Heather and Andi are up to no good (again…I tell you, those two are trouble with a capital T), and they suckered me into reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. I’ve decided that readalongs are pretty much the only way to read the oldies (especially oldies that I’ve never heard of), because if I end up hating the book, the discussions (aka bitch sessions) still make it a totally worthwhile experience.
Here are my answers to the discussion questions for Chapters 1-14:
1. How are you liking the book?
I actually like it! I know! Shocked me, too. There was a brief moment of panic when I saw the page count at the bottom of my nook app. 1342 pages!! But thank god for twitter, because everyone talked me down from the ledge and helped me to understand that for once, the nook app was using actual screen pages as it’s count (since when does it do this??).
In regards to Gaskell herself, I find it weird that she’s compared to Austen, since I have terrible luck with Austen (don’t throw tomatoes at me!) and I plowed through the first 14 chapters of Gaskell in two nights of reading. With Gaskell what you see is what you get, whereas with Austen I always feel like I’m listening to a bunch of silly gossip trying to be clever and going over my head. I know, that makes no sense, but that’s the only way I can explain it.
2. What is up with Margaret’s father?
I am totally with Heather on the fact that he needs to grow a pair. I mean, really…let your daughter do your dirty work?? For shame, man. However, I did want more behind his leaving the church. He was a bit cagey with his reasons…was it totally scandalous to have doubts and Gaskell skirted over things for this reason?? I think I need to know more about how this novel was originally received.
3. What do you think of Thornton and his first impression of Margaret?
I’ve yet to form an opinion on Thornton (for once, I’m reserving judgement), but I do think his first impression of Margaret is kinda funny. I was liking her, but she does seem a bit supercilious at times. And now that she’s befriended Bessy, she’s getting on my nerves. Like she’s Little Miss High and Mighty doing her good deed by visiting the sick. So I do think Thornton is on to something.
4. Feel free to ramble from here on…
Since Heather ranted about Mr. Hale (and I totally agree with her), I will rant about the Mrs. Why (WHY?!?) do women in the olden days always wimp out and get sick at the first little itty-bitty hint of discord. FOR GOD’S SAKE, WOMAN…SUCK IT UP. I understand that your husband is a bit of an asshat, but your daughter is dealing (okay, so she’s admitted to feeling a bit distraught, too, although it didn’t stop her from ironing). You need to, too. You whined about the swampy air of the south for YEARS, and now that you’ve finally moved (and okay, granted the air in Milton is decidedly worse), all you continue to do is bitch and moan. It’s annoying. You’re annoying. You and Mr. Hale deserve each other.