Vanity Fair by William Thackeray – Readalong Wrap-Up!

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So Vanity Fair has come to an end. And getting to that end had some rather painfully boring bits – not going to lie. In fact, there were chapters that convinced me I would never finish the book, chapters that I literally have no recollection of what happened. But that’s okay because much of Thackeray’s story was superfluous fluff that got lost somewhere along the way for me. I definitely think my main issue was the audio. Not that this particular audio was bad, just that an 800+ page Victorian monstrosity should probably be read if I want to catch all the nuances and details. Lesson learned. Also, SPOILERS.

However, the last 200 pages or so were quite entertaining learning how everyone’s story concluded. I’m glad Amelia finally understood that her marvelous George was a devious rascal and that Dobbin truly loved her. I did get the feeling that by the time they married Dobbin’s feelings had rather cooled towards Amelia though. As for dear, darling Becky, we can only assume that she had some major role in Jos’s death as she continued on with her wily ways. The children, little Rawdon and Georgie, appear to have grown up well enough and hopefully their lives in the Vanity Fair will turn out more honest. But judging how ensconced society still is in the conceit of the Vanity Far some 150+ years later, I sort of doubt it.

In addition to finishing the novel, I also viewed the 2004 film starring Reese Witherspoon. I thought the movie was okay. The casting really intrigued me and turned out fairly perfect. I especially loved Jonathan Rhys Meyer as George Osborne. Perfection. Reese Witherspoon was a good choice for Becky, but Julian Fellows and his fellow script writers dropped the ball on her characterization. They did their best to make her a redeemable character – far less of the wicked little social climber that Thackeray created which bothered me. Do we not watch films with wicked women as lead characters or do we just demand that a wicked woman be getting ahead for reasons we can justify? Can’t she just want a title and money for a title and money’s sake?

I compared Becky Sharp to Moll Flanders throughout my entire time with her. I love Moll Flanders something fierce, even the movie adaptations. For this reason, I think my love for Becky Sharp could never surpass a trifle fondness. Without a doubt, a marvelous character and Vanity Fair’s best, but I didn’t embrace her quite as much as Moll.

Do I recommend this book to fellow readers? If you love Victorian literature and can deal with myriad side plots and large families with the same name – YES! Otherwise, good luck! I’m immensely glad I read Thackeray’s supposed masterpiece but have a feeling the details will fade over time. Now that you’ve read my ridiculous blunderings, head over to Melissa’s blog for the official wrap up post! And a huge thank you to Trish and Melissa for hosting!

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Vanity Fair Readalong: Midway Check-In

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At least it’s midway for some lovely folks! I, however, have fallen a bit behind, or rather I got a late start. I set aside the audio of IT in order to spend all my time listening to Vanity Fair in a desperate attempt to reach the finish line on time. Despite my slight failure at the midway point, I’m fairly positive I’ll finish up along with everyone else. For the sake of this update, I’m on chapter 29 when we should have read through chapter 34 – not too shabby! So what do I think so far?

There are far too many people named Crawley. And no one has a first name so they are impossible to follow. I feel like audio makes this even more difficult for some reason. Or maybe my mental capacities just fall short when I don’t have words to stare at.

Our two protagonists – Amelia and Becky – are interesting opposites who play well against each other. I don’t particularly like either of them, but look forward to seeing where their separate plots will take them. I’m also enjoying Amelia’s growing disdain for Becky and eagerly anticipate someone bitch slapping Becky soonish.

As for the men, I don’t even know what to think. Honestly, most of them bore me to tears and I’d marry not a single one of the bunch.

What keeps me going in Thackeray’s little story are the plot twists. While I haven’t encountered too many as of yet, the ones I have stumbled upon only promise more delicious delights in the near future. I can feel a trembling underfoot – something insanely wicked is sure to happen soon and I wouldn’t be opposed to this or that character biting the dust. With old Boney and the Battle of Waterloo quickly approaching our strapping young men, I predict bloodshed and weeping women soon enough. Is it wrong to look forward to this?

To be completely honest, Vanity Fair hasn’t lured me in like many other Victorian novels. I’m feeling rather lost in the minute details that don’t seem to matter much, the headache of remembering one Crawley from another, and this overwhelming feeling that none of it matters.  Hopefully, a turning point will come soon and I’ll race through the latter half of the novel.

If you want to join along in the discussion, it’s never too late! Just hop on over to Trish’s or Melissa’s blog and get chatty! They are our fine hosts for this readalong and pretty much group read experts at this point! Now I better get back to the Fair!!