Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Tom Brown's Body lies a-mouldering in the grave...
FINALLY finished Tom Brown's Schooldays. ugh - what a waste of ink! My question now is: who actually READ that book? What was it's real appeal to child readers? I suppose the play and comraderie of school has its place in the child-reader's heart but the tone of the book is so preachy and nostalgic.
There's a strange moment more than halfway through, when Tom is "given" young Arthur to oversee and chum with. The narrator tells us how Tom feels maternal toward Arthur, and how he is teased by his friends, especially East (who sounds like a real asshole, if you ask me) for nursemaiding the delicate boy. It's a strange twist on a book that otherwise wants to concentrate on Real Boys (ones who crib and screw up lessons, ones who fight and excel at sports, especially that glorious game of cricket, ones who tease anyone who is different, ones who disobey their masters and only receive benevolent and mild reprimands for their sins). East and his chum dedicate a fair part of their lives to torturing the birds belonging to Martin, causing the death of at least one baby bird. This is all reported as good clean fun and innocent high spirits, but murdering vulnerable animals is pretty damn sick if you ask me.
I'm on to KIDNAPPED! now, and despite the bumps in the road with the Scottish "dialect" and expressions, it's not too shabby. I've got Treasure Island on deck as well - it's Boys' Books Week at my house, evidently. But that Robert Louis Stevenson does know how to tell a story, so I have high hopes for expeditious reading.
This is good because: I must finish The Subtle Knife for Thursday night's book group discussion, as well as read the first 100 pages or so of The Perks of Being a Wallflower for my class (as well as grade midterms).
and with that alarming reminder, back to the midterms!