The Magnificent Ambersons

Quite awhile ago I came across a list for the Modern Library's 100 Best Novels of the Twentieth Century. Just to be different I thought I would start at the bottom of the list with The Magnifcent Ambersons and work my way up. I checked the book out in August, but I didn't get around to reading it until a few months later. It was a bit slow at first, but eventually I got into it. The story takes place around the turn of the 20th century and concerns three generations of the magnificent Amberson family. The family all live off the riches of Major Amberson. They are one of the "it" families, so to speak. The problem with the family, which eventually becomes the cause of their downfall is their attitude, best summed up by a line from the book: "...don't you think that being things is rather better than doing things?"

Of course, one cannot talk about this book without mentioning George Amberson Minafer. In my opinion, he was the main reason for the family's demise and can best be summed up with one word, "monkey." It was first used by his aunt, Fanny, but Lucy and her father both quickly agreed that it was the perfect adjective to describe Georgie. I'm not sure what Lucy saw in him, but I really like one of the lines describing when they first met, "Some day the laws of glamour must be discovered, because they are so important that the world would be wiser now if Sir Isaac Newton had been hit on the head, not by an apple, but a young lady."

The ending wasn't quite what I expected, but overall I thought this was a good read.

update 4/11/08: The Clovis News Journal added the video I did for this book to their Librarian Recommends section.

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