Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review: Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

ISBN: 0451529952
Published: November 1st, 2005 (originally published 1919)
Publisher: Signet Classics
Read from March 28th to April 1st, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Winesburg, Ohio, gave birth to the American story cycle, for which William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and later writers were forever indebted. Defying the prudish sensibilities of his time, Anderson never omitted anything adult, harsh, or shocking; instead he embraced frankness, truth, and the hidden depths everyone possesses. Here we meet young George Willard, a newspaper reporter with dreams; Kate Swift, the schoolteacher who attempts to seduce him; Wing Biddlebaum, a berry picker whose hands are the source of both his renown and shame; Alice Hindman, who has one last adventure; and all the other complex human beings whose portraits brought American literature into the modern age. Their stories make up a classic and place its author alongside the best of American writers.   


I had never heard of this book until it was assigned in my humanities class, and I had no idea what to expect going in. I know it's a classic, but I have to say that I didn't really enjoy this book. However, I don't really have anything negative to say about it, and I think my dislike for the book comes entirely out of my own personal preferences while reading.

I like having an entire book to connect with characters, but more than that, I struggle keeping track of large casts of characters. The entire premise of this book is that it is more or less a series of short stories focused on many different characters in this one town. I got so confused by who was who. Even though each story focused on someone else, characters came up multiple times, and I'd feel like I should know who someone was but I didn't. I'm terrible with names, and I often can't remember names until a decent way into a book. I was absolutely hopeless with this one. I had no idea who anyone was, and it just left me confused more often than not.

That's really all I have to say about it. I'm not sure how I would have felt if I hadn't had that problem. I can certainly appreciate why the book is a classic, but the large cast of characters was a struggle for me and prevented me from really getting into the book.

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