I’m pretty sure this book is on a ton of those “100 books to read before you die” lists and whatnot. I just took a Facebook quiz that said something along the lines of, “Most stupid Americans are stupid and have only read 2 books on this list!” And I had read, like, 46. SUCK IT, QUIZ. Anyway, this book was also on that quiz.
So, let me just cut to the chase. I didn’t make it all the way through this book. I got to about page 220, and even though I was more than halfway through, I knew I was kidding myself to think that I had any interest in finishing it. I won’t remember the plot or characters one year from now, let alone one week from now. It was densely written, and sure the prose was beautiful, but I just couldn’t muster up any kind of feelings about it one way or the other.
Because it was on my TBR Pile Challenge list, I felt like I should at least plod ahead with it, but in the end, I just have too many other things to read to be monkeying around with this. Keep in mind, I forced myself to finish both Infinite Jest and House of Leaves. I have the tenacity.
Here’s what I can tell you about the book. There’s this guy Ferdinand? Florentine? Alfredo? Anyway, he’s in love with this girl and stalks her for a while and then she’s into him too until she looks at him one day and then she’s like, OMG WHAT WAS I THINKING. She breaks it off with him and then goes and marries this super successful doctor. Then they get old and the doctor dies and then here’s old Alfonso, still carrying a torch after all these years, and maybe it’s like the Spanish “Notebook” or something but I will never know because I totally zoned out when it started going through his life story.
If you’re one of those people who wants to read something that’s on all the major lists of classics, then by all means, knock yourself out. But if you’re like me, just don’t. Read the Cliff Notes version and then check it off on your next Facebook quiz. No one will be the wiser.