Friday, January 3, 2014

Adverbiously excellent

When I was in 6th grade, I discovered The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, and I swooned over sensitive Ponyboy Curtis. We had to write a book "report" for school every week--basically a formalized reading journal--and I thought The Outsiders was so fabulous that I asked my teacher if I could write a gushing letter to the author instead of writing my regular book report. She granted permission, then wrote critically on my letter, "You haven't finished the book yet?!" No, I thought, but who needs to actually finish this book to recognize it's GENIUS?

I'm only a third of the way into A Tale of Two Cities, and with my 6th-grade teacher's criticism still ringing in my ears, I won't write to Dickens yet--but I don't need to finish the book to recognize it's genius. Sure, it's a little melodramatic, and Lucie Manette is a little too diminutive, but it's so delightfully snarky, without being mean like Hawthorne, and so full of witty metaphors and imagery, and such a linguistically entertaining romp, that I'm ready to give it an A+. It still gets an F from 11-year-old me (the language was simply too challenging), but the experienced watcher of British period dramas, 46-year-old me, is already prepping the fancy gold-glitter-glue A+.

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