Monday, February 22, 2010

Blue and Unsure What To Do

Okay, I know that rhyming in your post title is perhaps a bit shameless, but I just couldn't help myself. I promise that reviews of East of Eden are coming soon, but I need to do some more ruminating and reflecting before sharing any of my thoughts on and reactions to the novel.

In the meantime, anyone read Girl in a Blue Dress, by Gaynor Arnold? Its subtitle proudly declares that it is "A Novel Inspired by the Life & Marriage of Charles Dickens." Now, I love Charles Dickens (as evidenced here), and I had been eagerly anticipating being at the top of the holds list at the library and receiving this book. It is incredibly readable (though I may not be far enough into it to understand why it was long-listed for both the Man Booker and Orange), but I'm beginning to wonder if this is how I really want to discover the details of Dickens' marriage. I am well aware that he was not the most, ahem, admirable of husbands (okay, he was downright unfaithful to Catherine), but as I would really like to be able to continue reading and loving his works, this novel may not get finished.

Anyone have any thoughts on the subject? Have you ever read a biography (fictional or not) that you wish you hadn't read because it jaded or ruined the author for you? Do weigh in!


Stacy said...

I did read one on Shel Silverstein and I do remember having to ignore some of his faults to keep him on his pedastal of my childhood making. It's funny because I have been re-listening to a three hour radio talk on Dickens, and his unhappy marriage and infidelity are mentioned which I have chosen all three times to gloss over and not dwell on. I am on the side of not finishing Arnold's book if it effecting your love of Dickens' work.

Susan in TX said...

I can definitely relate to this. I remember back in the early 80s reading a bio of Doris Day. I had always loved her movies and songs as a kid, and she was always depicted as so "nice and apple pie-ish." Then to read and find out she was kind of a "loose" woman around Hollywood really knocked me for a loop -- sort of knocked her off her white horse, you know. You may have to just read and pretend to not know...hard, I know.

Read the Book said...

Book Psmith and Susan in TX, thanks for weighing in! I decided to take atemporary hiatus and work on Small Island, but I'm not terribly impressed thus far and may end up going back to Girl in a Blue Dress. Time shall tell!