Saturday, March 31, 2012

Clarissa - March Progress Notes


Terri and I are co-hosting a yearlong group read of Clarissa by Samuel Richardson. She is collecting links to March update posts here.

March is drawing to a close. In an ideal world, I'd have finished letter 72 last evening and written a profound post full of  deep thoughts, keen observations, insightful quotes, and a little speculation.

In the real world, a busy month combined with a sharp increase in letters finds me playing catchup. No matter how fast I read, I'm still a week behind. But that's OK, because this is a low stress project and the letter dates were supposed to provide "loose structure".  I suspect that for the next several months the dates will become less important and I'll read as time permits. It'll all work out in the end. Besides, Clarissa was more enjoyable when I read a letter or two every few days.

At Letter 46 (or Volume II, letter II in my e-reader edition) dated 3/22, I feel it's getting repetitive. Clarissa keeps rehashing the situation and her counter proposals to anyone who will read her letters. We, of course, must read them all, along with the responses. No wonder this novel is 1500 pages long!

Anyhow, Clarissa remains confined to her room, her loyal servant has been fired, and the entire family is united in forcing her marriage to Mr. Solmes, which is now scheduled to take place within a couple of weeks. Clarissa has promised that she will not marry Lovelace, or anyone else, if she can be free to refuse Solmes. Her family will have none of this.

We have finally heard from Lovelace, and I don't like him much. I suspect he may be more interested in the 'thrill of the chase' or obtaining something forbidden than in Clarissa herself. Are there any likable characters in this novel? At this point, my answer is no. I have to guard against judging from a 21st century perspective, but am thankful I wasn't a young woman in the 18th century.

Bottom line: Clarissa is getting a little repetitive, but I'm still enjoying the story.

If you feel ready to charge ahead and complete the novel, Allie, Jillian, and Adam are hosting a read-along in April. More information can be found here. Good luck to the brave participants. I think it might just kill me to read all of Clarissa in a single month!

14 comments:

  1. The repetition made this month a real struggle although I did manage to keep up. This last week has been a little more interesting so maybe the pace will pick up now.
    No way could I read this in a month!!

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    1. Cat - Keeping up this month is quite an accomplishment! I put it aside for a week and never managed to catch up after that. Glad to hear things will get a little more interesting in the next week. Reading Clarissa in one month is a VERY ambitious undertaking!

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  2. I know what you mean about the repetitiveness, every time Clarissa comes up with a 'new' proposal I just keep thinking how she's said it all before! I did find this chunk more enjoyable than the beginning though, i think because there are more characters and much more letters flying about.

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    1. Charlottereadsclassics - It was a real positive to have more characters involved in this month's reading. I don't like any of them much, but it is fun getting to know them.

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  3. I really want to read Clarissa and I think your timeline is more doable but I am not sure if I have time to play catch up right now. We'll see!

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    1. Reviewsbylola - We're not quite to page 300 yet, so catching up might still be doable...

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  4. You know I agree on the repetition! :) I also agree on the characters - I don't like anyone! I liked Anna at first, but she got a bit annoying this month as well. Hopefully it picks up a bit in April!

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    1. Lindsey Sparks - Anna was the one I had high hopes for, too... we'll see what April brings.

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  5. I really bet this is a comforting book in a way. Happy Clarissa-ing. Reminds me that I need to write today's letter!

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    1. LOL, thanks Care! Go write that letter ;-)

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  6. I fell a bit behind myself, and I am finding the March readings a bit frustrating. I would like to shake Clarissa at this point and tell her, "Your family does not have your best interests at heart! Get over it!" Her mother is particularly disappointing -- what woman sells her daughter down the river to keep peace. I'll finish up my post this evening. I really enjoyed yours, JoAnn!

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    1. Col - Clarissa's mother is disappointing, but I feel sorry for her, too. They both seem trapped... as do almost all women of that era. Hope we can both catch up in April.

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  7. I am still in awe of you tackling this book (and a little sad that I never took the time to start and now am so far behind (March is one busy month for reading Clarissa!) that I can't really catch up). I'm sorry to hear it is getting a little repetitive, and that the characters aren't likeable.

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    1. Iris - I feel like we're on the verge of some action now... keeping my fingers crossed!

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