This morning I did a Pigeon story time. All Pigeon books.
There were even Pigeon flannel boards... (NO MORE PIGEONS JUMPING ON THE BED.)
It was super fun.
Anyway, remember way back when, when I said that one my goals this year was to never be more than 1 year behind on my book reviewing? Yeah. I still have February 2007 books. There 19 books that I read Feb-Apr of last year and still haven't blogged about. Ai yai yai!
So, let's do this thing, shall we?
The Painted Veil W. Somerset Maugham
First of all, I can't post about Somerset Maugham without bringing this up: Did you ever see the Family Guy episode where Peter's in trouble and Lois calls and Chris answers the phone and says "Dad! It's Mom!" and then you see Peter with his fingers crossed going "Please be Somerset Maugham, please be Somerset Maugham"
Ok, so... Kitty was always the beauty of her faded-glory family. As the beauty, education was not invested in her--she was going to marry well to help the family. Raised to believe she was a prize catch, she was picky in choosing her fiance, until the time came when her looks started to fade and her promise was unfilled. Desperate, she married a bacteriologist she did not love, but would take her to the colony of Hong Kong.
After discovering she was having an affair with the assistant Colonial Secretary, her husband forces her to accompany him to a remote area in China where there is a severe cholera outbreak.
Once there, confronted with a dying village in a strange and beautiful land, she starts volunteering at an orphanage and starts to see more meaning in life than she's ever known before.
The language is beautiful and moving. Maugham's detached narration makes it more subtle than many works today that like to hit you over the head. Many see Kitty's transformation as weak by modern standards, which is too bad. I couldn't put this down and lost myself as Kitty tried to move beyond the limitations set on her by her family.
I have not seen the movie, because I hear it's less about Kitty's self-discovery and more about Kitty finally falling in love with her husband. I don't think the cinematography could make up for such a mutilation.
Tao. Some of us look for the Way in opium and some in God, some of us in whiskey, and some of us in love. It is all the same Way and it leads to no whither.