Monday, April 30, 2012
Review of Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair is a novel without a hero or heroine. It's a novel about life, more especially life in 19th century England. It mocks the society of Britain and its follies.
We follow the lives of two main characters, two girls so different in character and approach, which makes this a fun time reading.
Rebecca and Amelia, we meet them for the first time when they are graduated from a finishing school and are headed back home. Amelia to a marginally wealthy family and Rebecca, who doesn't have a family of her own, follows her there and acts as her best friend and confidant.
The difference between the two is clear from the very start, where you have Amelia pining over a noble man not worthy her attention and Rebecca plotting to be the wife of Amelia's brother and so gaining the wealth she thinks she deserves.
Rebecca fails in her attempt and is send to be a governant of another wealthy family which she sends into ruin, merely to serve her own agenda. Two brothers want to marry her and she marries the younger one, Rawdon Crawley, thinking he being the favourite of their rich aunt, they'll inherite a large fortune upon her demise. She hadn't counted upon the stubborness of his aunt in denying their union and giving her fortune to Rawdon's brother.
In the end Rawdon sees his wife for the cunning fox she is and leaves her on her own. She regaines her bohemian nature and lives on the outskirts of decency trying hard to get back into the goodwill which ultimately lands her with Joseph Sedley, Amelia's brother.
On the other end of the story we have Amelia. After her family falls into ruin, she is cast out of society. George Osborne, the man she loves, has been forbidden by his father to continue his courtship and marry the poor girl. Upon insistence of his best friend, Captain Dobbin, he does marry Amelia and is being denied by his father. He joins the army against Napolean and gets killed in action.
Captain Dobbin, who fell for Amelia the first time he lay eyes on her, dedicated his life to make Amelia's life a little easier to bear.
Back with her parents in a small cottage in London, she sees her young son grow up and lives solely for him. When Dobbin reappears, she says she can't marry him out of respect of her dead husband. Captain Dobbin knowing George Osborne for the fellow he is, can't bear to tell the truth to Amelia and makes the best of the situation.
After a quarrel he decides he has wasted his life waiting on her and leaves. Amelia then realizes what a fool she has been and all ends well for them both.
I loved to read this book, and it's a novel of some size. It's a lovely story, that just grips you enough to keep on reading.
I symphatized with Amelia and Dobbin, couldn't wait what misschief Rebbeca was up to, when Captain Crawley would realize what a vixen his wife was.
It took me some time to finish, but I blame that on poor time management.
Invest some time and you'll be amazed how a novel without a heroine can get you to the edge of your seat.
I truly tried to think of something negative to say about this book, but coming up blank I'm just saying that it isn't a Five star novel, for that I would need that hook that won't let me put the book down unless I really have to, but from me it's a solid FOUR star effort!
Personal rating: ****
Thickness: 912 pages
First published in 1848