Classics Club, Book #2: Silas Marner

This is my second post for The Classics Club.  I’ll be reading one classic book a month for the next 4-5 years.  Here’s the list of all the books I’ll be reading.  I’ll try not to include too many spoilers in my review but I may need to discuss some in order to fully review the book. I’ll warn you if I’m going to mention one.  

Silas Marner by George Eliot (real name: Mary Anne Evans)

006 (800x533)still nursing, still reading

  • Year Written: 1861
  • Re-read? Or new to me?:  new to me (although I’ve had the book on my bookshelves for over 10 years)
  • Number of Pages: 205
  • Date Finished: I forgot to write that down – around 2/18/14
  • Number of Days it took me to read it: maybe 5? (I forgot to write that down too.)
  • Page/Day ratio:  41:1
  • Would I want to read this in English class?: Sure, why not?

Review: My mom loves this book. I bought it many years ago, wanting to discover why she loved it so much.  I’m not sure why it took this Classics Club challenge to get me to finally open it but I’m glad I did.

First lesson I learned from this book: Don’t read the introduction to the novel before you read the novel.  I’m a fairly obsessive reader (i.e. I read everything, the acknowledgements, [skim] the notes, usually even the copyright page) on my way through the book.  So if it’s starts with an introduction by another author, I just read it.  Unfortunately, in this case, the introduction contained just about every major plot point and before I realized what I was reading, I knew the whole plot line of the story, including all spoilers except for one which isn’t all that important and isn’t revealed until almost the very end of the story.  So let that be a lesson to you too!

Overall, I must say I was a little bit bored while reading.  I blame the introduction for this more than anything.  I didn’t have any reason to keep reading because I read a nice seven page summary to start off the book.  The power of a child’s love and the themes of rebirth and redemption were strong and compelling.

I have to admit to no real love for any of the characters.  They were all pretty one-dimensional (in particular, the female characters) and I had a hard time connecting with any of them.  I think I liked Dolly Winthrop the best.  I hope I can be as kind, generous, and compassionate as she was if I see others in need.  (And hand-me-down clothes were useful even 150 years ago!)  I found the Godfrey character the most interesting, particularly how he changed over the years of his marriage to Nancy.

I am intrigued/confused by the religious community that Silas Marner was thrown out of at the beginning of the book.  Was it a cult?  Or a really extreme sect of the mainstream Christian denomination at the time?

Finally, reading this book made me grateful that I have grown up as a female in the 20th/21st century United States (as opposed to Victorian England).

P.S. Last week, I was going through some old books and made this awesome discovery!

011 (800x533) (3)See the name at the top?  She’s my great-grandmother who I was named after!

010 (800x533) (2)

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4 Responses to Classics Club, Book #2: Silas Marner

  1. Mom says:

    That’s a treasure!

  2. Sepideh Miller says:

    It has been a long time since I have read this book, but my first question on reading this review was “Was he a Calvinist?” Wikipedia says, “Yes.”

    I guessed this because most of the Puritans whose lives and literature were depressing according to all the many chapters of the Norton’s Anthology of American Literature, that put me to sleep in high school, were Calvinists. My impression of Calvinism was that there is only a fixed number of seats in Calvinist heaven. Most people are not going to get in, but the ones who are going to get in are predetermined. Calvinists lived in constant fear that they had to be as pious as possible because what if they were not one of the chosen ones.

    I think that I formed this impression after reading The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell. (I see you have read that too.)

    • Laura says:

      Hi Sepideh! Thanks for doing the research that I was too lazy to do. And yes, I did read The Wordy Shipmates. I was on a Sarah Vowell kick for awhile. I really liked the one about the history of Hawaii, Unfamiliar Fishes.

  3. Pingback: Classics Club, Book #4: The Awakening | Salmon and Souvlaki

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