Do You Ever Read the Books You Burn?: Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

So today ends Banned Book Week. As this is the first time in forever that it runs into October, I thought what better time than now to review this movie.

Guy Montag: Do you remember what you asked me the other day: if I ever read the books I burn? Remember?

Clarisse: Uh-huh.

Guy Montag: Last night I read one.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is one of my absolute favorite books. I was first was introduced to it at the age of 10, when I came across my parents watching the film, this movie. I didn’t quite understand it, so my mom gave me the book to read. Since then I read it at least once a year.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th....

Or 10th, 50th, 100th…

So I don’t always love when they turn a book into a film as usually the film greatly disappoints, but in this case I love this film. Although I do dislike one thing. I can’t stand Julie Christie in the dual roles of Montag’s wife Linda and Clarisse, the woman who makes him start questioning what he believes. I know why the director chose it-to highlight the differences, contrast the personalities, etc.-but I think it makes it seem like he falls for her because she looks like his wife instead of who she is. It turned out to be a last minute decision as they couldn’t get who they wanted (Alfred Hitchcock wouldn’t let Tippi Hedrun go as he was obsessed and controlling her). The studio wanted Julie Christie and François Truffaut decided to have her as both characters.

François Truffaut was known to say he disliked SciFi films, and a friend suggested that he try Fahrenheit 451. He did and was hooked, feeling he needed to make a film of it.

But all was not happy on the set. Terrence Stamp was supposed to be Montag, but dropped out and was recast with Oskar Werner. Werner is the only one in the whole production to have a different accent, German to everyone’s English. I don’t mind as it is another thing that sets him apart from the others. He and Truffaut did not get along, and Truffaut said that if he hadn’t wanted to make film so bad and spent so much time raising money for it, he would have walked. Even though the two had their differences and fights, the end result of the film looked good to me and remains a favorite dystopian future film.

So we start the film off with seeing how every house has antennae. Everyone watches TV, are they also being watched?

Hmm…

The credits are read out to you instead of you reading-to go with the no reading anything in the future. This adds to the creepiness. of the film.

Creepy…

They start the film off immediately with them going in the firetruck all dressed in black suits similar to Nazi uniforms. The firetruck is an old fashioned one that just holds the men-there is no fire hose.

The music playing makes me think of Psycho-the way the music lifts and falls increasing your anxiety. I looked it up and it is by the same composer, Bernard Herrmann.

I can’t believe I got that right!

So back to the film-a man is calmly eating an apple in his home receives a phone call-warning him to get out. He leaves with nothing, running. The fireman come in and start searching for books, finding Don Quixote  in the light-I read somewhere that a lot of the books used are the directors favorites.

They have nasty looking tools they use to search everywhere-the TV is full of books, it being completely fake. You couldn’t do that today with these skinny ones. After they collect all the items they take them outside and burn them all.

I’d be freaking out if those were my books.

A little boy picks up a book off the ground and looks at it, curious. A fireman looks at him-and dad, scared, throws it on the fire.

So in the book all the firemen look alike, one of the reasons why you are given that vocation. They are all dark haired and tall, same build. In here, most of them are all a shade of blonde, ah Nazi ambience again. It makes sense as Truffaut was a preteen during WWII, I’m sure the experiences really affected him, espechially seeing the Nazis taking over French cities. He probably used some of those experiences when directing this.

It is really unsettling to see these men in black and they all look so much alike-a faceless horde in a way.

SUPER creeped

Captain Beatty, Montag’s boss refers to Montag in a kind of the third person-just by his last name. No I You, etc. No individuality at all. 

Montag rides the train home, and runs into Clarisse. In the book she was a teen and a representation of innocence. In here she is a woman, which is not a bad change as they decided to go the route of a romantic relationship.

Clarisse talks to him, and she loves to talk. It seems a bit odd has she comes up and talks to him, I feel it made more sense as a teenager, as being young you wouldn’t always know or recognize social cues like an adult would.

Hmm…

They get off at the same stop because they are neighbors and Clarisse talks to him and asks him if it was true that firemen used to put out fires instead of starting them. Montag laughs at her, and says houses have always been fireproof-firemen have always destroyed books.

Clarisse asks about why Montag does it, and Montag gives the spiel of what they told him, books are rubbish. Clarisse continues to press him on it and Montag continues giving the spiel. I like this because it shows that Montag isn’t thinking about it or believes in the books being an evil to society, but that he has been taught that and never gave it another though-but now, those questions have started a seed in his head.

Clarisse asks him, “Do you ever read the books you burn?” and he repeats the spiel again…but something has him thinking….

Hmmm…

Montag gets home and the TV is on, the TV is always on. His wife is obsessed with the TV calling them “her family”, the announcers being referred to as “cousins”. he TV tlks to people nd calls them  cousins, evryone is one hapy family. His wife, Linda, is so checked out, she only cares about watching TV.

That night she has a special part in the episode. At times the show will pause as they will ask a question and wait for Linda to reply. Montag is checked out of this as he is bored-his upcoming promotion is blah, life is blah, wife is blah. This makes me think of The Truman Show when Truman starts thinking, why did I choose this life and then realizing he didn’t really choose it.

I love all the little touches Truffaut has with the newspaper being just has pictures. I never noticed it before but it looks like the Ku Klux Klan on the back.

While Montag “reads” the paper, Linda watches a mini TV by her bed, I told you that’s her life. She has to watch 24/7.

She’s glued to it. (Picture from Ringu)

Next day at work everyone congratulates him on the promotion, but he’s not as thrilled as he should be. One thing I really like about this is seeing the Montag teach the new recruits. I think it adds to the film. Montag is currently teaching them about concealment-must learn to where you would hide them. Hide in every day objects like toasters, use cylindrical objects like thermos to trick the firemen, using empty TVs, even hiding them in the house construction, etc. All the things he talks about will be shown again in the film as hiding places.

Montag gets called to come see the Captain. When they greet their higher ups they do a saute across the body, again reminiscent of Hitler and the Nazis. I definitely think some aspects of this were influenced by the Occupation of France and WWII

The boss looks though the file, as he wants to talk to him about the promotion. In his file are only pictures-ones from every angle, in fact they look like prison photos. Their whole interaction is strange but we learn a lot about the world they live in. You see Montag is married, childless, says little, and agrees with everything that his boss says. The perfect man to be risen up in power. That’s their ideal person.

That night, Montag gets home and finds the TV off-strange. Something is wrong as Linda always has the TV on.

Something isn’t right…

Linda has overdosed on drugs. Earlier Montag asked her about how many pills she took and she laughed shrugged it off. He calls 911 and no doctor or nurse come. Instead two guys come to pump her stomach and give her a transfusion. I liked in the book how Bradbury described it as a snake going into her, in my mind I aways saw them as like plumbers snaking a drain. The guys are jolly and joking, just another day this happens all the time. The guys joke and laugh as they go out that “tomorrow she’ll be hungry for all types of things”.

The next day Linda is normal, nothing is remembered. Montag is upset and tries to talk to her but she doesn’t care she just has an appetite for everything and all is forgotten as all seems fine, in fact more than fine.

That’s just how I am.

The next day Montag takes the train home and sees Clarisse, thinking about what she said.

One thing that is interesting seeing people on the train, people are all in love with themselves. When he’s on the train he sees the girls looking at themselves and admiring their beauty and the boys doing the same. No one interacts with each other, or talks to each other, etc. They are too busy focused on themselves. It’s like that Billy Idol song, Dancing With Myself. All they care about id their reflection.

The next day Montag comes home with something in his pack. He stuffs it in the bathroom. What is it?

Hmm…

A book?

It is a book!

He’s reading David Copperfield! I really like how they show him reading with his finger under each word. I know they probably did for the camera-but it is how a lot of people read when they first learn.

The next day Clarisse is walking with an older lady and they see Montag, watching him on the train as well. Clarisse goes alone and plans running into him. I don’t like that as much as in the book Clarisse, looked for him at first but then they continued to run into each other organically as Clarisse’s innocence and her total opposite of what was normal to him-intrigued him.

So Clarisse is upset and runs into Montag, the two go into a coffee shop and shares what is going on. She’s upset as she was dismissed from work (she was on probation as a teacher). Montag tells her to go and talk to them, but she doesn’t want to go lone. Clarisse calls Montag’s boss as Linda and says he is sick. I can’t believe Montag would go along with that as he is such a yes man, but I guess that is why he agrees with Clarisse.

So watching this film, I don’t really like Julie Christie in the dual role. I know money was tight and that’s why they ended up doing it that way but I really wish they had another actress in this. Julie Christie as Linda is perfect-she’s froth, light, no substance-only focused on the shallow things in life and checked out-but Christie as Clarisse is where I feel she struggles. It’s not wholly her fault, she trying to be do completely different people, which is extremely tough. Clarisse is light, carefree, innocent, naive, and endearing-Christie tries to do it but instead of being young she comes off as if she is trying too hard to be carefree. It doesn’t work for me.

When they get inside the school the kids all dress the same and are doing their multiplication in perfect unison. It’s really creepy and reminds me of the scene in A Wrinkle in Time when all the kids on the planet do everything in perfect unison.

SUPER creeped

At the school the children all run from Clarisse in fear. They loved her a few days ago, and now they hate her. Someone tosses her belongings tied up in a scarf and slide them down the hall-very clear their message: get out and stay out.

I really like the set of this film-the hallway is long and foreboding. The predominant clothes are red, orange, black, and gray-like fire and firefighters.

Montag admits to Clarisse that he read a book-wow the whole David Copperfield in one night?

Now that he started, he can’t stop. He has more and more book every night, he’s reading and thinking, even reading the dictionary.

Mildred wakes up one evening and starts investigating  finding a ton of them. She’s upset and wants them gone, but Montag is too protective.

Guy Montag: [to Linda] You’ve spent your whole life in front of that family wall. These books are my family.

Montag starts asking Linda questions about their relationship. When did they meet? Why did we get married? How did we fall in love? Linda cannot remember, neither can Montag. It makes me think of The Truman Show, when he starts thinking about his life and how it all happened.

How did this all happen!

The next day Montag tries to use the fireman pole but it’s not working. He has to take the gorgeous spiral staircase. If I ever built a house I would want a spiral staircase as it is just lovely. Anyways, the bell rings, and the men get dressed and go out, instead of the pole, Montag has to take the stairs.

They go to the house and find it unlocked, strange. It’s a beautiful Victorian and the lady comes out-it was the one that Clarisse had been talking to, the teacher who was fired and she took their place. She laughs at the men when she sees them and quotes:

Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.

This lady is awesome-the way she stands up to them. They try to push her around and she laughs in their faces. I hope that if I ever stand up for my beliefs I’m as cool as she is.

Her house is full of books.

There are books everywhere and in everything-every place they could be hidden. They toss them downstairs to burn them.

The hous has a secret room-a secret library.

That’s soooooo cool!!!!!!!!!

Captain Beatty takes Montag upstairs and tells him that every fireman once in their career wants to read one, a book-but he cautions Montag that there is noting.

The Captain: Listen to me, Montag. Once to each fireman, at least once in his career, he just itches to know what these books are all about. He just aches to know. Isn’t that so?…These are all novels, all about people that never existed, the people that read them it makes them unhappy with their own lives. Makes them want to live in other ways they can never really be…Look, all stories of the dead, biography that’s called, and autobiography. My life, my diary, my memoirs, my – intimate memoirs…Robinson Crusoe, the Negroes didn’t like that because of his man, Friday. And Nietzsche, Nietzsche, the Jews didn’t like Nietzsche. Here’s a book about lung cancer. You see, all the cigarette smokers got into a panic, so for everybody’s peace of mind, we burn it….You see, it’s… it’s no good, Montag. We’ve all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

As Captain Beatty rants, he goes through the different books in the library. Here are a few I caught the names of: Othello, Vanity Fair, Alice in Wonderland, Edicts of Aristotle, Robinson Crusoe, Madame Bovary, The World of Salvador Dali, Holy Deadlock, Confessions of an Irish Rebel-etc.

Montag steals a book, but another fireman spots him.

Beatty’s philosophizing is interrupted when they find out the lady won’t leave the house. Montag wants her to be forced to leave, but Beatty doesn’t care and says if she wants to die she can die.

They spray the house with kerosine, but instead of them lighting it up, she has matches in her pocket.

Yep, she’s going to decide when the fire will come. The men run while she burns with her “family”. Montag is the last one out, shaken by the scene. Uncertain of how to feel, what this means, what is right, what is wrong, etc.

Linda and her friends are all gathered watching TV, their talk is meaningless and shallow. Montag is mad and and upset about what happened and shares about how he saw the lady being burned. He’s angry and lashing out at these empty husks-not living but just killing time. Mntag brings out a book and reads it to them, a passage from David Copperfield. One lady, Doris, starts crying as the words evoke emotion in her.

“There can be no disparity in marriage like unsuitability of mind and purpose.”

All the ladies leave. Montag is like an addict, a book addict.

He is compelled to read, he wants to read everything-he feels the need to catch up-as there is just so much and so little time.

That night Montag has a nightmare. He’s i the schoolhouse, on the train, at the lady’s house who burned up, instead of the lady it is Clarisse and he sees her burning.

You know I realized watching the film this time that Clarisse and Montag actually haven’t spent a lot of time together in the film. I feel like they had more meaningful conversations in the book.

Hmm…

That night Clariss hears the siren and sees the firemen coming to her house. She grabs her go bag and escapes through the roof. The next day Montag goes to work but feels sick. Linda can’t stand the books and begs him to get rd of them threatening to leave him as she can’t live with the fear and anxiety, but Montag ignores her

Montag goes to talk toClarisse and finds the house boarded up and that they were arrested last night. Montag has to know if they are alright and hurries to work. Outside, Montag spots Captain Beatty yelling at a recruit. Montag uses that time to sneak into the captain’s office to find out what happened to Clarisse. He uses a stud in his glove to unscrew the window in the door and reach in and unlock it. Very Macgyver. But unbknowst to him, downstaies the captain has just been given the file.

Will Montag get out in time!!?

Oh no! The music emphasizing every step of the Captain.

Montag gets caught, and the Captain shows him the pictures of those that were imprisoned and those that escaped. The captain thinks he wants he house, but questions how he got into his locked office. Before Montag can reply he faints from relief and is sent home.

Mildred decides she can’t do this anymore and reports Montag.

Meanwhile, Montag searches for Clarisse and finds her getting off the train. Clarisse stayed away all night but needs to sneak into her house to get something. She is searching for a list of names and addresses of people hiding, Montag offers to help as it is something he knows how to do and is really good at. Remember he taught all the recruits.

He discovers it in a vase-cylindrical objects, and burns it for Clarisse.

Clarisse admits that she picked hjm out-she thought he would help them. Montag tells her he knows as he realized it when the woman burned herself. Clarisse shares she did it as she was afraid that when they tortured her she would spill everything.

Clarisse shares with him that there is a place where the book people live. People who have escaped from society-they live far away in the hills and country-all have  a book committed to memory. No longer themselves, they are a book.

Or years.

Clarisse asks him to come with him, but Montag has unfinished business. Things he wants to do here, to try and destroy the power of the fireman. They part ways both believing they will never see each other again.

Linda packs up at the house, taking her clothes and a picture of herself (wow, that’s telling), while Montag goes to the station to try to give his resignation-but Beatty refuses it and convinces him to take a final call. When they stop at the house, Montag realizes it is his house!

Montag helps pull all the books out, although he does stuff one in his uniform. They give Montag the flame thrower to destroy it and he burns his bed-the betrayal of his wife.

Then the tv he always hated, the family. He then burns the books-Moby Dick,  Don Juan, The Mystery of Jack the Ripper, Plexus, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, MAD, Lolita, The Brothers Karamoz, etc.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Not the books.

Everytime I watch the books burn my heart breaks a little and it makes me want to cry. This would be me:

Montag won’t let them burn his special book, and when Captain Beatty tries to pull it from him and threatens to arrest him-he turns the flame thrower on Captain Beatty, and the house.

Montag runs away and the authorities call out to all citizens to look out their doors for Montag, a man running and report if they find him. They use all those pictures in his file to splatter across TV.

So in the film, Clarisse told him where to go to find the book people, while in the book he just runs to the country. In both, all people live in the city and no one ever goes out to the country which makes it the perfect place to hide out.

Montag is hidog as they search for him. In the book they sent a mechanical hound that searches for him by his DNA with a needle full of toxic substance that will find him and prick him, killing him. I don’t think they had the technology a the time to make a creepy and realistic looking one. I don’t really want to watch the remake with Michael B. Jordan as you know how I feel about remakes:

I espechially do not like HBO ruining books I like (I did not like The Big Little Lies adaption)-but I would be interested to see how they have they do the hound.

As Montag walks he comes upon a group of people. One man greets him and shows him to a TV where they watch Montag’s capture.

What??

In the future, people have short attention spans and cannot keep the viewers waiting. They must have a climax and they find a guy just walking down the street and shoot him down.

We see different people walking around-hey there is the guy from the very beginning! So remember how the film didn’t have a lot of money? The Book People at the end were mostly played by members of the film crew.

Some of the book people are Plato’s Republic, Wuthering Heights, Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Pilgrim’s Progress, Waiting for Godot, The Jewish Question, The Martian Chronicles, The Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, The Prince, Pride and Prejudice (spilt between two people as it was originally two volumes), etc.

One day society will want them again and books will be printed again.

Montag’s “special book” is Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe. He will be memorizing it and runs into Clarisse,

I love at the end how everyone is walking and reciting their books, Montag reading and trying to memorize his. The lovely words from all different books running over each other as the snow falls.

Everytime I watch this I always winder, which book would I want to memorize? Which would be the one I think is the important enough to carry on to the next generation? I feel like it would be too hard to pick one.

 

For more on Fahrenheit 451, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For more Ray Bradbury, go to Book Club Picks: The Illustrated Man

A Long Fatal Love Chase

LongFatalLoveChase

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

This book by Louisa May Alcott is the anti-Northanger Abbey. That is everything that could go wrong. But I’m getting ahead of myself, first some background.

This book was written in 1866. Alcott had just returned from her job as a companion to a wealthy women during her trip abroad and all throughout Europe. When Alcott came home she discovered that her father had run through almost all their money. Eager to do her part in helping out, she started writing stories and attempted to get them published.

Newspapers were the big story publishers, printing them week by week and often paying per word. Now this was before radio and TV, so these weekly publications of stories was their version of soap operas, every week ending on a cliffhanger.

Since the purpose was to get the reader hooked and constantly buying to find what happened next, they really wanted dramatic stories. Alcott did her best to oblige, only problem? She did a little too well.

Her book was not published as it was far too racy for the day. Think of it as the Fifty Shades of Grey of the 19th century. Yep this novel deals with sex, violence, obsession, abuse, hypocrisy in religion, greed, the question of insanity, mistreatment of women, women’s rights, divorce, bigamy, suicide, murder, etc.

What?

While today’s audiences would go for all that, those back in 1866 dropped it like a hot potato. Alcott shelved the book, it not being published until 1995.

Wow

How Does It Relate to Northanger Abbey?

Hmm…

Well, first you have to understand how Northanger Abbey came about.

In 1605, Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes, was published. This book told the story of Don Quixote, a Spanish nobleman, who reads so many chivalric and romantic  stories (not romance stories as we have today, but the “classical romances”) that he sort of loses his sanity trying to live those values and live in that world, in the modern 17th century. He gets into all kind of crazy antics, battling other “knights”, “monsters”, etc.

In 1752, Charlotte Lennox parodied Don Quixote with her novel, The Adventures of Arabella also known as The Female Quixote. Her story is about a young girl, Arabella, who has been sequestered away in the middle of nowhere with just her father for companionship. Not encountering many people and her mother dying + father ignoring her; she learned all about people and how to interact with them from “classical romances”. This book goes over the problems of having read so many “romance novels”, you expect life to follow, only to be sorely disappointed.

Now Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, published in 1818, was meant to be a parody of The Female Quixote, gothic fiction, societal rules of the day, etc. One of the reasons why a lot of people don’t “get” this novel is that they don’t understand what she is poking fun at or trying to say about these subjects.

Hmm…

In Austen’s story, we have a young girl, Catherine, who has been raised not as sequestered as Arabella, but definitely in the country resulting in some naivety. She loves romance novels and gothic fiction, giving her an overactive imagination.

She is asked to accompany family friends to Bath for a season and while there finds herself encountering some of the problems of the other before mentioned characters. Her education in romance novels didn’t prepare her for how people act. Her overactive imagination does get the best of her as well. The other thing about this book is that Catherine does go through some events that are right out of a romance novel or gothic tale.

She meets two handsome strangers, both trying to win her; encounters some dangerous and immoral men; gets caught up in a plot to get money; and has the man of her dreams come after her to tell her he loves her.

So awesome!

And then we have A Long Fatal Love Chase, written in 1866, and follows the same veins as these other books, except taking a much darker twist.

Now I don’t know if Alcott has read any of these authors and set out to copy part of their ideas or what; but the stories are so similar I can’t help but believe that at least one of these authors inspired her.

The Plot:

A Long Fatal Love Chase, begins with our heroine Rosamund or Rose. She has lived on a small island with her grandfather ever since her parents died when she was very young. She has encountered no other people, from the time of her parent’s death, and therefore has a lot of naivete and a lack of propriety as she doesn’t know better.

Just living in my own world

Life with her grandfather is dreary, as he provides for the physical things (shelter, clothes, food, etc) but ignores Rose and doesn’t care for her emotional being.

This makes her wish that she could have someone take her away from it all, just like in the romance novels. In fact she states

“I would give my soul to the devil, for a year of freedom.”

Enter Philip Tempest.

Tall, brooding, handsome, rich, has a swashbuckling scar, sails around the world on his yacht, etc.

He comes to visit Rosamund’s grandfather and is quite taken with Rose’s sweet disposition, naivete, and young, innocent character. Rose falls in love with him, and dreams of the possibility that he might take her away from everything.

Tempest wants Rose and is not a man used to hearing NO. He plays cards with the grandfather, winning Rose.

I’m taking her.

He carries her away in his boat telling her that he is the master and she must serve him. He wants her only as his mistress, but Rose refuses anything until they are married. Tempest reluctantly agrees.

Women

A year later the couple are living in France to attend the gaieties. Besides Rose and Tempest, their party includes Baptiste, Tempest’s right hand man who does everything he says, and Impolito “Lito”, a Greek cabin boy who looks very familiar (aka Tempest’s child, very obvious). All has been great for the couple until Tempest runs into an old friend Willoughby. Willoughby???!!!

He knows something that Tempest is determined to keep hidden, so Tempest kills him.

Gasp!

Unbeknownst to him, a girl from a flower shop delivers a note to Lito, who then runs off to a secret meeting. Rose sees this and comments on it to Tempest. Tempest becomes so furious that Lito would “correspond” with her, that he sends him away.

Hmm…

Later Rose overhears Baptiste telling Tempest that “no one will find him in the grove.” When she goes to investigate she discovers a  mound of dirt as in a new grave, and the pin she gave Lito.

She starts to think that Tempest might have killed Lito. She still has her doubts, of which all are dashed when she overhears another conversation. This time she overhears a conversation between Tempest and a woman, a woman who is HIS WIFE.

Yes Lito is their son, of which Tempest took when he left his wife. He has wanted a divorce but she won’t grant him one unless he gives her custody of their son, something Tempest would never do. He has been sailing around the world with many mistresses, content if not fully happy. He met Rose and faked the marriage in order to make her happy, knowing that it was void. Rose becomes distraught at his lies and betrayal of trust and runs away.

Noooo!

So here’s where it gets even more dramatic. We see a man from a romance character ready to make your dreams come true, right? Wrong! Tempest is an abuser and a controller. He tells Rose that her loves her, but in truth having her being subservient gives him power. Where ever she runs, he chases her, intent on making her his. We have the anti-Northanger Abbey as instead of a dreamy, true life romance hero; we have a sociopath.

Now some may wonder why is Tempest evil, but Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre who does a similar thing romantic? Well for two reasons. The first is that Mr. Rochester was tricked into marrying his wife by his family, who wanted a merger with their business and her family, who no longer wanted to take care of her. They hid the illness well, and when Mr. Rochester discovered how crazy she was it was too late, and those who are insane can’t get divorced. He’s stuck with her.

He has to live with a woman who is more animalistic than human and constantly trying to murder him.

Tempest married a beautiful, wealthy, Greek-English girl; become bored and left. He hates being tied down and loves being in power. He stole their child from his wife and covered it up by having her told Lito was dead. She was heartbroken as she believed him, only discovering the lie when Willoughby writes to her.

Mr. Rochester does try to marry Jane as he falls in love with her, but is stopped from committing bigamy by his wife’s brother. Jane leaves, and as much as he doesn’t want her to go, he respects her wishes and leaves her alone.

Aw!

Tempest marries Rose, having a friend pretend to be a preacher and perform the wedding service. Rose finds out and leaves, Tempest refuses to acknowledge her feelings and actions and stalks her.

What a psycho!

Rose starts work with a seamstress in a French village, but Tempest finds her barricaded in her room. He tells her that he will be getting the divorce soon, and then they can be together forever. That night Rose escapes, with help from a friend, and finds refuge with an actress. She spends some happy time there, and even reunites with Lito, who was not killed but sent somewhere. All is not perfect as Tempest finds them again, and the two flee.

I’m out!

Rose to a convent and Lito to his mother. Later Rose discovers a dead body, and she plants evidence so that people would think it was her.

Hmm…

Rose enjoys being in the convent and serving, paying penance for her sins. She befriends the two priests; Father Dominic the elder, and Father Ignatius, young and deeply in love with Rose. Rose seeks help from Father Dominic to overcome her love and temptation to return to Tempest, only to discover that both the Mother Superior and Father Dominic sold her out to Tempest.

She escapes Tempest again, and reunites with the Comté who’s daughter she saved from dying of fever. He takes care of her and falls in love, asking her to marry him. She agrees and gets ready to, when Tempest finds her once again. He convinces the Comté that Rose is his wife and insane.

You’re crazy!
Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.

As the Comté deserts her, and Tempest is preparing to carry her off, Rose commits suicide, shooting herself.

Unfortunately the shot to her side wasn’t deadly, but does have her thrown into a mental institution (from yours truly Tempest). There she lives some horrible and demoralizing days. She manages to convince Baptiste to turn to her side and help her escape the asylum, only to discover it is another ploy by Tempest to capture her.

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tempest carries her away to a remote island, intent on being kind and sweet, wooing her. He is divorced now and wants Rose for his wife and forever. She ends up being saved by Father Ignatious, fleeing to the safety of Tempest’s ex-wife, but finds out that getting out of the Tempest is not easy.

Will it ever be over?

Was the Book Good?

I thought this book was very interesting. And had some pros and cons.

Pros:

First I recommend this book for all Alcott fans as it is so strikingly different from her other works. All the other novels: Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, The Inheritance, etc.; were dramatic and fun stories; but nowhere near as sensational and traumatic as this book. If it hadn’t said Louisa May Alcott on the cover, I never would have guessed it was something she has written. You won’t understand until you read it and get a shock.

I’m in shock

What also is fascinating is how Alcott brings to light how much power men have over women at this time, and the inequality in relationships. You have to remember this was not done at the time. Women were men’s property and they could not only do as they wished, but held all the power. I don’t know how many of you saw The Duchess, starring Keira Knightly, but look how unfair women are treated. Georgina is a Duke’s wife but is forced to share her home with the Duke’s mistress and the mistress’ children. When she steps out on him, she loses everything; position in society, her children, etc. He gets to do whatever he wants, hit her, embarrass her, rape her; but she has to follow society’s rules.

So not fair!!

This is what happens in this book. Tempest is abusive, a stalker, and a psychopath; but gets to continue in his behavior because he is male. When Father Ignatious helped Rose escape the convent and reach the Comté, he writes the Comté a letter with all that happened and warning him against Tempest. Yet when Tempest comes, the Comté easily believes the woman is crazy, rather than this charismatic man is what Rose and the Priest say he is.

Alcott also brings to light abusive relationships, stalking, what it feels like, etc. This book is sort of the 19th century’s version of Sleeping With the EnemyHere Alcott is clearly showing that this behavior is wrong and should not be accepted.

Cons:

It was too dramatic for my taste. I’m not really a soap opera/telanovela type person. The end in which she is in love with the priest and the priest loves her but both resolve to do nothing about it was not only too flowery, but boring.

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Prude & Prejudice

In Celebration of Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey? I’m sure there are many of you out there who have no clue what I am talking about.

Huh?

Its one of Jane Austen’s last novels, published by her brother after her death. It is also an amazing book that hardly anyone knows.

It really is sad

So we are here to spread some Northanger Abbey around as this year marks its 200th anniversary!

Like what I did with Pride and PrejudiceSense and Sensibilityand EmmaI will be going through Northanger Abbey and sharing with you everything about it.

The book is a parody of romantic fiction and gothic novels.

It has a great main character, Catherine Morland (which my pseudonym comes from) who we can easily connect to. We all feel like Catherine at times in our lives, hoping that we will have an adventure and meet a dashing hero.

And it has a great leading man in Mr. Tilney. I mean it! Once you read about him, he is a real contender for the number one Austen hero.

Yep a great book that I can’t wait to start celebrating and spreading!

Besides going through the book I will be also reviewing things that are referenced in it, inspirational to the book, and those inspired by it.

Books:

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott

North by Northanger: Or the Shades of Pemberley (Mr. &  Mrs. Darcy #3) by Carrie Bebris

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues edited by Christina Boyd

Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan by Christina Boyd

Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes

Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos

The Necromancer or The Tale of the Black Forest by Karl Friedrich Kahler

Jet Set by Carrie Doyle Karasyov and Jill Kargman

Henry Tilney’s Diary (Jane Austen Heroes #6) by Amanda Grange

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan

Northanger Alibi (The Jane Austen Diaries #2) by Jenni James

North by Northanger by Rebecca H. Jamison

Midnight Bell by Francis Lathom

The Female Quixote; or, The Adventures of Arabella by Charlotte Lennox

The Monk by Matthew Lewis

Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons (Supernatural Jane Austen Series #2) by Vera Nazarian & Jane Austen

The Castle of Wolfenbach by Eliza Parsons

 The Mysterious Warnings by Eliza Parsons

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

Clermont by Regina Maria Roche

Orphan of the Rhine by Eleanor Sleath

Northpointe Chalet (Austen Series #4) by Debra White Smith

Film:

American Dreamer (1984)

Romancing the Stone (1984)

Northanger Abbey (1986)

The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

Northanger Abbey (2007)

Other:

Pup Fiction, Wishbone (1995)

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

For more Catherine Morland, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more Mr. Tilney, go to Midnight in Austenland