

    I agree with you about Valancy. She's quite cruel to her family. I do feel like they WERE purposefully cruel to her, too--at least part of the time--but that doesn't give her the right to say horrid things back. She should've just left them, period. And she's kind of careless and irresponsible--one of those, "ha, rules? What are rules?" kind of characters. I Do. Not. Like. That.

    And Barney--I didn't like him much either. I think the problem with him is that he just doesn't seem REAL. His words seem all wrong to me--he just doesn't talk like a real guy would. He's too passionate in all the wrong places. If that makes sense.

    Oh, and here's the other thing I really don't like. I do NOT approve of the way Barney and Valancy decided to get married. They kind of did it "just for larks" because they were sure she was going to die soon and it wouldn't last long. That's all wrong. Even if you marry someone who's likely to die soon, you need to TREAT it like it's a life-long commitment for you. Because if you aren't truly committed, it's not a good marriage, period. And I feel like neither of them were committed when they started out.

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    1. Jessica, I LOVE IT SO MUCH when people comment on older posts. You don't know how happy it makes me :D

      Yes! I'm glad you and Rosie aren't nuts about it, too, because it does seem to be rather a favorite ;)

      Yep, yep, yep…I have to re-read it to know whether or not my opinion has changed, but…yep. Valancy just seemed a bit over-the-top to me. Not having been in her situation, I shouldn't judge her too harshly, but she does seem rather--well, caustic, doesn't she?

      Yeah…I don't even remember him all that well, honestly :P Except I DO remember really liking him in the scene at the end when he comes to visit Valancy after she's left him. That scene made me happy :)

      Yikes, good point about the marriage thing.

      Thanks ever so much for your comment, darling! :D

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    2. Awww . . . well, really, it makes ME happy when somebody responds to a comment on an old post!

      Yeah. That's basically how I feel about Valancy--she WAS in a terrible family situation, so we can't be TOO harsh--but there were a few things she said that, objectively, I just think "crossed the line" into Things You Should Not Say. So yeah.

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