Tuesday, January 24, 2017

North and South by John Jakes

5 Stars

After being trolled three times yesterday for not only reading things wrong, but also for wasting my Goodreads space and apparently everyone’s time creating picturebooks full of “stupid” and “uninformative” reviews that apparently belong on a place I’ve never heard of before called Buzzfeed (which I will make sure I remain in the dark about in order to take that as an eternal compliment) please consider this a fair warning: THIS “REVIEW” IS GOING TO BE STUPID AND COMPLETELY UNINFORMATIVE AND THE ONLY PLACE IT’S WORTHY OF BEING PUBLISHED IS TUMBLR.

This sucker has nearly 50,000 ratings and sits at 4.19 so obviously it’s considered to be pretty good. On the other hand, it’s also a real puppy squisher at 800+ pages and the first of a set of three (just as puppy squishy) books in a series so I could give zero poops if you ever read it or not. Instead I’m going to tell you about why I read it – or re-read it, as the case is here . . . .

(^^^If your brain made you do a rewind in order for you to sing that line, you might be old enough to understand how North and South was a real game changer for me. You might also be pretty awesome.)

Back in the dark ages before DVR and Netflix, families would all gather around their giant 19” television sets in order to watch what was known as a miniseries. Part television program/part movie these programs were shown in two-hour blocks over the course of how ever many days it took for them to play out. On Tuesday, December 3, 1985 the first episode of North and South aired and I begged for a reprieve from my bedtime in order to watch every moment due to the fact that I was certain I had discovered my future husband . . . .

(^^^In the show he suffered a leg injury in the war, in the book he lost an arm. Spoiled actors, unwilling to truly sacrifice their body for their art.)

Being that I was a Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court already being raised in a factory town, I had no desire to experience the life of the iron mill. Instead I set my sights on figuring out a way to become a proper Southern lady and live on a plantation one day. (Please note owning slaves and growing things were not of concern to my tiny little perverted mind. I just wanted to live in a big house and get to kiss Patrick Swayze whenever I felt like it.)

I also wanted to marry Orry but actually be Constance because . . . .

Well, just look at her. She was so beautiful. She was also Irish Catholic and I was Catholic and attended a church with an Irish-accented priest so I figured I could catch on real quick. Plus, her boobs looked real good in those dresses and at nine years old big boobs were something I really dreamed of being able to achieve one day (totally nailed that one too so yay me!).

With the help of either my mother or my aunt being part of a 1980s wedding . . . .

(^^^Picture borrowed from the interwebs, but we’re talking the EXACT same theme here.)

I was able to dig out a beauty like this from the recesses of the closet . . . . .

Which I proceeded to wear every time I went to my grandparents’ house and flitted about saying things like “I do declare” (couldn’t quite get that Irish brogue so I turned Scarlett) to the point where I was kindly told to shut the hell up.

I also learned how to slut-shame my first fictional character, but seriously . . . .

She was a total slut and deserved it.

Long story long, I became O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D So much so that when I discovered this monstrosity on my Grandpa’s bookshelf I decided to read it. The family probably should have recognized there was something not quite right about me when I chose an 800 page tome rather than Sweet Valley High but whatevs.

Obviously it’s been just a couple of years since I read this, but Good Golly Miss Molly it was even better than I remembered. For some reason I was thinking the timeframe was more compact (which would have made for some real snoozer bits) and due to my senility I was pleasantly surprised that this volume contained what I believed were books 1 and 2 upon starting. As I said before, I can’t promise you’ll love this – or even find it worth your time. For me, though, this is one of the great American novels and it has something for everyone. Romance, war, family, friendship, it’s all there. Sadly enough, even though North and South is set pre-Civil War, there are lessons that still ring true even today . . . .

“These foul times. We might have prevented all this if we’d responded with the best that’s in us. Instead, we seem to have responded with the worst. I wonder if we’re capable of anything else.”

Finally, THIS is my final book in the library’s Winter Reading Challenge proving to the porny librarian that this girl does not live on smut alone. NOW GIVE ME MY COFFEE MUG!!!!

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