Classics Challenge: Brideshead Revisisted

Look at me! I finished it! And relatively quickly. I knew if I lost steam, I would give up. And by the end I was actually enjoying it.

 I was originally curious about this book because I seemed to be getting two vastly different views on it from outside sources. The first group thinks its a great book that show characters of all sexual orientations. It's that 1920s world that sensual and deep and dark and artsy and rich. You can practically see the cigarette smoke eminating from the cover. Who wouldn't want to join Charles Ryder as he gets thrown into the  elite world of the Flytes?

And then there is it's inclusion on the Ambleside Online highschool curriculum list and Andrew Kern's recommendation, which was really my main inspiration to put it on my reading goals list several years ago. It's even on the Circe's list of 11 Novels every Christian should read. I mean, are these people reading the same book? I'll be honest, it wasn't it inclusion on Time/Newsweek/Modern Library's top 100 books list that finally got me to pick it up, nope. It was that question. Curiousity got the girl to read the classic. That's how that quote goes, right?

And now I see what happens. The first set think its a great book with a kinda random crappy ending. Or they get that its really about religion, not sex, and come away with the idea that its the world's worst Catholic apologetic. The second type of person thinks its a rough start (in terms of actions within the book, not the writing itself) to a book with a good ending. I'm of the later set. I made myself read a chapter every night until I was engaged. And it did take a while. For a couple days I was wondering why I was just stuck reading about these vapid people. I mean, even Ryder doesn't care about (most of?) them really. By the last third though, I finally was draw in and could start to see the point. I still didn't particularly care about any of the characters, which is why I wasn't bothered too much by the lack of wrap-up in areas, but I think that in and of itself is part of the book.

I try not to include spoilers in my reviews so I can't say much more, and even if I did, I'm not sure if I even could but it's left me with a bit to think about. I was right in that it really isn't my type of book and I'm sure I would have gotten more out of it if it was. And I don't think I'll ever read it again, unless perhaps  I feel like I need to for high school discussion with the kids way down the road. But I'm glad I read it.

Actually, I said above that there were two groups but there is another. The third group doesn't like the stuff in the first category but fails to see stuff in the third so bans it. Which is kinda throwing the baby out with the bath water. Yes, some characters are obviously homosexual. And some are debatable bi-sexual. So I wouldn't hand it to my twelve year old. But I hardly think one with a good handle on classic literature and other things beautiful and true would read the book to the end and think, "Wow, here are some people I'd like to emulate!" But it was banned which makes it perfect for my Banned Book Selection in the Back to the Classics Challenge!

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