Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Review: The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope... second half

Book: The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
Genre: Classic
Rating: A-
For: originally for The Classics Circuit
From: I bought it

So, back in December I talked about the first half of this book which I was supposed to read for the Classics Circuit tour, but only got through, yeah, the first half. Now, at the beginning of March, I've finally finished the second half!

If you missed the first half wrap up I've copied and pasted here:

At the center of everything, we have a  40-something single mom and her two kids, Felix about 23-ish and Hetta about 18 or so. She dots on Felix and spoils him rotten. Felix is bottom line a complete slime bucket. He gambles compulsively and smooches everything he can off his mom to the point that they are now both completely bankrupt. In order to solve this problem, his mom has encouraged him to win the heart of and marry the heiress, Marie. (Whose dad by the way, is also a mastermind swindler and that's why they are so rich!) So, Felix does this easily, because he is drop dead gorgeous and Marie is head over heels. Felix couldn't care less about her, but goes along with the plan for the sake of the money.

Meanwhile, he is having fling with a country girl, Ruby, who lives nearby the manor that his cousin, Roger owns, and which Felix is set to inherit unless Roger marries. Roger, of course wants to marry Hetta, Felix's sister, but Hetta instead loves Paul, Roger's friend (and also mixed up in the raunchy deals headed by Marie's dad.) Roger can't stand Felix and will do anything to ruin him. Ruby, meanwhile, is supposed to marry John Crumb, but when she is nearly forced to, she runs away to live with her aunt and hang out with Felix, even though he is just about ready to elope with Marie. You see Marie's dad wants her to marry Lord something or other and has claimed to disinherit her if she does otherwise. Of course she feels he won't really do this, and will do anything to marry beautiful Felix.

So, back to Ruby her aunt has boarder named Mrs. Hurtle. She is an American widow with a sordid past. She and Paul, (previously mentioned above,) have a history and in fact Paul has promised to marry her! But then he finds out about her shady past and gets rather nervous, and besides he is actually in love with Hetta, if you remember. So he is trying to get out it, but Mrs. Hurtle is one beautiful seductress and boy oh boy is Paul ever in deep trouble! Poor poor Paul!

So.... the story continues: Marie convinces Felix to elope saying she has her own money, so he agrees. BUT, he ends getting wiped out both in drink and games that night and doesn't make the train. Meanwhile, Marie is having troubles of her own and gets caught and brought back. She still believes in Felix, though that doesn't last long. Then eventually, Felix hooks back up with Ruby and the ladies of the house try to pin him down on her and make him say he has plans to marry her, but he just wants the fling. Roger discovers where Ruby is and tells John Crumb who of course comes to find her. One night he discovers her with Felix and beats the crap out of him! Ruby is mad, but ends up deciding that Felix is just too much of a wimp and low life for her after all. 

Paul is still trying to get away from Mrs. Hurtle, but instead takes her for a weekend getaway. Roger discovers them, he is livid mad because he knows Paul is after his Hetta. Still, Paul ends up telling Hetta how he feels about her and she is ecstatic. But then her brother comes down and ends up telling her all about Mrs. Hurtle and now she is devastated! She throws Paul out. But then she ends up asking around to find out the truth, including going to Mrs. Hurtle herself.

Marie's dad, the corrupt lying stealing scoundrel, runs for and makes it to Parliament. How insane is that! But he is forging all kinds of things and ends up way over his head and everything falls down around him. He asks Marie for her to sign over her money, the money he put in her name only to safe guard against such a situation. She says, no way, over my dead body!  

Whew... and I suppose I should stop there, because you really don't want me to say how everything ends up, right? But do you get the feel that it's just this crazy messy complicated story? I love it! There were certain chapters that were a bit slow for me... I just mostly wanted the love stories and couldn't care less about all the financial ruin of the bad dude.... even if that's basically bottom line what this book was about.

So if you are into these sprawling detailed classic stories, you should give this one a try. And then watch the movie which is really quite wonderful. We watched it one weekend, I made my bored husband sit down and watch with... rolling eyes and all. It's long enough that we had to do the second part the next day, and then he was the anxious one saying, come on let's watch! 

Bottom line: I really enjoyed it, even though I drug it out over many months time!

I wanted to find the trailer for the movie, but no luck, instead here's a montage of Paul and Hetta's story, my favorite storyline of the book, with Paul being played by the dude (Cillian Murphy) that's the bad guy in Batman begins, yet is wonderful as the good guy in this movie... mesmerizing actually.


  1. I. Loved. This. Book. Fastest 800 page book I have ever read, I kept sneaking off to read "just one more chapter." Now I want to read all of Trollope -- only 47 novels or so!!!

  2. Yeah, sounds too complicated for me to invest in the book, but I will have to check out the movie.

  3. Congrats on sticking with it and getting it done!

  4. I finally got talked into buying some Trollope but for som ereason I have yet to get around to reading it. Now you've convinced me that I need to take that next step!



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