"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton
This is where I chronicle my reading life. I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.
[Still catching up on my 2015 books]
In the first half of this book, while I was still enjoying it, I was also feeling conflicted about my enjoyment of it because OSC's devotion to the "sanctity of [his definition of] marriage" is pretty nauseating to me. So I lamented that, "I wish OSC wasn't so homophobic, or that he didn't write such good stories."
The second half of that ended up coming true in the course of this book.
The book is a retelling of the Russian version of the Sleeping Beauty story, and the first half, as Ivan gets his bearings after he kisses the princess and ends up in the past, was very intriguing. It was interesting to see the way he struggled to assimilate to a different way of doing things, as well as the society's reaction to his different way of thinking. He is not the man that the princess or her father would have chosen to break the curse, but he's what they have and they have to somehow make the best of it.
But in the second half of the book, it devolves into generalities about men, women, and marriage and begins to read like a bad romance novel -- not to mention being a little bit on the creepy side while it's supposed to be funny. OSC's conservative agenda permeates the whole second half of the book, from Ivan's observation that even women from two different times and cultures somehow "magically" understand one another in the kitchen even without speaking the same language, to the literal villainization of the one "feminist" character in the book. (Btw, in the acknowledgements, OSC includes reference to SIX PAGES of a Jewish feminist journal as informing this character's "rhetoric" which is SO not enough to understand a feminist sensibility, and it shows.)
So, four stars for the first half of the book, two stars for the second -- for an average of three stars, and a book that I won't be keeping on my shelf.