Pride and Prejudice is not an easy read. It takes intense focus and dedication to complete any one of Jane Austen’s books. However, if you look deeper into the long words and confusing sentence structure, you’ll find a story like no other.
Jane Austen’s are some of the most brilliant characters I’ve had the pleasure to read about. Specifically Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, the protagonists of Pride and Prejudice. The way their own flaws determined how they reacted to the situations they found themselves in, which lead to even more conflict, was done is such a masterful way. Not to mention the witty humor and conflicting personalities throughout the whole book. Even the side characters were full of depth, which is something I think is difficult to find in contemporary novels.
From a technical point of view, I loved the story structure. From the character development of both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, to the unexpected plot twists they faced. Pride and Prejudice is incredibly rich with literary gold. As someone who reads a lot of 19th century novels, I admit some have been dry. However I don’t believe this genre of literature should be given the blanket term of “boring” as it has by so many other teenagers. With this review, I hope to eliminate even a small portion of this stereotype, with Pride and Prejudice being one of the best examples.
I recommend this book to all teenagers, whether classic literature is their favorite genre or not. And if you’ve tried to read it before, I strongly suggest you try again. Within the pages of Pride and Prejudice, Austen has created a painting consisting of colors the world had never seen before. And perhaps will never see again.
“I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.”
-Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.
When I first picked up The Little Prince, I thought that it was going to be a simple story with an easy-to-follow plot of a stranded pilot in the desert. However, as soon as I started reading, I knew that my preconceived notions couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, The Little Prince is a short book filled with illustrations, but Antoine de Saint-Exupery has created a book in which not a lot happens, and yet everything that does happen has incredible meaning.
My favorite part about this novella was how the relationships between the small cast of characters were extremely dynamic. Antoine de Saint-Exupery uses their similarities and contrasts to build many beautiful themes including what our purposes are in the world, the give and take within friendships, and how sometimes we can take what and who we love for granted. I found his ability to convey all these themes very impressive considering how short the story is.
It’s clear that The Little Prince is not your average children’s book. The narrator speaks in plain words of great concepts, which I thought was unusually brilliant. The descriptions of the scenery were subtle due to the illustrations but the descriptions of the many emotions the characters experienced were very vivid and drew you even further into the story. I would definitely recommend that everyone, no matter their age, read this wonderful tale, and I’m looking forward to reading more of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s books.
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Messenger is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.
Despite this being the first time I had ever read Anne of Green Gables, the book had an unmistakable nostalgic feel to it. Montgomery has perfectly captured the dialogue, thoughts, and emotions of 11-year-old Anne Shirley, making her character come alive and showing the reader the world through her eyes. Because of this, the reader instantly cares about Anne’s struggles in life, both large and small, and most of which were self-inflicted. However as Anne learns from her mistakes, we realize, along with the other characters in the book, that the things that seemed annoying (for example Anne’s quick and excessive talking,) were the very things that made her unique. And when Anne doesn’t talk quite as much due to all the complaints she had gotten, it shows the true impact that words can have on people, for better or for worse.
Another great aspect of this book was the scenery. From the first chapter, the reader steps into the subtle yet perfectly described city of Avonlea, Canada. Throughout the story Montgomery continues to add to the charm of the countryside descriptions, painting a vivid picture of the quiet little town.
In 320 pages, Anne Shirley has grown from a lonely orphan to a fulfilled women, on a path to an exciting future. And thanks to L. M. Montgomery, we get to experience it all right along with her.
“Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worth while.”
―L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.
Written in the year 1925, The Great Gatsby is one of the most complex and analytical books I have ever read. In just 218 pages F. Scott Fitzgerald has taken The American Dream and the enigma of hope-two of the world’s most complicated ideas and molded them into a work of fiction so powerful it helped shape both literature and our very perspectives.
So what makes The Great Gatsby so great? In my reading experience, I have seen two types of books; those which are driven by external conflict (what happens to the characters) and those that are driven by internal conflict (what happens because of the characters). It’s easy to see that the Great Gatsby is extremely character-driven, and thus the problems that they face are also internally driven. Their futures are devised by the choices they made in the past, both good and bad. This makes the external conflict matter more to the reader, giving the book that much more meaning.
But besides the unique characters and carefully crafted plot, the subtle symbolism and heavy themes in The Great Gatsby took my breath away. Themes like how, much like Gatsby, we all have that one almost unattainable goal that always seems just out of reach. And although Daisy Buchanan isn’t the most likable character, Fitzgerald used even her character to show the themes of the book. Themes of regret, the dangers of power, the contrast of what we think the world should be, opposed to what it is, and most importantly…hope.
“Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning– So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.
Craftfully weaving suspense, fast-paced dialogue, and humor into this classic yet unique whodunnit murder mystery, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole novel.
First published in 1926, Christie admitted that this was one of her favorite novels that she’s ever written, and its popularity quickly helped establish her title of The Queen of Mystery. Per usual with Agatha Christie’s books, I loved how the characters were all developed perfectly, their personalities growing almost life-like as the story and mystery went on. The first-person narrative and detailed descriptions ground you in the story, and the plot twists will have you reading until the very end.
Hercule Poirot, Christie’s famous detective, adds a level of wit and cleverness to this book like no other, challenging the reader to try and figure out exactly how his mind works, and solve the mystery along with Poirot.
This has definitely been my favorite Agatha Christie book I’ve read thus far due to the revolutionary breakthroughs it brought into the mystery genre, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
“The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and beautiful to the seeker after it.”
-Agatha Christie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.