Originally published August 29th, 2015
I finished it!
That’s about all I can say for this book. It wasn’t as difficult to get through as War and Peace, or Little Dorrit. But that isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. Really I can’t think of one to give. This is a book. It’s been around for a long time, and lots of people have read it. You might like it. Or you might not. The closest I can come to engaging discussion about this book is wondering whether Thackeray invented (I don’t have any education in literary history, so I’m speculating wildly) the anti-hero in Rebecca Sharp. She’s certainly not a likable individual. Though after Amelia Sedley’s incessant, self-effacing, cloying angelicalness it was a relief to come back to Rebecca! Well, for a chapter or two. Thackeray created two female characters, one of whom only thinks of what she can get from others, and the other never thinks of herself at all. And then he kept them apart for the whole book. As if he wrote a study of different lifestyle choices. Because Rebecca and Amelia rarely interact, their respective impacts on each other stay pretty small. The only thing left for us to analyse is the difference between how their lives play out. Which may or may not be worth reading the whole book to learn. You could maybe just buy the Cliff notes for this one.