Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mango Momma's Non Doggie Book Review

After recently reading Gone with the Wind and The Cain Mutiny (actually re-reading since they are two of my favorite books of all time) I decided to supplement my usual fare of dog books and mysteries with selections from Pulitzer prize winning novels. 

Last night I completed the 1919 winner, The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington.

Library junkies, like me, will appreciate that the version I obtained from my local library was not the pristine edition shown above, but this well worn volume, donated to the library in 1980, no doubt during somebody's housecleaning activities. Ah, the smell of a well worn book. 

And what of the book itself? First of all, the writing is absolutely delicious. Almost every page contains a treasure. Here is one of my favorites:

"Mrs. Johnson came in, breathing noticeably: and her round head, smoothly but economically decorated with the hair of an honest woman, seemed to be lingering far in the background of the Alpine Bosom which took precedence of the rest of her everywhere."

Love it! The book takes place in the early 20th century, a time not unlike the times we live in today with technology expanding at an alarming rate and personal fortunes that seemed so secure at one moment gone in the next.

The central character, George Amberson, demonstrates that the trials of youth have changed little over the decades. He suffers from an inflated idea of the world revolving around him... with tragic consequences.

Another example of the writing is taken here from a letter posted to George's mother after a young George assaulted another boy (for yelling slights about George's mother).

"I trust such a state of undisciplined behaviour may be remedied for the sake of the reputation for propriety, if nothing higher, of the family to which this unruly child belongs."

Ah, my middle aged brain mourns the loss of the full use of the English language in everyday speech as well as a time when people could resolve their issues without resorting to a punch in the face or some sort of slander on the Internet.

Orson Welles made a movie out of the book in 1942. I was kind of glad that the DVD version wasn't available as I have never been a fan of Orson Welles (and this book certainly has a "Rosebud" ending) but as part of my Pulitzer journey, I am going to try and watch movie versions after reading the books.

Still with me? Here is a photo of the boys anxiously waiting for me to stop hogging the computer and get our day started.

Mango Momma


monica said...

Your colourful usage of the English language whenever describing the boys dos and don'ts is indeed something I enjoy very much... Hearing of your enjoyment of other peoples language skills reveals whereyou get it from... I would reommend to you another blog: Oneof your fellow Americans, her usenof the language is extremely entertaining... However, she is not into dogs at all...

Lassiter Chase and Benjamin said...

Something totally not book related. Mango, Mommy told me, she went with a group to a restaurant, and they didn't have a choice for dessert. The waiter just brought out everyone Mango and Apricot Sorbet. Mommy hesitated and everyone was saying -- why don't you want to eat it, blah, blah, blah. So, she ended up eating it - because she was apparently making a scene by not eating it. Butt she was thinking the entire time -- what end of the Mango did this come out of and why was it frozen. Mommy had a Mastiff of a headache after she finished eating the Sorbet. Next time -- Mommy will pass on dessert!

The Teacher's Pets said...

I am always reading classic literature as that is what English majors do and so I will definitely put this recommendation at the top of my list. I am one to watch the movie version as well as that was the way I studied for literature exams long ago and the habit has stayed with me since then.
Thanks for recommendation!

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

Even though my mom LOVED the beautiful descriptive words... I'll bet she won't give up her readin of MYSTERIES.. She just finished Seephen J. Cannell's VIGILANTE last night.

Bouncing Bertie said...

Interesting review, thank you Mango Momma. One to add to my list. I so agree with you about use of our wonderful rich language.

rottrover said...

I did see the movie at some point, because it is considered one of Welles' flops. It didn't inspire me to read the book - as you have. Added to list!

Ina in Alaska said...

I just love old stories like this one (which I have not read)-- but will someday! Thanks for the recommend!

And indeed, all the pups here are getting along famously with little Ayla. It has been such a pleasure to have her around. What an easy baby!

houndstooth said...

I love classic literature, and this story sounds very intriguing. We've been watching Downton Abbey lately and I agree about all the new technology and new horizons of the time.

Another book you might enjoy is The Little Stranger which is written about a family that was once very wealthy before the war and then finds themselves barely making ends meet while living in a grand house that may or may not be haunted.

Sam said...

I'm still stuck on the "non doggie book" part... I didn't know they had those! BOL!


Sue said...

I too love words and that's probably why I'm such a big fan of Dickens. I shall definitely add this to my 'to read' list which keeps growing no matter how fast I read.

Amber DaWeenie said...

What! You means to tell me you read books without Mangos or Dexters in them????

scotsmad said...

SHE's currently reading 'Anne of Green Gables' as SHE realised that SHE'd seen the miniseries and movies but never actually read the book!

SHE enjoys the language in the James Herriot books.

Will add The Ambersons to the list.

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

Lorenza said...

Sounds like a pawesome book!
I hope you all have a super duper sunday!
Kisses and hugs

Murray's Mouth said...

Nicely written...and I love a REAL book instead of my Ipad :)

Two French Bulldogs said...

mom is afraid a good book is going to be extinct soon, since everything is going into E-books....
Benny & Lily

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

Mango and Dexter I know just how you feel. There are days I have to poke my head right around the computer screen and make Mom look at me. Sometimes you even gotta throw in some nudges. Geesh, enough is enough it's Emma time. Right?

I feel your agony. What works for you? How do you get your Mom off the computer?


Rocky Creek Scotties and Rocky Creek Ramblings said...

I have recently graduated to a kindle fire - fought the notion for quite some time as I too like the smell and feel of a well loved book. Truthfully, I don't think I'll ever go back!!

Have a great day.

The Rocky Creek Scottie Mom

PS - GWTW is my all time favorite book and I can pick it up, start reading at any page and be perfectly happy.

Fiona, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

If we can ever get Mom to divert from her stack of books that currently includes 1984, Wicked, and a mystery set in ancient Rome, we might have her add this one to her list - she likes books using language like 'hair of an honest woman'. Heh.

*kissey face*
-Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

Homer said...

Thanks for sharing your short article on 'Non Doggie Book' review. I enjoyed readin it. :-)

Hope all is well.


Homer said...

Thanks for sharing your short article on 'Non Doggie Book' review. I enjoyed readin it. :-)

Hope all is well.