March 02, 2007

Review: A Room with a View

A Room with a View
by E.M. Forster

This is my third visit with Forster and I like his writing more each time. While I liked Howard's End, I felt like I missed the point. I even watched the movie, which just confirmed that I had not missed any of the action but I still felt that I didn't quite know what the main message was. Then I read Where Angels Fear to Tread(I love that title). I got that one. And I realized Forster's love of irony. There are scenes that are meant to be funny mixed in with the tragedy that make your heart break all the more. It's a technique that doesn't work in movies but is laid out perfectly in this book.

A Room with a View is neither enigmatic nor ironic. It is just a pretty, simple love story. Forster addresses the reader halfway through to point out the obvious, to let us know that he has made the ideas transparent on purpose. WE all know who Lucy really loves. It is only Lucy who doesn't know because that's how she wants it to be. We have all had those experiences of lying to ourselves.

Lucy is a girl on the edge of adulthood, discovering a new world around her, with no one there to tell her how to feel about life. She still believes the world is a beautiful and exciting place. Until she witnesses up close the worst that life can be. Suddenly she seeks the familiar, the comfortable. She goes back to that safe place of following someone Else's ideas of the world. But when she finally lets go of these others, she is free to feel on her own. I was Lucy once. We have all been Lucy at some point in our lives. Forster is letting us know that it's a choice to seek beauty. It's a choice to see it. Life is going to be ugly with or without us but it's up to us to find the loveliness that makes life worth living. It is a timely message, at least for me. This book goes back on the shelf to await a thorough reread.

This has been the fourth book I've read for the Winter Classics Challenge. I didn't make my goal of 5 books but that's OK. I'm glad to have given each of these books a chance. I have learned from each author whether I liked the story or not. Thank you Booklogged for offering this challenge.


booklogged said...

Petunia, you have won fourth prize in the Classics Challenge. Congratulations. The prize is a Last Line bookmark - my all time favorite bookmark - and some bookdarts. I love bookdarts. I need you to send your snail mail address to me at
booklogged_reader at yahoo dot com.

I liked your review of A Room with a View. This is one I want to read.

Bookwink said...

Great review. This is one of the few books that I think was adequately served by the movie version.

Petunia said...

Bookwink, I hope to check out the movie from the library this weekend. I look forward to it. Thanks.

Booklogged, wow! How unexpected! Thank you so much. I will watch for future challenges like that one. What fun!

annie said...

great review!! i also read room with a view for the classics challenge:

i will have to check out angels--


Bookfool said...

Congrats on your winter classics challenge win. I've got to read this one. I've only read one Forster, A Passage to India, and I loved it.