Wives and Daughters

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Reader reviewed by mimagirl

I began Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell in late July, and have only just finished it - yesterday, as a matter of fact. I had already seen the movie about a year ago, but I really wanted to read the book. It started out much like the movie, only the events and happenings were much more drawn-out. Let's face it, the book was dull. Way too many unnecessary conversations and long descriptions.

Nevertheless, I was determined to finish it. I wanted to be able to say I'd read all 648 pages of Wives and Daughters. So I did. By the time I began the last chapter I was anticipating the end and the lovely scene I knew was going to happen (after all, that was the way the movie ended). I turned the page, right in the middle of another long-winded "tete-a-tete" (as Mrs. Gaskell so often likes to term it) between Mrs. Gibson and Molly, when BOOM. It ended. My mind was reeling. Wh-wh-what??

I immediately went on to read the note from the editor, who coined it thus:

"Here the story is broken off, and it can never be finished. What promised to be the crowning work of a life is a memorial of death. A few days longer, and it would have been a triumphal column, crowned with a capital of festal leaves and flowers: now it is another sort of column - one of those sad white pillars which stand broken in the churchyard."

She died?! In my anguish I could not help but wonder how, if only the author had not wasted so much time on those never-ending, tedious passages, perhaps - just perhaps - she would've actually finished it?

I threw down the book in disgust (quite literally, I'm afraid) while muttering, "Stupid, stupid book!"

So now I must go and watch the movie - at least it has an ending! Sadly this is one case where the movie is much more worthwhile than the book.

Sorry for the long rant. But hey, it was a long book.
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