Friday, May 24, 2013

Review Me Twice - Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

I saw the movie to this ages ago (and enjoyed it!)  It was also part of the reason I picked this book (the other being I saw it on the display at the Library and decided we should do it.)

Other than not being able to get the image of Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger out of my head (who, incidentally, don't look ANYTHING like the characters in the book), I was a little less impressed with Cold Mountain the book than Cold Mountain the movie.

The thing that really killed it for me was Inman.  He had fled the army after he was injured (totally believable considering that was a HUGE problem on the Confederate side towards the end of the war.)  That was about where my interest ended.  There was a lot of walking going on with Inman.  A lot of uninteresting walking.

Also, for a guy who is trying to hide from the confederate army, he certainly talks to a lot of people.  He never seems to have qualms about going up to houses or villages or just believing whatever random strangers on the road tell him.  And it gets him in trouble more than a few times.  You would think he would learn after awhile, but he never really did.  And he ALWAYS ended up on top.  Always.  The man had the uncanny ability to get himself out of situations, which makes the ending all the more unbelievable.

However, I really liked the parts with Ada and Ruby.  I liked watching Ruby, a self-sufficient woman who could care for a farm on her own, whip Ada into shape.  And I liked watching Ada pull out the softer side of Ruby.  She dulled Ruby's edges.  Their story was engaging and interesting and really hopeful.

So, I guess I half liked the book, because the chapters would alternate between Ada and Inman's stories.

My Bottom Line 2 1/2 out of 5

Honesty time: I did not finish this book. And the main reason was something Cassy already covered: Inman's chapters are snoozefests, while Ada's are far and away more interesting to read, but not compelling enough for me to want to suffer through an Inman chapter to get to the next Ada chapter. So I would put the book down more often and for longer than I should have to get through the whole thing.

Like Cassy, I very much liked Ruby and the way she interacted with Ada. Usually, I can't stand a helpless, clueless, depressed character, but I liked Ada from the beginning, despite her complete and utter inability to function as a human being on her own (though I can totally understand why... having been bred for education and society, she was plunged into circumstances requiring her to run an estate and feed herself with no training in those areas, and she couldn't exactly Google "biscuit recipe"). But then Ruby shows up and things get even better.

I've never seen the movie, but I might watch it now just to see the remainder of the story.

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