Saturday, January 23, 2016

As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner

This book killed two birds with one stone. It is on the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge as well as the 2016 Reading Challenge as "A Classic from the 20th Century" (I'm hoping to double those two lists a few times this year).

I had never read anything by Faulkner before.....I gave it 3 stars because I appreciate the pretense and the writing, but I did not enjoy the story. I felt constantly annoyed by the characters and their selfish views on the world, but in the same breath wasn't sure I could judge them for what they clearly had never been taught. This book is full of what is called "unreliable narrators" and to be honest, I read this chapter by chapter along with the Spark Notes because I felt I was missing some things (and I clearly was). But I think the lesson to be learned from this book is what my husband learned earning his Psychology degree: People's perception is their reality. And that's what we see here. We see the same events from different points of view-and for awhile you feel sympathetic towards one character, but when you see things through another's eyes you stop feeling that way as much. So let that be a lesson: when someone tells you the events of something, because that's the perception you receive, you will most likely be swayed to be on "their" side. Make sure you logically look at the other sides before making judgment on anything.

There are some confusing things and a LOT of loose ends at the end, but maybe that was part of the writing style of back then. There was also a fair share of Freudian ideas because he was the "in thing" back in the day, so it was definitely current at the time it was written.

I'm not sure if any of Faulkner's other works are on the Rory Challenge, but it was a "trudge through" thinking book, so if there are, I'll definitely space it out with other things to read so all those ideas have time to percolate by themselves before introducing new serious themes. Otherwise I'll never fall asleep at night.....

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