So, it’s half way through January. I assume most of us have not given up on those resolutions yet. As for me and mine…
Well I did actually finish The Way We Live Now in December and I’m about 5 minutes into this month’s pick–The Three Musketeers, so I’m rocketing ahead.
I haven’t seen this yet, but it’s Mr. Darcy in The Way We Live Now–
I’ll be finding this baby. (tee hee)
For another resolution, I made my first batch of yogurt–using a crock pot. I’ll write about that sometime–maybe. So far, I’d have to say, well worth it. It’s easy, cheaper, and I’m not done trying to find the perfect recipe yet. I want Liberte yogurt on the cheap.
As for The Way We Live Now.
Did I love it–yes.
Is it my favorite Trollope so far? No, that still belongs to Doctor Thorne.
Do I recommend it? … maybe. It doesn’t have the out and out charm of Barchester Towers or Doctor Thorne. But, it is funny. And it’s full of swindlers. Working with fraud as I do, it felt like my he was mocking my job at times.
The thing about The Way We Live Now is that it’s about all these people who are either straight out criminals or justify their shady behavior, because–it’s The Way We Live Now. I think what bothered me the most was who got happier endings. It felt like those who did–didn’t deserve them and those who didn’t were just screwed over. Probably too much like real life for me.
Especially Paul Montague. And the lack of a happy ending for poor Roger. I don’t care if Trollope says Roger was all smiles at the end–I think he was just hiding his pain.
So, here’s Paul’s story. His money is wrapped up in some sort of American company though he’s British, and he’s trying to make his way in American. Only to come back without his funds and with a fiancée. Whom he promptly dumps at the recommendation of his good British friend (Roger) who is legitimately trying to look out for him.
Paul’s fiancée is this poor American divorceé who truly loves him, works out her finances in France (I assume so she can support him) and comes to England to win back her man. At this point, however, stupid Paul jerk-face is in love with a genuinely good English lass.
But what does he do?
Oh, he makes out with the former fiancée, take her on trips, to the theater…all the while being PISSED that she’s taking up his time from that idiot girl Hetta.
He leads the fiancée on, giving her hope, only to finally crush her leaving her alone and friendless in a foreign country after having gotten in a few last kisses. She threatens him at one point with a horse whip, and oh, how I wish she’d done it. Man, I’d like to whip the crap out of that jerkhole. I don’t care if he’s fictional–he deserves it.
And maybe, that’s why Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now is utterly brilliant. Because you legitimately want beat up his characters. Oh, and slap some sense into Hetta.
Poor Hetta, stupid enough to go for the guy with the previous fiancée–who she knows he screwed over.
These are Paul’s thoughts on the matter:
“No doubt he had behaved badly to Mrs. Hurtle but that trouble he had overcome. And now Hetta was quarreling with him though he had certainly never behaved badly to her. He was almost angry with Hetta as he walked home.”
That’s right–he’s angry that Hetta’s upset after finding out that Paul had a previous fiancée, treated her horribly, and then moved onto Hetta.
Hetta, Hetta, Hetta.
*****Nearly unconnected thoughts, feel free to skip ahead:
Hetta, you make me “two face” myself by spoiling another book here. For the preface to this thought, let me say, I LOVE Jane Austen, but man, I can NOT stand Mansfield Park.
Why you ask?
Well let me tell you, sure the guy who’s chasing Fanny is a ruffian or a scoundrel or whatever. But when she ends up at her birth family’s home, working hard, alone, and friendless–who comes to her and helps her out?
Oh, the scoundrel. Can you be the scoundrel and not genuinely in love when any guy that–especially at that time is like–“yeah, your family sucks, let me make this easier on you.” I have to say, this action seems to make that scoundrel more a diamond in the rough that a loser.
And that is why Paul is a loser and what’s-his-name is a gem.
And that, my friends, is why I hate Mansfield Park with its pathetic little pseudo-love story which feels an awful lot more like a settling for the second-rate, cold-hearted cousin than actually falling in love. And it’s why a beating would be good for Paul–and his getting one would be good for all of us.
*********End nearly unconnected thoughts.
Regardless, of my above nearly unconnected theory that once a scoundrel always a scoundrel or true love can help a rogue into a Mr. Darcy, I hate that Hetta married Paul instead of Roger. If anyone was Mr. Darcy in this book–it was Roger.
And if anyone deserved to be loved, it was him.
But yay me for reading something that was well-written, fun, and intellectually stimulating And now for perhaps for the best lines of the book, especially for me as a fraud investigator:
“There was much that he was ashamed of…But never once, not for a moment, did it occur to him to repent of the fraud in which his whole life had been passed…Not to cheat, not to be a scoundrel, not to live more luxuriously than others by cheating more brilliantly was a condition of things to which his mind had never turned itself.”
“One seems inclined to think, sometimes, that any fool may do an honest business, but fraud requires a man to be alive and wide awake at every turn.”
Amen, old school fraudsters, amen new school fraudsters.
If only you’d use your power for good. Think of what a beautiful place earth could be. Up next:
Not that one. But it’s possible I’ll watch it. If the tots like it, maybe I’ll watch it
many, many, many times.
But the next one up is the actual book, The Three Musketeers. Won’t you join me?