Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Woman in White

The Woman in White (Giant Thrifts) The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Book 56 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge
Book 2 for the Classics Challenge

rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reading this book is a classic example of why I don't like to re-read books. I know I liked it the first time. I read it in high school when I was going through a serious mystery and classics phase. The Moonstone is listed as one of my favorite books. Now I'm wondering, if I re-read it, would it still have that place in my heart? Or, have my reading tastes changed so much as I have aged that it too would fall from grace as this one has? Or, was this one just not as good the second time around because I kept feeling like there is so much good stuff to be reading that re-reading this 700 page tome is just a waste of my time?

I don't know. There were parts I really enjoyed. I know it is well-written and I know it deserves its place in the world of classics. But, I had to force myself to read a certain number of pages everyday and even then, I should have finished days ago.

The story revolves around two women who look exactly alike. Anne Catherick has just escaped from an insane asylum and Laura Fairlie is an aristocrat. There lives become entwined by Walter Hartright, a master painter. He unwittingly helps Anne escape the asylum right before he takes a position as the drawing instructor of Laura Fairlie.

The Woman in White has all the qualities of a great Victorian novel: romance, intrigue, and class warfare. This book has so much drama, you can really see why it was so sensational when it released back in 1860. I like that Wilkie Collins employed (what was then) a very new technique--writing the book from the different character's perspectives. But, somehow I was just impatient with it. The reader isn't left to wonder about a single solitary thing since all the elements of the story are explained in so much detail.

If you haven't read a Wilkie Collins novel, I really suggest reading one. I think maybe I just wasn't in the mood for this one right now.

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bermudaonion said...

I've been wanting to read a Wilkie Collins novel ever since I finished Drood. Maybe I'll try Moonstone.

Jules said...

I have the Moonstone on my TBR list, and I just bought the book from a used book store. I've heard great things about it and it's one of my choices for the Victorian Reading Challenge.

Corinne said...

I'm not a good re-reader either. Unless it's a good ya fantasy romance, that is :)

Lark said...

You know, I read this book 2 years ago. I remember it took me awhile to get into the story, but once I did, I liked it. But honestly, that was all I remembered about it. But I don't think I could break it out for a re-read like you did...I might have similar feelings! I will definately have to check out Moonstone though!

J.S. Peyton said...

I'm sorry this didn't do it for you the second time around. I read it for the first time last year and I loved it. Perhaps The Woman in White one of those books that always make a good first impression but not much else.

I might be willing to reread The Woman in White myself, but I'm trying to make it through the rest of Collins' canon. Have you read any other of Collins' novels? If not, maybe you should try those. Perhaps you'd like them better.

P.S. Love your blog!

Unknown said...

I think its because you re-read the book. A book is always great the first time you read it. I always believe that I should only read a book once. :)

Jill said...

Interesting. I remember enjoying this one as well, and I was thinking about rereading it this summer. We'll see how it goes if I do!