Thursday, March 24, 2016

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray [1847]

A lot of people dislike this book because pretty much ALL the characters are deeply flawed. I would like to direct these people to the book's subtitle- A Novel Without a Hero.
The story is very meandering and basically follows the lives to two women, Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley. Becky is clever and pragmatic, almost to the point of deviousness. Born from a poor family, she uses any means to better her situation. She is attractive, but not extremely so, and uses her wits to climb the social ladder. Amelia is on the other end of the spectrum. She is quiet, demure, and pretty much the model of a perfect 1815 wife. She was despised by readers even in her time for being apparently perfect, but when you really take a closer look at her character, she isn't really all that much better then anybody else.

My favorite character is Major William Dobbin, a rather ugly, but (mostly) steadfast and chivalrous man. He unfortunately spends pretty much all his adult life providing for Amelia and her child after she's widowed, but she doesn't seem to be the most attentive person, and doesn't notice the extent of his devotion.

My favorite thing about this book was the narrator. I think that if the narration had been your standard omniscient and anonymous narrator, I might not have loved reading it so much. Because this book was released in monthy serials, the narrator even says what people are saying to him about his story! And a lot of his observations are quite hilarious.

The Verdict: A-
A fun read, but quite a commitment, being over 600 pages long. Some people might find it tedious, I really like it though.

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