Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book Review: The Inheritance by Lousia May Alcott

I was inspired to order this book again after seeing the movie adaptation of the story last week, so this is almost more of a comparison post than a proper review; however, first I will talk about the writing style which obviously isn't that connected to the movie.. or is it? There is a definite 'distance' created by the overtly poetic writing style which is somewhat betrayed by how it runs through your head! As I told my sister, I partly read it so fast because I was starting to think about the most everyday things in a fluting high flown style which is rather irritating in daily life. Not that I dislike poetic imagery (L. M. Montgomery is one of my muses), but the Gothic overtones of this got a whee bit head-achy. :)

The movie softens, no, does away with, the melodrama, leaving the natural intensity of the scenes and story to play out all the more profoundly. The workings of the story are vastly different from that of the book, but the spirit of it -- the integral parts of Percy giving his friendship so freely to Edith, her courage and skill with horses (though only slightly seen in the novel), even all the way to Edith looking “long and sadly” at the portrait of her father -- are all neatly tied in.

Perhaps it's my excitement for anything Ivanhoe, but I thought the whole imagery with the tableaux, Edith as Rebecca and Arlington as the Templar (while perhaps quite blatant) worked very neatly into their relationship. Having there be a Hamilton son certainly makes the whole disinherited thing a bit stronger, but why oh why was Edith so submissive to all of Ida's orders? It drove me crazy! It does make her more Cinderella-like to be sure, but I didn't see why Edith owed any especial deference to her. Why, if Lord Percy had been but a touch less observant he might have never seen anything of it! Observation, however, is the very keystone of his character which is something they bring out very well in the movie and also a character trait I highly admire/respect, so all is well. :)

Do I think it can be completely compared to the movie? Not at all. The book is quite melodramatic, with crumbling walls and single dropping tears – whereas the movie, in its thoughtful friendship, refreshingly gentle romance and adorable humor is one of the most everyday-like costume dramas I have ever seen.

Though the book was rather slower than I remembered it being, I had a great deal of fun remembering and placing little anecdotes and keys from it as seen in the movie and enjoyed my re-visit to it.


  1. I do remember getting tired of the writing style of this book. I definitely I enjoyed the move far more. After reading your comparison/review I think I may opt for a re-watch of the movie before I do a re-read in the future. ;)

    1. Natalie,
      The writing style is certainly unique in my general reading. :) What time period were most of the books you read written in?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Eowyn,
      Hmmm, good question. I'm honestly not quite sure. I've read so many older books such as Jane Austen or L. M. Montgomery, but I think so far in my life I've read the most books from the 20th century. Maybe even the 21st, although a lot of them are historical fiction. I should go through my books and count them up sometime! :)
      What about you? Do you know what time period the majority of your reading is from?

  2. I actually like the film a LOT better than the book. The book doesn't have a great grasp on reality or relationships but then considering this was Louisa's first novel, we can excuse her. :)

    1. Rissi,
      I am 100% with you! The movie is so much better! I don't actually compare movies and books all the time, because sometimes they can be totally different from the other and each be perfect in their own way, but in this case I can't help it and have no regrets. :)


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