Monday, January 30, 2006

SJ's Bookclub

Finished "Cry the Beloved Country" a couple weeks ago but have yet to write a review: First picked this book up about a year ago. Found the beginning slow and boring. It was basically this preacher traveling from his little African village to Johanesburg, S.A. and trying to find his son, but it was the damndest thing because he looked everywhere and could not find him. Chapter after chapter he could not find him and I was bored. Then I picked it up again and began reading about six or seven months after the initial phase. A few chapters later I was hooked. Really hooked. The saga of this man retrieving his ignorant, small village son who was in trouble with the law, got a girl pregnant, was a thief, and a drunk, and last of all had killed a white man, but not just a white man, a white man who had advocated help to the native Africans and was famous for it. And the death, the shooting was an accident. And this poor father, a God-fearing preacher, having to pick up after his son and feel that horrible shame. And his son being convicted and sentenced to die. But the book goes on from there about the real problems that led his son down this path. About the dying village, the dying cows, the dying people, the lack of respect and education and opportunities and that beautiful, beautiful blessed country. I cried at the end. I cried for this beloved country. It was a masterpiece!

Am now reading Ernest J. Gaines "A lesson before dying". Don't know what it is with me and heart-wrenching, destitute black people, make-you-cry-your-eyes-out Oprah Bookclub picks these days...I've told myself eventually I'm going to re-read Atlas shrugged (I didn't exactly finish it the first time), and commit to not being bored, or biased in my opinion of it. Seriously, though folks the scenario's are figments of her imagination and the problems and people have much more depth than what is in that book. But I will try and keep an open mind the second time.

The end (of the SJ Bookclub review...for now)

6 comments:

mj said...

heck yeah that book is freaking beautiful (cry the beloved country, that is--don't know bout t'other one). i have it listed on my book "blog"--which is really just one post that lists really affecting books.

Esperanza said...

Maybe I'll have to read that one, sounds good.

Scully said...

I read both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and did a presentation on Ayn Rand for my philosophy project in my 10th grade lit class. That woman had some issues, but she did have interesting ideas on the celebration of mediocrity in the U.S. and emotional atrophy. What struck me the most in Atlas Shrugged was a passage about hate not being the opposite of love, but rather apathy, because in both hate and love you care about a person's existance, but when you stop caring about the individual, that is the most inhuman. Of course she says it much more eloquently.

SJ said...

Thanks Scully. So many people I know say they just loved it and it was "amazing" so I kinda felt like maybe there was something wrong with me because I questioned the "amazing". Good thoughts!

Scully said...

I wouldn't use the adjective 'amazing' for Atlas Shrugged. Intriguing would be my word. Also, I had real issues with Rand's ideas on male/female sexual relations and her definition and identification of rape in both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. After you read it, let me know what you think.

mj said...

i should probably read atlas shrugged as well. i really ate up 'the fountainhead.' it was an incredible argument for libertarian ideals and an indictment of the comfort found in mediocrity. it sort of rocked my world, actually and made me fear 'settling' and aspire to greatness. my favorite scene happens when howard rourke convinces this other truly 'great' artist that what he does has innate value even when the masses can not appreciate it (it's really emotional and beautiful). i too had serious issues with the rape scene. the inevitability of sex was i suppose incredibly romantic and certainly pretty erotic (in a non-graphic way) but also highly highly disturbing. e-gad. um i hope i didn't give too much away. yeah not to worry there's plenty of mystery in the book.